Altough in summertime the sea is the attraction preferred by most people, the countryside in Ragusa always offers a good alternative option for enjoyable walks, trekking and hiking all year round.
Naturalists will certainly be interested in the huge biodiversity of species, above all the botanical ones which populate the rural areas during the various seasons.
The landscape is in fact characterized by plateaus and canyons (the so called “Cave”) which not only have influenced the history and the social evolution of the district, but also are considered by locals as undeniable destination for their week-end excursions.
The landscape of the countryside and of the plateaus in Ragusa typically consist on flat hills where grain cultivations alternate with grazing lands and wild fields. The main greenery consist on carob and olives trees, and the boundaries of the estates are marked by the typical dry stone walls (“muri a’ ssiccu”) , made with calcareous stone and by a building technique whose ancient mastery is still handed down. Between different estates it’s possible sometime to see double rows of dry stone walls, separated as to form a small mule track. They are the so called Regie Trazzere, the paths (today unfortunately almost completely abandoned) which times gone by connected the main centers with the smaller location in the middle of nowhere and where people travelled by horse or hiking over.
Excursions in countryside give also to the locals the chance to find and harvest the wild and natural edible herbs which are later consumed as the daily meal (or also in the following days). Expert botanists consider this custom being very healthy, and elders hand over this mastery to the emerging generations.
We are then pleased to give to the visitor an idea of how large a variety of edible herbs that are commonly harvested and consumed.
|Period||Common name / “dialectal name” / Scientific name||Notes|
|Nov – Dec||Mushrooms||In mountain communities area.|
|During wintertime, thanks to generous rains.||Snails / “barbani” and “vavaluci”||Considered as delicacies.|
|Wild chard / “agghiti” / Beta Vulgaris|
|Common mustard / “sanapu” / Brassica Nigra|
|Chicory / “cicuoria” / Cichorium Intybus||For lots of centuries an important base of the diet of the local people.|
|Between end of Feb and beginning of Apr, thanks to rains alternating with warm sunny days.||Wild asparagus / “spariciu” / Asparagus Albus o Acutifolius||Above all, the collecting of the asparagus is certainly the most spread and participated: often it become a fun competition and ends with some kind of social events, like having dinner at some friend’s – the meal will surely be something like an omelet or a portion of risotto.|
|“matalufu” / Asphodeline Lutea|
|Wild fennel / “finucciedu a’ timpa” / Foeniculum Vulgare|
|White mustard / “lassini” / Hirschfeldia Incana|
|Borage / “urrania” / Borago Officinalis|
|May||Thousand coloured flowers||For our eyes delight, fields are plenty of flowers – some of them edible (like the so called “raricedda”).|
|June||Caper bush / “ciappiru”/ Capparis Spinosa||Apart from the fruit itself, the tardive tips of the plant are used as a rare delicacy.|
|July||Mulberries||Really appreciated for the making of sweets and ice-creams.|
|Oregano / “arifinu” /Origanum Heracleoticum|
|August||Blackberries||They grow wild and almost everywhere.|
|Figs||Take care of harvesting from plants which clearly have grown up without any cultivation from anyone.|
|September||Olives||Even if free harvesting from (not cultivated) trees on the road is perfectly legal, one should understand that the harvesting of olives and the related oil production will most probably represent a decisive factor for survival of local producers.|