The origins of Ragusa can be traced back to the 2nd millennium BC, when in its area there were several settlements of the ancient Sicels. The current Ragusa Ibla lies probably on one of them, identified as Hybla Heraea.
The ancient city, located on a 300 m high hill, entered in contact with the nearby Greek colonies, and developed thanks to the nearby port of Camerina. After a short Carthaginian rule, it was administrated by the Romans and the Byzantines: the latter fortified the city and built a large castle. Ragusa was occupied by the Arabs in 848 AD, remaining under their rule until the 11th century, when the Normans conquered it. Selected as County seat, its first Count was Geoffrey, son of Count Roger I of Sicily.