Syracuse is famous for being one of the most important archaeological centers of Sicily.
Syracuse, visit the Neapolis archaeological park
To realize the amount of testimonies come down to our days, you just have to enter the Neapolis Archaeological Park, a real open air museum at the Syracuse city gates.
Here you can admire ruins going from the Greek Theater, completely excavated in the rock, to the Roman Amphitheater, the largest of Sicily.
So you could spend the morning at the archaeological area and enjoy a relaxing walk in the historical center, later in the afternoon.
Sicily. Visit Ortigia, the historical center of Syracuse
The Syracuse’s historical center is located in the island of Ortigia, accessed by car via a bridge.
The Ortigia’s alleys should be visited on foot, savoring the authentic beauty of the place, discovering its suggestive corners and hidden details.
From the entrance of the island, start going along the right coast. You will find the Fonte Aretusa, symbol of the city.
Take a break to discover the legend of the nymph Arethusa and then hike up to the extreme tip of the island, occupied by the Maniace Castle.
Take the time to lazily stroll among the internal alleyways, letting yourselves be guided by the curiosity… a small balcony, a sign, a courtyard.
You will enter into the spirit of the place and you’ll be ready to discover its treasures.
While visiting Ortigia, do not miss the great Piazza Duomo, with its long half-moon shape, that could bewilder at first sight.
Walk on the white stone pavement, quite dazzling in the wiped sky days. Admire the square’s buildings and then go into the cathedral.
The Ortigia’s Duomo has a secret that you’ll discover as soon as you step through the threshold:
the imposing Doric columns of the central nave belong to the ancient temple of Athena, built 2,400 years ago.
What today is a Christian basilica, originally was a pagan temple.
Only by entering and proceeding along the nave you can perceive the great charm of this double soul of the cathedral.
In the same square, the small church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, with its lovely iron balcony, preserves the first painting made in Sicily by Caravaggio, who landed in Sicily in 1608 after his escape from Malta.
What to do to Ortigia, between HANDICRAFTS AND TYPICAL PRODUCTS
Art is such an important part of the Ortigia’s visit, but what makes the ancient historical center of Syracuse so special is the timeless atmosphere.
Merits of the clear tuff little houses, the small artisan workshops, the little squares that suddenly appear. The arches, friezes, eateries that contain small groups of tourists so fascinated by this place where time seems to have stopped.
If you are looking for a souvenir from Siracusa, count on the typical Sicilian crafts, from the characteristic pupi to the ceramics …you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Or, if you have a poetic and playful soul, go discover the wonderful world of Caroline van Riet, the Circo Fortuna.
Her ceramics will remind you of the sunlight, the deep blue of the sea, joy, nature, love.
Whilst if you rely on gourmet products, the right place is Trimarchi di Villa Marchese, 100% made in Sicily.
A hymn to the simplicity of flavors and to the respect for ingredients, that are exclusively preserved with extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt and natural spices.
Take the time to taste their wild fennel pesto, the chili peppers paté, and then skip right to the sweet with the orange blossom honey, the cedar jam and the exquisite almond cream.
It’s time to leave.
So give a last glance toward the sea, close your eyes and feel the breeze, keeping the beauty of Ortigia inside you.
Once you’ll cross the bridge, you’ll feel like being back from a time travel and you’ll almost want to go back to the mysterious charm of Ortigia, its alleys, its colors.