Syracuse: Discover the history, culture, and art of one of the most captivating cities in Sicily
Hello everyone, today we take you on a journey to discover Syracuse, one of the oldest and most captivating cities in Sicily. Located on the eastern coast of the island, Syracuse boasts a millennia-old history and a culture rich in Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Norman influences.
The history of Syracuse dates back to the 8th century BC when the city was founded by Greek colonists from Corinth. Subsequently, Syracuse became one of the most powerful cities in the Mediterranean, thanks to its strategic position and its naval fleet. In the 3rd century BC, Syracuse was conquered by the Romans, who transformed it into an even larger and more monumental city.
Today, Syracuse is a city that still retains its ancient beauty, with a historic center full of monuments, churches, and baroque palaces. Moreover, Syracuse is renowned for its culinary art, which expertly blends tradition and innovation, and for its beautiful beaches, where you can enjoy the crystal-clear waters of Sicily.
Among the main attractions of Syracuse, you cannot miss:
Archaeological Park of Neapolis: This park is one of the most important archaeological sites in Sicily. Here you can admire the Greek Theater, the Roman Amphitheater, the Ear of Dionysius, and the necropolis. These monuments bear witness to the city's glorious past. The park is open every day from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (summer hours) or from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (winter hours). The entrance fee is 10 euros for adults and 5 euros for children. Website: https://www.parcoarcheologiconeapolis.it/
Island of Ortigia: Ortigia Island is the beating heart of Syracuse. Here you can visit the Duomo square, where the Syracuse Cathedral stands, an architectural masterpiece built on the remains of a Greek temple. You can also admire the Fountain of Artemis and the Maniace Castle.
Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum: This museum is a must-visit for anyone wanting to delve into the history of Sicily. Here you can admire numerous archaeological finds from Sicily, including the famous Venus of Morgantina. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The entrance fee is 10 euros for adults and 5 euros for children. Website: http://www.regione.sicilia.it/beniculturali/museopaoloorsi/
Aretusa Spring: The Aretusa Spring is a freshwater spring located on the Island of Ortigia. This spring is surrounded by papyrus plants and has inspired many myths and legends in the city's history.
Fontane Bianche Beach: This beach is one of the most beautiful in Syracuse. Here you can relax on the fine white sand, swim in the crystal-clear sea, and practice water sports like windsurfing and kitesurfing. The beach is free to visit, but some beach resorts charge for the rental of umbrellas and sunbeds.
Ortigia Market: This market offers a unique experience to discover the flavors and aromas of Sicilian cuisine. Here you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, cold cuts, and fish. We recommend trying the famous arancini, cassatelle, and granitas, traditional Sicilian desserts.
Euryalus Castle: The Euryalus Castle is a Greek fortification located on the Belvedere hill. This castle offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Syracuse and its surroundings. The castle is open every day from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The entrance fee is 4 euros for adults and 2 euros for children.
Cavagrande del Cassibile Nature Reserve: This nature reserve is a paradise for nature lovers. Here you can hike or bike along the trails that cross the gorges of the Cassibile river. You can also swim in the freshwater pools and admire the waterfalls. The reserve is free to visit.
Puppet Theater: The Puppet Theater is a popular art form typical of Sicily. Here you can watch puppet shows that depict the deeds of knights and princesses from epic tales. The entrance fee varies depending on the show and the venue.
Fountain of the Sirens: The Fountain of the Sirens is a baroque fountain located in the Republic square, in the historic center of Syracuse. This fountain represents the sirens of Greek mythology who sing to attract sailors and travelers.
Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia: This church is famous for housing the painting "The Burial of Saint Lucy" by Caravaggio. This painting is considered one of the masterpieces of Italian art and depicts the martyr Saint Lucy, the patron saint of Syracuse. The church is open every day from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm. The entrance fee is 8 euros for adults and 5 euros for children.
Temple of Apollo: The Temple of Apollo is one of the oldest monuments in Syracuse. This Greek temple dates back to the 6th century BC and is located inside the Archaeological Park of Neapolis.
Manfredo Castle: This museum is located on the island of Ortigia and tells the story of papyrus, a plant that grew on the banks of the Nile and was used by the ancient Egyptians for writing. Here you can discover the papyrus processing process and admire artworks made with this material. The entrance fee varies depending on the events scheduled.
Papyrus Museum: This museum is located on the island of Ortigia and tells the story of papyrus, a plant that grew on the banks of the Nile and was used by the ancient Egyptians for writing. Here you can discover the papyrus processing process and admire artworks made with this material. The museum is open every day from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. The entrance fee is 6 euros for adults and 3 euros for children.
Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombs: This church is located on the Neapolis hill and houses a complex of Christian catacombs dating back to the 3rd century AD. These catacombs are decorated with frescoes and mosaics and are one of the most evocative places in the city. The church is open every day from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm. The entrance fee is 8 euros for adults and 5 euros for children.
Sanctuary of the Madonna of Tears: This sanctuary is located on the outskirts of Syracuse and is dedicated to the Madonna of Tears, one of the most recent Marian apparitions. This sanctuary is famous for its modern architecture and the mosaic that represents the Madonna of Tears. The sanctuary is open every day from 7:30 am to 12:00 pm and from 3:30 pm to 7:00 pm. The visit to the sanctuary is free.
These are just some of the places you can visit during your holiday in Syracuse. The city offers a plethora of cultural, natural, and gastronomic attractions that we can't wait for you to discover.
In short, Syracuse is a city that absolutely deserves to be visited for its history, its culture, its culinary art, and its natural beauty. Don't miss the opportunity to discover this gem of Sicily!
Regarding the culinary culture and art of Syracuse, the city boasts a very rich and varied gastronomic tradition. Syracuse's cuisine is based on fresh and genuine ingredients, such as freshly caught fish, seasonal vegetables, and citrus fruits typical of the area.
Among the most famous dishes of Syracuse's cuisine are pasta with sardines, a dish made with pasta, fresh sardines, wild fennel, raisins, and pine nuts, and caponata, a side dish made with eggplants, tomatoes, olives, capers, and vinegar.
But that's not all: in Syracuse, you can also taste swordfish "alla ghiotta", mussels "alla marinara", roasted tuna, marinated anchovies, and many other dishes based on fresh fish.
Where to eat in Syracuse
Here are 8 highly-rated restaurants in Syracuse:
1. Clandestino ad Ortigia
- Cuisine: Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, European, Sicilian, Southern-Italian
- Price Range: $$ - $$$
2. Belfiore Gelato & Cioccolato - Gelateria Artigianale
- Cuisine: Sicilian, Southern-Italian
- Price Range: $$ - $$$
3. Caseificio Borderi
- Cuisine: Street Food, Healthy, Sicilian, Southern-Italian
- Price Range: $
4. Sicily Pizzeria & Lounge Bar
- Cuisine: Italian, Pizza, Mediterranean, European, Sicilian, Southern-Italian
- Price Range: $$ - $$$
5. Dock Cafe Restaurant
- Cuisine: Italian, Cafe, Seafood, Mediterranean, Sicilian, Southern-Italian
- Price Range: $$ - $$$
6. Dakoky Sushi Fusion
- Cuisine: Japanese, Seafood, Sushi, Asian, Fusion
- Price Range: $$ - $$$
7. Koala Pub
- Cuisine: Pizza, Mediterranean, Italian, Bar, Pub, Sicilian, Southern-Italian, European
- Price Range: $$ - $$$
8. Piadina Bedda. L'originale piadina siciliana.
- Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
- Price Range: $
How to Get to Syracuse
Here's another list of various options to reach Syracuse:
- Catania Fontanarossa Airport: Catania's airport is the closest to Syracuse, about 60 km away. From here, you can reach Syracuse by bus, train, or taxi.
- Comiso Airport: Comiso's airport is located about 120 km from Syracuse. From here, you can reach Syracuse by bus, train, or taxi.
- Trenitalia: Syracuse is connected to all the main Italian cities through the Trenitalia railway network. The Syracuse train station is just a few minutes' walk from the city's historic center.
- AST Bus Lines: The AST bus company connects Syracuse with the main Sicilian cities, including Catania, Palermo, and Trapani. You can purchase tickets online on the company's website.
- Etna Trasporti Bus Lines: The Etna Trasporti bus company connects Syracuse with other cities in eastern Sicily, such as Catania, Taormina, and Messina. You can purchase tickets online on the company's website.
- From Catania: To reach Syracuse by car from Catania, you need to take the A18 motorway towards Syracuse.
- From Palermo: To reach Syracuse by car from Palermo, you need to take the A19 motorway to Catania, and then take the A18 motorway towards Syracuse.
- From Messina: To reach Syracuse by car from Messina, you need to take the A18 motorway towards Catania, and then take the A18 motorway towards Syracuse.
- Catania Port: Catania's port is the closest to Syracuse, about 70 km away. From here, you can reach Syracuse by bus, train, or taxi.
- Palermo Port: Palermo's port is located about 260 km from Syracuse. From here, you can reach Syracuse by bus, train, or taxi.
Places to Visit and Activities to Do Near Syracuse:
Noto: The Baroque city of Noto is located about 30 km from Syracuse. Here, you can admire the magnificent Baroque architecture of the city, including the Cathedral of San Nicolò, the Palazzo Ducezio, and the Tina Di Lorenzo Theater. We recommend visiting Noto during the famous spring festival "Infiorata", when the city streets are decorated with flower carpets.
Cavagrande del Cassibile: This nature reserve is located a few kilometers from Syracuse and offers breathtaking landscapes of canyons, waterfalls, and crystal-clear water pools. Here, you can hike or bike along the trails that cross the gorges of the Cassibile river. We recommend swimming in the freshwater pools to cool off from the summer heat.
Pantalica: The archaeological site of Pantalica is about 40 km from Syracuse and is one of the most evocative places in Sicily. Here, you can admire the ancient rock-cut tombs of the Siculi, the ancient population that inhabited the area before the arrival of the Greeks. We suggest visiting Pantalica during spring or autumn when temperatures are milder.
Vendicari Nature Reserve: This nature reserve is about 30 km from Syracuse and offers a variety of natural landscapes, including beaches, sand dunes, salt pans, and lagoons. Here, you can hike or bike along the trails that cross the reserve, or swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Calamosche and Marianelli beaches.
Modica: The city of Modica is about 60 km from Syracuse and is famous for its Baroque architecture, its chocolate sweets, and its cheese production. Here, you can visit the Cathedral of San Giorgio, the Palazzo Polara, and the Castle of the Counts. We recommend tasting the famous Modica chocolates, made using the ancient Aztec method.
Marzamemi: The fishing village of Marzamemi is about 50 km from Syracuse and is known for its beaches, its seafood restaurants, and its nightlife. Here, you can visit the Tower of San Giovanni, the Tafuri Castle, and the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Porto Salvo. We suggest taking a walk on the promenade at sunset and tasting the freshest seafood dishes in local restaurants.
We hope to have provided useful and detailed information about the city of Syracuse and its surroundings. Syracuse is a city that offers many opportunities to discover the history, art, and culture of Sicily, as well as beautiful beaches and delicious cuisine. We invite you to visit Syracuse for an unforgettable experience.
Discover Syracuse with the Grand Tour of Sicily
With "Sicily Emotions", you will have the opportunity to uncover the hidden treasures of the island accompanied by an expert guide who will lead you to discover all the most beautiful and fascinating places in Sicily.
You will start from Catania or Palermo and have the chance to experience the magic of Sicily in all its shades, from spring to autumn. You will immerse yourself in the scents of the sea and experience unforgettable sunsets. Discover the majesty of Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, and admire the art and architecture of the Baroque, Art Nouveau, and luxury villas.
You will explore the picturesque salt pans, the famous mosaics, and the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, an archaeological site of incredible historical and cultural importance. And you will never forget the emotions you feel as you walk the streets of the city of Taormina, with its breathtaking views of the crystal-clear sea.
This is a journey that will leave you with an unforgettable experience and a suitcase full of indelible memories. Don't miss the opportunity to experience "Sicily Emotions", the grand tour of Sicily. Book your trip now and let yourself be captivated by the beauty of this wonderful island!