What to do in Siracusa?
Siracusa is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities to visit in Italy, a must for a trip to Sicily to discover more than 2750 years of history preserved in its cultural layers.
Enchanted places and evocative landscapes, uncontaminated nature, crystal blue sea, beaches that alternate between rocks and fine golden sand, mild climate until the end of October, excellent wine and traditional food. Siracusa evokes myth and history, art and culture, traditions that are still alive, and has always been a crossroads of peoples and cultures whose presence is evident in its millennial stratification.

The city of Syracuse, as you have often heard, is the largest and most beautiful of all Greek cities of all: and the reality corresponds perfectly to the fame. Its position is not only well protected, but but also beautiful to look at, no matter how you enter it, either by land or by sea [...].

What is Siracusa Sicily known for?

From the Contrada Fanusa, where we produce our Chalices of History, a stone’s throw from the seaside resorts of Terrauzza, Plemmirio, Arenella, Ognina and Fontane Bianche, you can reach the city along the modern Via Elorina, whose name derives from the Helorine odos, an ancient road that led to the settlement of Eloro and that, before reaching Siracusa, passed through the Olympeion, the temple outside the city dedicated to Zeus Olympius. The temple overlooked the entire city from a high point, and today only two columns remain to testify to its existence. According to ancient sources, the area around the temple was called Polychne: votive jars containing oils were made there and then scattered at sea by sailors to calm navigation. A large statue of Zeus Olympius was kept inside the temple, along with tables listing the names of all citizens eligible for arms.

Having reached the Ciane river, here appears Syracuse, a Greek colony founded by the Corinthians in the 8th century BC. Crossing the bridge over the river, you can see the profile of Ortigia, the small island that juts out into the sea. On the extreme tip, almost guarding the horizon, stands the Maniace Castle, the Swabian fortress that belonged to Frederick II, witness of the Norman presence in Syracuse. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, French and Spaniards have all left their mark on the city, which can still be seen today in its architecture, art and culture. In a short time the city expanded to the point that the original nucleus of Ortigia was joined by the districts of Acradina, Tiche, Neapolis and Epipoli: it was the Pentapolis described by the Greek geographer Strabo, surrounded by a 28-kilometer long wall.


Is Siracusa worth visiting Sicily?

Ortigia is the historical center of Siracusa, the oldest part of the city, where the tyrant Dionisio il Vecchio built his fortress. Equipped with two natural harbors (Porto Grande and Porto Piccolo), it seems to have been connected to the mainland since ancient times by a stone embankment or a narrow bridge. The island, although impregnable by nature, was protected by walls and fortifications: the Pentapylon, for example, connected it to Acradina. In Ortigia there are many archaeological and architectural testimonies of all the historical periods and places to visit on foot or by bicycle: to name just a few, the imposing remains of the Temple of Apollo, the Cathedral – originally the Temple of Athena – in Piazza Duomo, the Arethusa Fountain, the Maniace Castle, Piazza Archimede with the Fountain of Diana, the numerous churches, noble palaces and medieval, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, and the Bellomo Museum.

Historic neighborhoods: Acradina

Acradina was the outer city. Situated to the north of Ortigia, it was the site of the naval arsenal (neoria), the remains of which can still be seen near the Sbarcadero di Santa Lucia. Some sections of the great road – the Via Lata Perpetua, one of the most important decumanus of the city – that crossed Acradina in an east-west direction, can be seen in the archaeological area of Piazza della Vittoria, near the Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime. Livio and Cicerone tell of the splendor of ancient Acradina, seat of the Forum of Syracuse, and therefore of numerous sacred and public buildings: the Ara della Concordia, the Curia (with portico, seats or stairs for public meetings), the Pritaneo (where the local magistrate exercised his functions), an arch erected in honor of the controversial Roman governor of Sicily, Verres. Even today, walking in the Parco dei Villini, the remains of three columns evoke the wealth of the past. Tiche was named in ancient times because, according to sources, there was a temple dedicated to the goddess of fortune: it was a suburb of Acradina, as was originally Neapolis.

Tyche e Neapolis

Tyche was called so in ancient times because, according to sources, there was a temple dedicated to the goddess Fortuna: it was a suburb of Acradina, as was originally Neapolis. Neapolis, on the other hand, was the “New City”. Its greatest expansion took place during the reign of Hieron II: walled, rich in monumental and prestigious buildings, it deserved the appellation “Maxima”. The via lata perpetua reached the upper part of the city, where today the Archaeological Park of Neapolis preserves its magnificent treasures: The Roman Amphitheater (with the remains of the Arch dedicated to the Emperor Augustus), the Altar of Hieron, the Latomie (Paradise, Intagliatella and Santa Venera), the Ear of Dionysius and the Cave of the Cordari; the Greek Theater and the Via dei Sepolcri, which leads to the top of the Temenite hill; and the Tomb of Archimedes, which, although it is attributed to the famous Syracusan scientist, is a Roman columbarium. An obligatory stop on this journey of wonders is the Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum.