Syracuse, or Siracusa in Italian, is the capital of the eponymous province, in Southeast Sicily. It borders the Ionian Sea and is famous for being rich in Ancient Greek history, culture, and architecture. In fact, the famous engineer and mathematician Archimedes was born here! The Corinthian and Tenean populations of Ancient Greece founded this city, and it is just under 3000 years old. In its time, it was almost as big and important as Athens. In fact, Cicero himself described Syracuse as “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all”.
Today, its immense historic and cultural value has earned it a place under the protection of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can find much of its history in Ortigia, its historical center. Here you will, for example, find the Duomo. This cathedral was built over a 5th-century BC Temple to Athena, and dates back to the 7th Century AD. Within Syracuse you will also find an Ancient Greek theater, the Temple to Apollo, the tomb of Archimedes, and the Basilica di Santa Lucia. The latter dates back to 303 AD, when the Byzantines held control over the area.
The Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia holds work by the celebrated artist Caravaggio. Moreover, Syracuse also holds the remains of an Ancient Roman amphitheater. Just three kilometers outside of the city you can also admire the 6th-century BC Temple to Olympian Zeus. All of these attractions are interesting and stunning in their own ways, and attest to the incredible presence history still has in today’s Syracuse.
The province of Siracusa is also extremely beautiful. It has many areas, both on land and at sea, that are protected for their natural beauty. It has many attractions such as its aquarium, with a wide variety of sea life. Syracuse is also home to the celebrated Museo Archeologico ‘Paolo Orsi’, which is very popular and interesting for anyone wanting to find out more about Syracuse’s Ancient history. Those looking for more recent relics can also head to the Galleria Regionale di Palazzo Bellomo, where you will find medieval and modern art works.
Syracuse benefits from many train and bus connections, so you can easily reach it from most places in Sicily. The nearest airport is Catania. From here you can catch a 5-10 euro coach to the city, or pay around 100 for a taxi.