Temples, caves and catacombs
Most tourists head straight for the historic centre on the island of Ortygia, but there’s a lot to do and see on the mainland. When you’re on holiday in Siracusa, you should spend time exploring both areas.
On the mainland, head to Parco Archeologico della Neapolis. The park includes an Ancient Greek amphitheatre, rebuilt several thousand years ago. This beautiful theatre is still in use today, housing sunset performances throughout the summer months. Another highlight of the complex is a series of atmospheric catacombs. One grotto is named The Ear of Dionysius, who is said to have used the excellent acoustics to eavesdrop on his prisoners.
Other highlights of Siracusa holidays include a trip to the archaeological museum and the Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime, a contemporary church uniquely shaped like a teardrop.
On your holidays to Siracusa, you should check out the stunning historic centre in Ortygia, boasting Baroque buildings and Italian chic. Head into town over the Ponte Nuovo and make tracks for Piazza Duomo, a vast, alabaster-white square, bordered by an impressive Baroque Cathedral (which is built on top of a Pagan Church).
Nearby is Piazza Archimedes, named after the city’s most famous resident, where you’ll find the ornate Fountain of Diana. Further up the road, you’ll discover a museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci and Archimedes.
Most people forget all about the small but interesting Jewish Quarter on Ortygia. It’s home to Europe’s oldest mickveh, a ritual bathing site. There’s also an impressive Byzantine castle overlooking the ocean. Ortygia has a modern side, too. On elegant streets, such as Via Roma, you’ll find designer boutiques, outdoor cafés and excellent restaurants.
Holidays to Syracusa are an excuse to sample tasty Sicilian cuisine. In the Ortygia Market, which runs every morning, you’ll find stalls crammed with regional produce, including cheeses and cured meats. There are plenty of eateries around the market, including Fratelli Burgio. At this upmarket deli, you can choose from sharing platters of chargrilled vegetables, cows-milk mousse and fresh bread.
There are all sorts of restaurants in Siracusa, catering to every type of taste. Try delicious antipasto platters, wood-fired pizzas, homemade pasta dishes and risottos. You can also find regional dishes, such as shellfish and almond soup, or tagliata di tonno (tuna steak with a sticky red pepper relish). Finish off the meal with an orange and almond tart or a creamy gelato.
Siracusa holidays aren’t just about cities and sightseeing. The province of Siracusa boasts 60 miles of gorgeous coastline, dotted with unspoilt bays and coves. If you drive 20 minute south of Siracusa, you’ll discover pretty Fontane Bianche. It has a picturesque sandy beach where you’ll find bars and restaurants for refreshments.
However, travel a few kilometres further south and you’ll discover what many believe to be one of the best beaches in Sicily. Spiaggia della Marchesa is a broad curve of pristine sand, caressed by transparent waters. It’s fringed with pine woods, making you feel secluded from the outside world.
You won’t regret choosing to holiday in Siracusa. This stunning city will captivate you with its attractions and atmosphere. Imagine yourself bathing in the ocean under cloudless skies, followed by sightseeing trips in the city at sunset. This will be a trip you’ll remember for years to come.