12 things to do and see in Syracuse

12 things to do and see in Syracuse
12 things to do and see in Syracuse

Green, white, yellow, blonde, purple, meek, smart, violent, lazy, frenetic ... According to the writer Giuseppe Bufalino (1920-1996) there are many Sicilies, sometimes irreducible to each other. Therefore, woe to think of the island as a "compact lump of race and customs". On the contrary, western Sicily is profoundly different from eastern Sicily; the Madonie hinterland is another island compared to that of the tourist villages on the coast. Similarly, you also have trouble thinking that everything revolves around Palermo e Catania. There is more. More. For example there is Syracuse, the city of Archimedes. Let's find out together.

1 Archaeological Park of Neapolis

The Neapolis park (Nea - New Polis - City) is one of the largest archaeological areas in the Mediterranean, with finds ranging from the Bronze Age to Norman domination. It was established in the 50s with the aim of protecting and enhancing the many monuments emerging from the first half of the XNUMXth century. A happy intuition of the Superintendence of Eastern Sicily which, in this way, not only endowed Syracuse with a great open-air museum, but also a green lung of fundamental importance for the health of the environment. Green lung that over the years has proved, in fact, the only embankment to the urban expansion of the city. Therefore, in addition toAnfiteatro Romano, and more importantly Greek Theatre, the visit to the Archaeological Park of Neapolis is also an extraordinary opportunity to deepen the flora of Sicily and the southern Mediterranean. Olives, cypresses, pini, webbed, carob trees, pomegranates, oranges, lemons, Without to forget myrtle e Origan, constitute a naturalistic heritage of enormous value, the pride of the city, of the Sicily region and, above all, of Italy.

Entrance times:
>> Mondays and holidays from 08,30 to 13,45 (ticket office closes 12,30)
>> Tuesday to Saturday from 8,30 to 16,30 (ticket office closes at 15,30)
Single ticket: 10,00 € uro
Single reduced ticket: 5,00 € uro

Anfiteatro Romano
(Case Grazia ticket office opening)
>> from 16,30 to 19 (ticket office closes at 18,00)
reduced ticket: 5,00 € uro

2 Greek Theater of Syracuse

Despite being inside the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, the Greek Theater of Syracuse deserves a separate mention. In fact, since 1914, this area dating back to the XNUMXth century BC, has been the seat of classical representations organized by theNational Institute of Ancient Drama (INDA). Every year, in the months of May and June, thousands of enthusiasts from all over the world gather here, in this beautiful open space on the slopes of the Temenite hill, to attend the works of Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca and the other authors of classical age. Not to be missed!
For more information: www.indafondazione.org/it/

3 Cathedral of Syracuse

Greek, Byzantine, Islamic and Christian temple, the Cathedral of Syracuse, in the highest part ofOrtigia island (historical center of the city), has “really been through all the colors“. Above all from an architectural point of view, reflecting the Ionic, then Doric, Gothic and Baroque influences after the 1693 earthquake in the Val di Noto. Metropolitan Cathedral of the Nativity of Holy Mary - this is its name - it is a beautiful building, not surprisingly, since the beginning of the millennium, protected byUnesco, like all the other sites of the Baroque Sicily on the south-eastern side of the island. Inside, there are many traces of the Hellenic period (just think of the two Doric columns at the entrance to the main nave). Hence the particularity of the church in which the decorative exuberance of the external facade coexists with the austerity of the Greek temple dedicated to Athena.

Opening time
Every day from the 8.00 19.45

Holy Masses
>> Monday to Saturday: 8.00 am and 19.00 pm
>> Sunday: 8.00 am, 11.30 am and 19.00 pm

During the celebration of the mass, guided tours are not allowed

4 Arethusean Puppet Museum

Christian knights, Saracen pirates, wizards, witches, and many other more or less fantastic characters. In Aretuseo Pupi Museum, a stone's throw from the Duomo, you will find all the artistic heritage of the Vaccaro-Mauceri family, historical puppeteers of Syracuse, on display. There is not only the museum though. The Theater is still operational, to let tourists, but also residents, experience the magic of "Opra dei Pupi"Very ancient form of art in which real and probable are inextricably linked and often indistinguishable from each other. Therefore, before buying one of the many puppets for sale in the bazaars of Ortigia ("Ottigia", in Syracusan dialect), you will do well to visit this small artistic jewel, not surprisingly also declared by Unesco Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

From March to November and during the Christmas period
>> Monday Saturday.

From March to May
>> ore 11:00 /13:00 16:00/18:00

From June to August
>> 11: 00/18: 00 (open all day)
(Closed 15 August)

From September to November
>> ore 11:00/13:00 16:00/18:00

Special opening (from December 15th to January 15th)
>> ore 11:00/13:00 16:00/18:00

(Closed in the morning on the days: 25-26 December - 1 January)

For more information: www.museodeipupisiracusa.it/

5 Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia

There are many churches on the island of Ortigia. A territory of just one square kilometer full of traces and devotional signs. Typical of southern Italy, even more of Sicily. Among these, the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia. The reason is that since 2009 the building has housed a painting by Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi 1571 –1610) painted between 1608 and 1609 during the artist's stay in Syracuse. The canvas, an altarpiece depicting the "Burial of Saint Lucia”(Patron saint of Syracuse), was originally located in the Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro, outside the historic city center. A curiosity. The saint has a stab wound on her neck, a recurring theme in Caravaggio's painting on which, from 1606, following a murder in Rome, a sentence of beheading hung. Condemnation that forced the restless artist to flee of which, in fact, Syracuse was one of the stops.

Opening time
>> From Tuesday to Sunday, 11.00 / 16.00
Closed on Mondays

6 "Paolo Orsi" Archaeological Museum

For the quantity and quality of the finds the "Paolo Orsi" Archaeological Museum (archaeologist who directed the institute for over 30 years, from the end of the 30th century to the 80s of the last century) is to be considered one of the most important in Europe. After being located for many years in Piazza Duomo, in the old part of the city, at the end of the XNUMXs, the Museum was moved to the headquarters of Villa Landolina, huge structure on three levels surrounded by a beautiful green park. The finds are located in 3 rooms and range from prehistoric times to the Hellenistic-Roman age. Furthermore, since 2015, the first in southern Italy, the Museum is visible on Google Street View (click here). In this way, the user has the exclusive opportunity to get an idea before the actual visit.
Download the brochure

Working Time:
>> Tuesday to Saturday 09.00 / 18.00
>> Sundays and holidays 09.00 / 13.00
Monday closed

>> single full 8,00 € uro
>> single reduced 4,00 € uro

Possibility of cumulative ticket with Archaeological Park of Neapolis

7 Catacombs of San Giovanni

Second in importance only to those of Rome, the catacombs of Syracuse they represent, according to many, the most authentic testimony of the ancient grandeur of the city. A vast system of necropolis begun in the XNUMXth century and continued throughout the XNUMXth century AD Here too, the merit of the discovery, and the subsequent enhancement of the area, must be given to the archaeologist Paolo Orsi (1859-1935) apical figure in the history of Syracuse to whom, not surprisingly, the Archaeological Museum of the city was named. Museum which houses the most important artifact found in the catacombs: a prestigious marble sarcophagus on which 62 biblical characters from the old and new Testament are depicted. The sarcophagus was sent from Rome to accommodate the remains of Adelphia, wife of the then (we are talking about the XNUMXth century) proconsul of Syracuse, Valerio. Also worth seeing is the basilica of the same name above.

Working Time:
>> Tuesday to Sunday: 9,30 / 12,30 - 14.30 / 17.00
Closed on Mondays

Full 8.00 € uro
Reduced (under 16 and over 65) 5.00 € uro
Groups (pilgrims and schools) 3,00 € uro

The rate includes a guided tour

8 River Ciane Nature Reserve

Ciane, from the Greek "κύανος" [agg. κύανος -η, -ον] which means "blue". Blue like the color of this small river that reaches almost as far as the port of Syracuse, preceded by the salt pans active until the 80s. Along its banks the Papyrus [scientific name "Cyperus papyrus"] herbaceous perennial also present on the Nile Delta in Egypt. The presence of this plant, together with that of the salt pans, determined the establishment, in 1984, of the homonymous nature reserve. A reserve that is very pleasant to travel by boat to discover a complex habitat in which, in addition to papyrus, various other plants grow, without forgetting the sedentary and migratory avifauna present "in situ". It is enough to read the reviews online to realize the important naturalistic value of the area, which is added to all the other attractions of historical and cultural interest in the city. There are two ways to reach the Ciane River Reserve: the SS 115 for Cassibile, or the Sp 14 “Maremonti” for Canicattini Bagni. Along the way the indications for the landing place. For information on prices and times of visits contact theOffice of the Regional Tourist Service, Via Maestranza n. 33 (Syracuse). Tel. 0931. 65201 - 464255

9 The beach of Fontane Bianche

"Tropics of the Mediterranean". So he defined it a few years ago "The sun 24 hours", clearly alluding to the crystalline sea and the clear sand of this beach 15 kilometers from Syracuse. Fontane Bianche is a beautiful place, even if it is too crowded in high season. For this reason it may happen to come across some negative reviews even if, it must be said, the positive ones are definitely many more. Behind the beach there are several bars, restaurants, discos and all that is needed in a modern seaside resort alive day and night. About a kilometer and a half long, the beach alternates free sections with others under concession, without forgetting the cliff (see photo) for those who don't like sand under their feet. Not far from Fontane Bianche, theMarine Protected Area of ​​Plemmirio, an oasis of great landscape and environmental interest, as well as an important hub for traffic and commerce in the Hellenistic period.

10 Maniace Castle

Il Maniace Castle stands at the end of the island of Ortigia, at the mouth of the Porto Grande of Syracuse. The original plant was built - or at least this is the most accredited thesis - in 1038 by the Byzantine general Giorgio Maniace (hence the name) following the defeat of the Arabs. Arabs who, however, soon regained possession of the city, only to lose it again to the advantage of the Normans. In 1232 it was Frederick II of Swabia to consolidate the structure of this fortress, whose history from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century has traced the alternating events of the Kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies. FromUnification of Italy until the end of the Second World War the Maniace Castle had a military function (which it already had under the Bourbons) with artillery to protect the city. From an architectural point of view it represents a pleasant exception to the baroque exuberance that defines Syracuse. In 2009, the G8 of the Environment with the participation of all ministers in the branch of the most industrialized countries. It is currently home to various cultural events and reviews.

Working Time:
>> from Monday to Saturday from 9: 00/13: 00 (Exit before 13:45)
Closed on Sunday
Full ticket: 4,00 € uro
reduced ticket: 2,00 € uro

11 What to eat

Pasta with Sardinian, With the tuna bottarga, without forgetting the countless recipes with swordfish or the more traditional soup with scorpion fish, mullet e shards. The "strong dishes" of Syracusan cuisine are almost all based on fish. It is inevitable that this is the case for a seaside town, even if this does not authorize us to believe that nothing else is eaten. Vegetables, for example, occupy an important place in the local diet. It is no coincidence that among the most popular dishes there are the caponata and the famous Pasta alla Norma, a specialty of regional cuisine. Similar speech for desserts: alongside the many delicacies based on almonds, I am cassate, cannoli e granite to be the master. As for the restaurants, in Ortigia there are several, and almost all of a good standard. Ditto for pastry shops. Separate mention for the municipal market (see photo). Spending a morning at the market is a must-do experience. But pay attention to what you buy, especially if you intend to take it home. The limitations on the plane are numerous; while in the car there are no details, if not the care for the conservation of fresh products if the journey is long. In conclusion, in Syracuse you can eat really well!

12 The surroundings of Syracuse

South-eastern Sicily is so beautiful that you risk being stunned by so much extraordinary landscape-environmental richness. Therefore, I just report Noto and l 'Naturalistic Oasis of Vendicari. Noto is the capital of Sicilian baroque, since 2002 under the protection ofUnesco together with the other villages of the valley (Val di Noto). The Vendicari Oasis, on the other hand, is a nature reserve established by the Sicily region in 1984. No resorts, umbrellas, deck chairs and drinks on the beach. Only crystal clear sea, spectacular cliffs, white beaches and numerous traces of the ancient trades related to fishing (wonderful the seaside village of Marzameni a few kilometers from the reserve). Do not miss the beaches of Calamosche e Marianelli (frequented by naturists). For more information on the Vendicari Oasis: www.riserva-vendicari.it

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