“The sun was setting: the horizon was golden, the waters of the golden bridges, everything that rose above the earth and rose from the sea drew its shapes in gold. It must have been a sunset like that which made Carducci say: As beautiful as a sunset in Syracuse. “- Edmondo De Amicis
By now you should have understood that I read a lot and I always have a famous quote on the city I will tell you about. About Syracuse a lot of famous writers, famous Greek philosophers and European writers have said something interesting, but De Amicis is the one who has said it best. With just one quote, he is able to summarize all the magic that reigns in this wonderful city with a thousand-year history: it is counted among the largest metropolises of the classical age, was home of the mathematician Archimedes and a fortress in Spanish times… so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s part of the protected UNESCO heritage. Let’s discover 5 things to see in Syracuse!
How long to stay in Syracuse?
As always, I recommend at least a week to enjoy the city and all of its potential, however if your time is limited, a weekend for a general idea could be enough … and then fall in love with it and come back!
5 things to see in Syracuse | What is a must to be seen?
1. Ortigia: it is the oldest part of Syracuse, as well as one of the most spectacular ancient islands in the world. It is rich in history but it is also the ideal location for an great evening of good food and good music. If you are passionate about culture you cannot miss a visit to the famous Cathedral: it has been transformed several times throughout the history from a Ionian temple to a Sicilian one, then a Doric one dedicated to Athena, then a Roman one, a mosque, then as the first Christian church in style. Subsequently it has been redone in a more baroque style. A little further on you must enter the church of Santa Lucia to admire one of Caravaggio’s most extraordinary masterpieces: the painting of the city’s patron saint. Admission is free and will leave you speechless!
2. Archaeological Park of Syracuse: 240000 square meters of monuments among the most famous and important in the world. We are talking about impressive architectural structures such as the largest Greek theater ever built, a Roman amphitheater, the enigmatic Ear of Dionysus and much more. Everything is so massive and solemn that you will feel small and irrelevant in front of all this beauty.
3. Castello di Maniace: an elegant building with a military past behind it, is located on the coast that dominates the sea on one side and the city on the other. It’ss the perfect location for a selfie during the golden hour or simply a romantic walk on the walls that offer excellent views of the crystal clear sea and the nearby port.
4. Catacombs of San Giovanni: it’s not an Italian holiday without a bit of noir and some gruesome stories. These catacombs have been repeatedly defined as an exciting place to immerse yourself in the ancient paleo-Christian history of the city and I strongly recommend that you go through theunderground labyrinth.
5. Beaches and sea: last but not least the crystal clear sea that will call you to dive there at any time of the day. As I said previously, there are many beaches for all tastes: I particularly liked the Ortigia promenade, the Fontane Bianche (3 km of almost sweet crystal clear water) and the Vendicari reserve.
5 things to see in Syracuse | What to eat?
EVERYTHING. Literally, I mean it. Like any self-respecting Sicilian holiday, you should try whatever you fancy and I can guarantee you will always be satisfied. Obviously fish dishes are the master in this maritime city, but with the Iblei mountains behind it, the products of the land are also well prepared. For a special aperitif overlooking the sea I recommend “Carlo V – street sea food” for the opportunity to taste typical delights and excellent cocktails with a view out of the ordinary.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, for the photos and the itinerary I thank my dear friend from Syracuse Luca
who introduced me to this beautiful city.