The old town of Syracuse can be found on the small island of Ortygia in Sicily and is connected to the rest of the city by three bridges. A rich history runs through the island after being founded by the Greeks and then becoming part of the Roman Republic. Discover the cultural delights and architecture that the island offers as a result of the shared influences. A fun fact about Syracuse is that the mathematician Archimedes was killed here by a Roman soldier sent specifically to bring him safely back to Rome.Feel free to get lost among the streets of this beautiful old town. Syracuse’s Duomo is a mixture of architecture formed from the bits and pieces of two ancient Greek temples: the Temple of Athena and the Temple of Minerva. Admire the grandeur of the Doric columns which are thousands of years old! Around the square, you’ll also be able to see many aristocratic palazzi.
At the Archeological Park of Neapolis, you can find the 5th century BC Greek theatre and the Latomia del Paradiso limestone quarry from which much of ancient Syracuse was built. There are also catacombs and the famous ‘Ear of Dionysus’ – a manmade cave whose perfect acoustics allowed the eponymous tyrant to listen to the prisoners kept within. The second-century AD Roman amphitheater, site of predictably grisly gladiatorial combat, is also an extraordinary place to explore.
Two places definitely worth visiting from Syracuse are Ragusa and Modica. UNESCO-listed Ragusa has a spectacular mountain setting and is famous for its amazing natural produce such as cheese and olives. Modica is known for its chocolate, made in the same way that the Aztecs made it, according to a recipe brought back to the village by marauding Spanish conquistadors.