What to visit in one day in Syracuse?
Syracuse is one of the cities with the richest culture with Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Norman and even Arab influences. It is undoubtedly one of the highlights of any trip to Sicily and is one of the most beautiful cities in the Mediterranean, a place rich in history and architecture, which reflects the many Sicilian cultural facets. For centuries, it was the most powerful city on the island and still offers numerous and impressive buildings from previous times that testify to the glory and splendor. What to visit in one day in Syracuse? Stay with us and make the best of the Boot country! Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
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The visit to Syracuse will be wonderful, you will take an unforgettable trip through time among the Greek temples of Ortigia, the Christian churches, the splendid Suevi, Aragonese and Baroque palaces. You will be able to stroll through beautiful gardens, beautiful squares and narrow streets on this magical island to discover the talents of Italian artists, such as Antonello de Messina and Caravaggio. Read also What are the 10 must-see cities in Sicily?
1) What to visit in one day in Syracuse? NEAPOLIS ARCHEOLOGICAL PARK
You can start from the Greek heart of Syracuse; I mean the Neapolis Archaeological Park, where there are memorable monuments, such as the Roman Amphitheater, the Greek theater and the famous Ear of Dionysius that, in fact, bear witness to the history of Syracuse and Sicily, which began in the 8th century BC with Greek colonization. This park covers not only the most monumental part of the city, but also a dense series of testimonies from various periods ranging from the proto-historical era to the ancient Byzantine, and is considered an open-air museum to this day. The Neapolis Archaeological Park includes in its scope most of the classic Greek and Roman monuments of Syracuse, such as the Altar of Hieron II, the Greek theater, the Ear of Dionysius in Paradise Latomia, the Roman amphitheater and the necropolis Grotticelli, with the Archimedes’ tomb.
2) What to visit in one day in Syracuse? GREEK THEATER
The Greek Theater is the most important monument within this archaeological area, and was the largest theater in the ancient world. It was built around 470 BC by Hieron I, with a capacity for 15,000 spectators and a diameter of almost 140 meters. It is well preserved, despite repeated modification and disassembly interventions that it has undergone over the years. The Greek Theater of Siracusa is now also internationally famous for classic theatrical performances held annually. If you love Pathos, you can’t miss going there in late May and early June, to see the staging of Greek tragedies.
3) What to visit in one day in Syracuse? EAR OF DIONYSIUS
You can admire the Ear of Dionysius, a cave with an incredible echo that, according to legend, was explored by the city tyrant. The story goes that he was hiding in a ravine and overheard the conversations of enemies locked in the cave, without being able to see them. The cave is famous for its unique acoustic properties that amplify any sound making it perfectly perceptible to those at its entrance.
4) What to visit in one day in Syracuse? ORTIGIA ISLAND
As with any worthy visit, one cannot help looking around and walking through the narrow streets of the historic center of Syracuse, which, by the way, is located on a beautiful island, Ortigia, which is the heart of the city. Ortigia Island is the oldest part of the city of Syracuse.
5) What to visit in one day in Syracuse? MANIACE CASTLE
Like all of Sicily, Ortigia is also a witness to centuries past and populations that have passed there. Its territory speaks of an ancient history that has seen the arrival of the Greeks, followed by the Romans, the Suevi, the Aragonese and the Arabs. Among the most beautiful things to see in Ortigia, it is worth remembering the Maniace Castle, the Temple of Apollo, the Cathedral, the Fountain of Artemis, the Fountain of Arethusa, the Urbic Door, the Archbishop’s Palace and many churches, all wonderful works, but that you will not be able to visit in one day.
A short description of some of these wonderful monuments can serve to fully understand what we are talking about, how much history there is in these monuments and palaces, and the magic of this ‘piece’ of the city. It starts from the Maniace Castle, located in the southern part of the island and built in the Suevi era by Frederick II, in the first half of the 13th century. This castle was used as a residence and as a defensive structure. Nowadays, there is only one of the four towers existing in every corner of the castle square, due to the violent earthquake of 1693.
6) What to visit in one day in Syracuse? TEMPLE OF APOLLO
Also worth a visit is the Temple of Apollo, which is located in the northern part of the island of Ortigia and is considered the oldest temple in Sicily. Over time, it went through several changes until it became a church, turned into a mosque and went back to being a church according to the religion of the rulers.
The Temple of Apollo is located directly in front of the Piazza Pancali (“Pallets’ Square”), at the entrance to Ortigia, located in a valley surrounded by vegetation and palm trees where you can enjoy a walk along the balcony that surrounds it. We recommend a visit in good weather, because, being outdoors, with the turquoise sky and the sun, they seem to shine. At night it is lit with yellowish lights that highlight the magnificence of the structure. Under the Aragonese government, it was transformed into a barracks.
7) What to know in a day in Syracuse? CATHEDRAL AND THE ARCHBISHOP’S PALACE
Continuing the walk, you will find the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace. Built on the ancient Greek temple of Athens, the Cathedral of “St Mary of the Columns” is a very special point of interest, second to none; the entrance is like stepping back into the ancient world, where you can admire the long history of this sacred place. A magnificent example of Sicilian Baroque, which despite being a unique work, reflects the result of the mixture of different styles.
The interior of the cathedral is divided into three naves and at the end of them, on the right, are four chapels: that of the Baptistery, that of Saint Lucia, that of the Sacrament and that of the Crucifix. Within these chapels there are different works of art. Just leave the Cathedral to remain impressed with the remarkable square of the same name, which shows its visitors all its white luster. The ‘brilliant’ square is not only home to the Cathedral of “St Mary of the Columns”, but also has many other buildings that create a very attractive overall harmony. Near the Cathedral, there is the Archbishop’s Palace, built in the 17th century by Bishop Torres; inside there is the Library of Archbishop Alagonia, from 1780.
8) What to know in a day in Syracuse? FOUNTAIN OF ARETUSA
In about a square kilometer, there are several wonders that man has built and that history has led to the present day. From Piazza Duomo, along Via Picherali, you reach the Fountain of Aretusa. Even next to the sea, there is this small source of fresh water inside the pool where a large Papyrus now grows.
This place is surrounded by a fascinating legend that tells that the nymph Aretusa ran away from Alphaeus, madly in love with her. The nymph asked Artemis for help, who, in order to save her, turned her into a source. From this charming location, close to the sea, you can also admire a beautiful landscape that reaches our eyes from the Iblei Mountains.
How to get to Syracuse?
Getting to fabulous destinations in Sicily is not difficult. The land of he sun is equipped with all the infrastructure ready to receive tourists, with its five airports, ports, highways and train stations, all you have to do is leave!
1) How to get to Syracuse? BY AIRPLANE
Sicily is served by five airports, two of which are international. Sicilian airports are connected by direct flights to and from major Italian and European cities and serve as a stopover for flights from local airports across the Mediterranean. The main airports are Catania Fontanrossa Vincenzo Bellini and Palermo, Punta Raisi called Falcone and Borsellino.
Then there is Trapani Birgi Vincenzo Florio airport, which is growing rapidly and which performs a large number of airline landings and takeoffs daily, to Italian and European cities, and finally, there are Lampedusa and Pantelleria airports, with flights direct to major cities to and from the peninsula.
However, if you are arriving from other airports, also read our Special Posts on Airports in Italy:
- HOW TO GO FROM THE ROME AIRPORT TO THE CENTER OF ROME?
- HOW TO GO FROM THE MALPENSA AIRPORT TO THE CENTER OF MILANO?
- HOW TO GO FROM VENICE AIRPORT TO VENICE CENTER
2) How to get to Syracuse? BY TRAIN
If you prefer to go by train, Sicily is linked to the rest of the peninsula by the national group of State Railways – Trenitalia; railways connect all Sicilian provinces. Also find out “What is the difference between trains in Italy?”. Would you like to save? So buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot, read the Post “How to buy a train ticket in Italy?“.
3) How to get to Syracuse? BY SHIP
It is possible to reach Sicily by sea. The main points of reference are the ports of Messina, Palermo, Catania, Augusta, Trapani, Gela and Porto Empedocle, in Agrigento. Other smaller, but important for tourism, are the marinas of Cefalu, San Vito Lo Capo and Pozzallo. From Catania, you can also use the Espresso Ravenna, which connects the island with the ports on the Adriatic. In Trapani, finally, you can arrive by boat from Tunisia.
4) How to get to Syracuse? BY CAR
For those who want to reach Sicily by car or motorbike, the fastest way is the Autostrada del Sole (www.autostrade.it) which is free of tolls from Naples to Reggio Calabria; get off at Villa San Giovanni, and take one of the ferries that cross the Strait. Different companies make the crossing service in the Strait: State Railways, Charon and Meridian. Read our section on Car Tour Examples in Italy.
Traveling by car in Italy
How about if I give you a rental car option? Are you ready for it? If you are renting a car be sure to read our posts in the section Driving in Italy on the blog Your Travel to Italy. In addition to car itinerary tips, we have everything about signage, tolls, roads and many more tips.
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What to visit in one day in Syracuse? Syracuse is concrete proof of the succession of peoples that left their significant mark on the Greek city, a symbol of the passage of centuries. Over a thousand years of domination, wonderfully photographed in the magical mixture of Baroque buildings, museums, squares and streets in a city that echoes history and traditions.
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