Once the most important Greek colony in Sicily, whose magnificence and splendor made it even comparable with the great Athens, Syracuse is nowadays one of the most visited destinations in Sicily: its archaeological park is actually the most visited site of the whole island, thanks to the invaluable evidence of the ancient glory of the city it boasts – from the beatuiful amphitheatre to the Dionysus’ ear, an oddly-shaped cave with peculiar acoustic features. Thanks to its former importance as a Greek colony, and as a Roman province afterwards, the whole area of the city is still rich in precious reimains, many of which are displayed in the Paolo Orsi museum (just next to the archaeological park), as well as archaeological sites such as the necropolis of Cassibile and Pantalica, a few kilometres far from the city centre.
Elegant and lively, Syracuse is graced with an enchanting city centre located on the little island of Ortigia, connected by a bridge to the mainland: rich in beautiful baroque monuments, Ortigia is a true pearl. Little winding streets surrounded by refined palaces often end up in elegant squares with lovely cafés, churches and noble buildings, if not in the seaside promenade that covers almost the whole perimeter of the little island and is studded with pretty bars serving the freshest “granita” flavors or a delicious cup of hot Modica cocoa. The seaside promenade will take you to one of the most fascinating monuments of the city, the Fonte Aretusa, a little fountain with a tiny papyrus plantation. The highest part of the island coincides with Piazza Duomo, a refined elegant semi-elliptic square surrounded by outstanding baroque palaces: the Dome, with its 17th-century façade, was actually built upon the reimains of a Greek temple dedicated to Athena, the Palazzo Senatorio, now housing the townhall, the scenic Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco, the Palazzo Vescovile and the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia. The atmosphere is refined, lively and picturesque at one time, and the extraordinary value of all the city’s landmarks made it easy for it to be listed among the UNESCO World Heritage sites: from the ancient traces of the grandeur of the area to the beauty of its baroque buildings, there is really a lot to appreciate here.
The whole seashore of the province of Syracuse is rich in wonderful kilometer-long sandy beaches and nature reserves. Here on the Eastern coast we found some of our Sicily villas near the beach indeed. A few minutes far from the city, the protected marine area of Plemmirio (where our beautiful Syracuse villas are set) is perfect for scuba diving lovers thanks to the wide variety of flora and fauna it boasts, while the Vendicari Nature Reserve is rich in marvellous beaches and rare picturesque birds such as the pink flamingos. Best beaches in the area include Calamosche, San Lorenzo and Portopalo di Capopassero; don’t miss a visit to “Isola delle correnti”, the southernmost point of the mainland, and a visit to the charming seaside resort of Marzamemi, with its colorful main street and its typically Arab “baglio” and its restaurants serving delicious fresh seafood meals.