Queen of the Mediterranean, Siracusa, the beating heart of all Sicily
Siracusa (Syracuse) is one of the most important cities of antiquity, springing up as a colony of Magna Grecia and becoming over time a capital that could compete with Athens.
The fame of “Sarausa” (in Sicilian) as a metropolis has been passed down to us today thanks to its numerous classical sights, perfectly conserved. If you’re wondering what to see, don’t worry, Siracusa will astonish you with an infinity of stunning attractions. Just a few kilometres from the San Corrado di Noto Resort lies one of the most prestigious capitals of the past.
Its history commences around 6000 BC, at least according to the early finds that apparently link it to the Stentinello civilisation. These relics are today held in the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum, named after the archaeologist who brought these and many other finds to light.
In 733 BC, a colony was founded by the Corinthians, who expelled the “Siculi” from the Island of Ortigia (Ortygia) (the present-day historical centre) and then proceeded to subjugate all the local territories. Siracusa promptly became a rival of Carthage and then Athens, to subsequently go on to withstand a Roman siege, also thanks to the much-acclaimed ingenuity of Archimedes, who died at the hands of a legionary.
Siracusa has also been subject to considerable domination, as can be seen in the architecture of the city, which partly owes its appearance to the reconstruction occurring after the 1693 earthquake.
Among the unmissable things to see in Siracusa, we might mention the Temple of Apollo, in Piazza Pancali, the Greek amphitheatre, which has come down to us in a virtually perfect condition, and the Roman amphitheatre, also in a miraculous state of conservation.
The Latomie are another phenomenon worth exploring. These are stone caves that have been excavated since the Greek epoch, to extract materials needed for construction, and they were subsequently used as cells for slaves or prisoners. The paths leading to the Latomie are surrounded by lush Mediterranean scrub, so it’s a real pleasure discovering them one by one. The most famous are unquestionably: the Ear of Dionysius, noted for the legend that has it that a sound made at one end can be distinctly heard at the other, the Latomia dei Cappuccini, the Latomia dei Cordari and that of Paradiso.
Near the archaeological park and the Latomie complex there is also the Eurialo Castle, the best-preserved Greek military fortification in the world, its mighty limestone blocks still very impressive today. The historical centre, however, is on the Island of Ortigia (Ortygia) linked to the mainland by bridges. Much admired is the Maniace Castle, dating from the age of Emperor Frederick II (built between 1232 and 1240), the Cathedral of Santa Maria delle Colonne and many other attractions.
"Our staff will be happy to recommend one of the many fine restaurants in Siracusa. Expect extremely flavoursome and very traditional cooking, due to the liberal use of typical local products, like tuna, almonds, pine-nuts, olives, breadcrumbs, Pachino tomatoes and raisins.
If, after your archaeology fix, you’re in search of a beach for a refreshing dip, the most gorgeous beach close to the city is Fontane Bianche, a kilometre of fine snowy white sand bathed by turquoise waters.
You’ll fall in love with Siracusa. Once you’ve explored it, you’ll hear its voice calling you back. Nobody can be immune to its siren call, drawing one’s thoughts back to a distant ancestral past.