Eastern Sicily - Syracuse

Eastern Sicily - Syracuse – main image

Where did Archimedes teach?

In Italy, in eastern Sicily, there is a resort with an extremely rich history. It is Syracuse, the city that St. Lucia, the patron saint of writers, the blind and those suffering from dysentery. The local group of monuments is so huge that the whole of Syracuse has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. It is completely understandable - at every step we encounter history here, one may even be tempted to say that it is in such places that our civilization was created. The past and the present are intertwined here, in the vicinity of the ruins from several centuries ago, we can see an intense flourishing of the city. An important element of Syracuse's economy is agricultural production (including the cultivation of almonds, olives and grapes) and two ports: Porto Grande and Porto Piccolo, connected by a canal separating Ortygia from the mainland.

The city was founded in 733 BC. and from the very beginning it was developing rapidly, delighting visitors with its panache and beauty. It was one of the most powerful city-states in the Mediterranean until the Punic War (212 BC), in which the famous Archimedes, among others, was killed.

Sights of Syracuse

To this day, only the ruins of three Greek temples from the 6th-5th century BC have survived. One of them is the temple of Athena, built into the complex of the medieval cathedral, built in the Doric order. The biggest attractions of Syracuse also include the famous Ear of Dionysus, one of the most interesting caves of the quarries, which is located in the Archaeological Park. It is a huge grotto with amazing acoustic effects. Visitors to the city pay great attention to the ruins of the largest Greek Theater in Europe from the 5th century BC and to the Altar of Zeus, built by Pieron II. Only the base of the altar has survived until today, it is completely carved in the rock. Interesting is also the Euralios fortress from the 5th-4th century BC and partially excavated in the Temenite rock Roman Amphitheater from the 3rd-4th century AD Like most local monuments, it was destroyed by the Spaniards.

The remains of ancient times are the greatest treasures of Syracuse, but also among the monuments of later eras there are many attractions that are worth paying attention to. There are several beautiful churches in the city - first of all, the 11th-century church of St. Nicholas, located in the Archaeological Park. The temple has the features of Norman buildings, is a bit squat and heavy, and inside there are remains of Byzantine painting. The 12th-century church of St. Thomas and the temple of the patron saint of the city, St. Lucia from the 12th-14th centuries. We can also admire the splendor of secular architecture, especially the delicious palaces of the Sicilian aristocracy from the 13th-18th centuries. In one of the most beautiful, Palazzo Bellomo, there is the finest collection of paintings in the whole of Syracuse.

Another attraction, important not only for the faithful, is the Madonna Della Lacrime Sanctuary , famous for the miraculous image of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On August 29, 1953, tears flowed from the copy of the painting. The phenomenon has been studied many times to finally confirm its authenticity. Crowds of believers began to come to the weeping picture, and finally it was decided to build a temple.

Ortygia - the floating Old Town

While here, you cannot forget to visit Ortygia, a small island where the historic part of the city is located. In the old days it was a mighty fortress protected by thick walls with three gates. In the 19th century, it was demolished, making it an ordinary open district. To get to it, just cross the Ponte Umbertino bridge. We find here the oldest temple in Syracuse - the Temple of Apollo standing at Luglio XXV Largo. To this day, only a few columns remain, a part of the podium with steps and a fragment of the cell wall. Nevertheless, the ruins make a huge impression on visitors.

It is no different when tourists admire the remains of two quadrangular towers from the 5th century BC. Most likely, they once formed a huge gate. Near the ruins of Porta Marina there is the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli , in which it is worth paying attention to the Renaissance portal - there is a vaulted telescope above it with the Virgin Mary, St. Rochem and St. Sebastian. In the depths of Ortygia, we find Archimedes Square (Piazza Archimede), with stately palaces next to it. The 18th-century Palazzo Gargallo and the 19th-century Palazzo del Banco di Sicilia are on the south side of the square. Right next to it, there is a much older, because it comes from the 15th century, Palazzo Lanza-Bucceri. On the west side there is his peer - Palazzo dell'Orolgio. Each of them attracts attention with its facade. Many medieval buildings have been restored to give them a baroque character. In the middle of the square there is another attraction of the island - the beautiful Fountain di Diane, created in 1906 by Giulia Moschetti Piceno.

In a camper van to the island

Tourists visiting Syracuse use various means of transport. One of them is your own camper - a comfortable and independent form. An additional advantage is the possibility of visiting more attractions, especially since getting to Sicily is very easy, and run frequently. There are several recommendable campsites close to Syracuse, but no matter which one you choose, it will still be a good choice. After all, we will be staying overnight in an exceptionally beautiful area.

One of the recommended places is camp Rinaura (Agritourist, Strada Laganelli, 8 int. 13, Siracusa). It is a year-round campsite with excellent facilities for disabled guests, with a playground for children and a jeu de boule track. Here, for the accommodation of two people, we will pay from 21 to 27 euro / day, including tourist tax, motorhome stand and access to electricity.

If someone chooses Syracuse for a trip, have an amazing adventure, feel the past not so much ancient, but dusty and covered with many layers of sand. It's really worth coming here.


A writer by profession, a passion of a cat. One day he will see what is behind the Urals - good to Vladivostok. So far, when he can, he enjoys the sun of the countries of southern Europe. And it's also fun;)

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