Siracusa Mini Guide
Siracusa in a Nutshell
Siracusa or Syracuse as it is sometimes known, is a historic city in the south of Sicily, next to the Ionian Sea. It is famous for it’s Greek history and architecture and is listed as a World Heritage Site with UNESCO.
How can I Get There?
Within Sicily it is easy to get around by AST buses and you can travel from Italy
via Trenitalia trains. For travellers from Europe, Catania Airport
is the nearest to the city and then it is an hours journey by bus or you can hire a car. To get around the city, walking and cycling are the best options.
So, it’s all About the Ancient Greek Civilisation…
Mostly! See the magnificent Neopolis of Pantalica, an ancient city with theatres and caves. Most of the ancient city is on the island of Ortygia, where you will also see temples and churches. The regional museum is there too, along with Maniaces Castle. Stop off at Aretus Fountain, a place of mythology and inspiration for thousands of years. Visit the Basilica of Santa Lucia and see the Carvaggio painting of the ‘Burial of St Lucy’ and underneath the basilica you will find the catacombs of St Lucy. The Sanctuary of Madonna della Lacrime is a cone shaped church built over the Madonna statue that cried in 1954.
What if I Don’t Like History?
There is a lot to do in the city, whether you want to go on an excursion or do adventure sports or take a cooking class and do wine tasting. The choice is yours!
Take a walk or relax on the promenade Foro Italica or shop at the market in Ortygia for food and souvenirs. After dark, head for the Alfeo promenade where you can go dancing on the beach at one of the nightclubs.
Where can I Stay?
Hotel Gutkowski is in the historic centre and overlooks the sea. It is an old building once owned by fishermen and craftsmen that is now a contemporary style hotel mixed with Sicilian tradition. The hotel has internet access and room service. Go to the hotel wine bar for Sicilian snacks and wine.
Will I Like the Food?
Try out the local ‘arancini’ (rice balls fried in breadcrumbs) with your wine at one of the many bars in the city and then eat pasta with mussels or sea urchin for a real taste of Sicily. Of course you can also visit one of the pizzerias or pasticceries for a quick snack. Why not browse the market and make up a picnic or ask one of the delis to make you a special sandwich. Finish off with a Gelati – try the pistachio or almond ice cream.
Are There any Festivals?
The Festival of Santa Lucia takes place on the 13th December. A sliver statue of the saint is paraded through the town then taken to the Basilica del Sopolcro for 8 days. Unsurprisingly, there is a festival devoted to Greek theatre from May to July, where you can watch a performance written by one of the Greek dramatists.
Siracusa was a great Greek city, one of the finest of its time, and much of the old city remains as ruins dotted around the city. The old town is on the island of Ortygia and many of the buildings there date from Renaissance days.
The old town has great charm enhanced by its island location. If you’re a budding musician or writer you should head off in your hire car to the Arethusa Fountain where, over the centuries, many have gone to seek inspiration.