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 Syracuse Free Walking Tou

Syracuse Free Walking Tour

Every Tuesday & Friday afternoon (summer months and Christmas period)

Tramonto alla Fonte Aretusa di Siracusa

 Syracuse, thanks to the wonderful location on the seaside, the ancient archaeological ruins and the enchanting town centre is among the favourite touristic destinations in Sicily. This small town, on Sicily's eastern coastside is an Unesco world heritage and offers a lot of options and interesting places to visitors. You can sunbathe on the beautiful beaches southern of the town or you can go to the ancient Greek theatre and attend to a classical tragedy or you can also get lost in the lovely narrow streets of Ortigia,the old town centre, following sound, colors and scents of the many small restaurants on the island. So, what are the things not to miss in Syracuse and which is the best way to discover the town?

Syracuse is located at about 40 miles from Catania Fontanarossa airport, the main airport in Sicily and the position of the town is good the explore the eastern part of the island. During the last years beside the traditional hotels of various categories, also the availability of alternative accomodations like B&Bs and apartments has grown in the town centre and along the coastside. Staying in Syracuse is for sure the best option to see the best sights of the town.

Il duomo di SiracusaBut if you decide to stay in an other town and you are only planning one day (or also half day) for Syracuse, you should not miss the old town centre, Ortygia. The peculiarity of Ortygia is that this part of the town is built on a small island, connected to the mainland by two bridges. The island is the location where this ancient town was founded by settlers coming from Greece, in the year 733 B.C. The beautiful narrow streets and the impressive promenades along the sea are the highlighs which enchant visitors from all over the world. Summer sunsets on the great harbor of Syracuse are among the most beautiful in Sicily. Beside the great panoramas Ortygia has also important ancient monuments. Piazza Duomo, the cathedral square is the core of the island. A visit to the cathedral is a must (full ticket 2018: € 2). This baroque church was built over the ancient Greek Athena temple. On the other part of the square there is a second church, St. Lucy (opening 2018: from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm). Here you can see a painting of Caravaggio, one of Italy's greatest artists. Other important sights of the town centre are the legendary Aretusa fountain, with its papyrus plants, the Apollo temple and the Maniace castle, on the tip of the island. A fast visit of Ortygia takes about 1h30m/2 hours but it's difficult to resist to the small shops, restaurants and coffee shops you will entcounter. A guided tours is surely the best way to discover the town's history. Hermes Sicily Tours offers private tours all around the year and, during the summer months and Christmas period, also shared group tours.

The Greek theatre of SyracuseThe archaeological ruins in Syracuse are impressive. The most important of them are located in the Neapolis archaeological park, at about 1 mile from the town centre. There is a shuttle bus service between Ortygia and the Neapolis park, passing also nearby other monuments. Inside the archaeological park (opening about 8.30 am to 1 hour before sunset, full ticket 2018: € 10) it's possible to admire the ruins of the Greek theatre, the largest in Italy but you can also visit the "Ear of Dionysius", and impressive grotto inside the ancient stone quarries. The visit takes about. Few minutes walk from the Neapolis park it's possible to visit the "Paolo Orsi" museum. It's one of the most important in Sicily and Italy about prehistory, Greek and Roman ages (full ticket 2018: € 8, combination tickets with other monuments are available). Near the museum are also the  St. John's catacombs (entrance fee € 6) and the impressive Shrine of Our Lady of Tears, a modern church built in the sixties and ended in the nineties.

If you have more time to spend in Syracuse a visit to the Euryalus castle, few miles from the town, or to Ortygia's underground tunnels, can be very interesting. Beside the archaeological museum, in town you can also visit the Bellomo Gallary with the painting "Annunciazione" by Antonello da Messina, the papyrus museum and the museo dei pupi, ancient sicilian puppets. At the Artemision and at the Montevergini gallery there are often temporary exhibitions. Finally don't forget the sea. Around Ortygia there are some solariums. The most famous is Cala Rossa. At the harbor it's also possible to choose one of the many boat trips around the island or through the bay, often with a break for bathing.

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