Constructed about the skeleton of a 5th-century BC Greek temple to Athena (notice the Doric columns visible indoors and outside ), Syracuse’s 7th-century palace turned into a church when the island had been evangelised from St Paul. Its most notable feature is that the columned baroque facade (1728–53) inserted by Andrea Palma after the 1693 earthquake. A statue of the Virgin Mary crowns that the rooftop, at precisely the exact same place where a gold statue of Athena formerly functioned as a beacon into homecoming Greek sailors.
Parco Archeologico della Neapolis
For your classicist, Syracuse’s actual attraction is the blossom park, home to the snowy Teatro Greco. Constructed at the 5th century BC and rebuilt in the 3rd century, even the most 16,000-capacity amphitheatre staged the very last tragedies of Aeschylus (such as The Persians), first played here in his existence. From early May to early July it is brought to life using a yearly season of classical theater.
Piazza del Duomo
Syracuse’s showpiece square is a masterpiece of baroque city planning. Quite a very long, rectangular piazza Inspired by gaudy palazzi, it stays on what was formerly Syracuse’s historical acropolis (augmented citadel). Little remains of the first Greek building but should you have a look across the face of the Duomo, then you are going to observe quite a few of thick Doric columns integrated to the cathedral’s construction.
The highlight of this Neapolis archaeological area is that the Teatro Greco, also a masterpiece of classical design that could accommodate around 16,000 individuals. Hewn from the rugged hillside, the amphitheatre was built in the 5th century BC, rebuilt from the 3rd century and further altered throughout the Roman era. Impressively, it staged the works of Sophocles, Euripides and also the very last tragedies of Aeschylus, such as Aeschylus, The Persians, Prometheus Bound along with Prometheus Unbound, that were performed in his existence.
Museo Archeologico Paolo Orsi
Situated about 500m west of the archaeological park, Syracuse’s archaeological tradition asserts among Sicily’s biggest and most intriguing collections of antiquities. Allow at least a few hours to explore its different sprawling segments, which graph the region’s prehistory, in addition to the town’s development from base to the Roman period.
Basilica Santuario di Santa Lucia al Sepolcro
This 17th-century basilica conveys the website where Syracuse’s patron saint, Lucia, an aristocratic woman who committed herself to saintliness following being blessed by St Agatha, was martyred in 304. The marble pillar to the right of this altar is thought to be the very place where the saint’s life has been taken. Under lie early-Christian catacombs, available on guided tours (available in English). Tour times change, so call or email ahead to confirm that the present calendar.
Basilica & Catacombe di San Giovanni
The town’s many extensive catacombs lie under the Basilica di San Giovanniitself a fairly, truncated church that functioned as the town’s palace from the 17th century. It’s devoted to the town’s first bishop, St Marcian, that had been tied into one of its own heroes and flogged to death at 254. The church and spooky catacombs are only available on 30- to 40-minute guided excursions (available in English), that leave frequently from the website’s ticket office.
Buried 20m under the Alla Giudecca resort in Ortygia’s older Jewish ghetto (called the Giudecca) is an outstanding historical Jewish miqwe (ritual bath), reputedly Europe’s earliest. The bathrooms were connected into your synagogue, but had been obstructed by members of the Jewish neighborhood when they had been expelled out of the island in 1492. Tours, which leave every 30 minutes, are provided in English and Italian.
Galleria Regionale di Palazzo Bellomo
Housed at a 13th-century Catalan-Gothic palace, that this art museum’s diverse collection ranges from ancient Byzantine and Norman stonework into 19th-century Caltagirone ceramics. In between there is a good selection of medieval palaces, in addition to ancient, Renaissance and baroque religious paintings. One of the latter would be Annunciation (1474), accomplished by Sicily’s biggest 15th-century performer, Antonella da Messina. The memorial also asserts a few storybook 18th-century Sicilian carriages.
Guarding the island’s southern tip, Ortygia’s 13th-century castle is also an evocative location to roam out on the water and also consider Syracuse’s previous glories. Constructed for Emperor Frederick II, it is a significant instance of Swabian (Italian ) structure, with a stunning, vaulted central hallway (Sala Ipostila). The grounds house a little antiquarium displaying ancient items from the website, such as Norman-era ceramics plus a few curious-looking ceramic hand grenades in the 16th century.
Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia
The Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia is devoted to the town’s patron saint, St Lucy, martyred in Syracuse through the reign of this Roman emperor Diocletian. The church is currently also home to Caravaggio’s arresting masterpiece,” Seppellimento di Santa Lucia (Burial of St Lucy, 1609). Caravaggio made the painting Syracuse after escaping imprisonment at Malta, his personal struggles depicted from the job (he is the one about the best, looking away in misery).
Latomia del Paradiso
It was from the profound, precipitous limestone quarry that rock for the early city was pulled. Riddled with catacombs and also full of citrus and magnolia trees, and it is also where the 7000 lands of this warfare between Syracuse and Athens at 413 BC were also imprisoned. Its vaulted’roof’ of ground dropped from the 1693 earthquake, making it vulnerable to sun and which makes it a perfect place to plant its existing gardens.
Museo dei Pupi
The little Museo dei Pupi chronicles the background of Sicilian puppetry, using a specific focus on the function local puppeteers Alfredo and Saro Vaccaro played its rebirth from the 1970s. Artefacts incorporate a variety of handmade pupi (puppets), in addition to illustrations of set layout. An accumulative ticket (adult/reduced $10.50/6 ) ) can be obtained and includes entrance to some Sicilian puppet show.
Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime
Supposedly modelled on the form of a tear fall, the 102m-high spire of the church dominates contemporary Syracuse’s skyline. The church houses a statue of the Virgin Mary that supposedly cried for four times from 1953 and bestowed over 300 miraculous remedies; an area filled with ex-voti (votives) — one of them crutches — confer with the Virgin’s curative abilities. The refuge’s lower floor houses the Museo della Lacrimazione (Museum of the Lacrymation), also a little, underwhelming museum summarising the 1953 occasion.
Even the Palazzo Municipale or Palazzo Senatoriale was built in 1629 by the Spanish architect Juan Vermexio, that had been nicknamed’Il Lucertolone’ or’that the lizard’. On the left side of this cornice is your architect’s touch: a little lizard carved into a rock. Excavations under the building (currently serving as town hall) have discovered the remains of an Ionic temple, much better called the’sofa of Artemis’to whom Ortygia had been committed.
Fontana di Artemide
In the Core of Ortygia is handsome Piazza Archimede, Dwelling to Giulio Moschetti’s Fontana di Artemide. Constructed between 1906 and 1907, the fountain’s top woman is Artemis the goddess of hunting. Speechless by her side is river god Alpheus, appearing about as Aretusa — that the object of his bliss — experiences a magical metamorphosis. According to legend, Artemis shifted her handmaiden Aretusa to a spring to safeguard her from Alpheus’ bothersome improvements.
Loitering under Palazzo Municipale are the little remains of a 6th-century-BC Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis, in addition to the small traces of ancient stone huts. Even the best-preserved relic, nevertheless, is really a medieval crypt using a row of markets once employed from the schiattamorti (actually’corpse squashers’) to break the deceased while they poked and prodded all physiological fluids out of these in preparation for burial.
Orecchio di Dionisio
A renowned fascination at the core of the Latomia del Paradiso (Garden of Paradise) is that the ear-shaped artificial grotto called the Ear of Dionysius. Based on Caravaggio, Dionysius has to have had it constructed so that he can listen in to the talks of the offenders, but it is probably the grotto — 23m large and 65m profound — had been dug outside as a stone quarry and later utilized as a sounding board to get theatrical performances.
Museo del Papiro
Ortygia’s Museo del Papiro supplies a nice group of papyrus records and goods, such as artefacts out of antiquity. There is also an English-language movie about the nifty substance’s history. This Syracuse has a tradition specializing in papyrus isn’t coincidental; the papyrus plant grows in prosperity across the local Ciane River, also has been employed to make paper from the 18th century.”
Down on the winding main road in the cathedral is the early spring, by which new water bubbles up only as it did in early times when it had been the city’s most important water source. Legend has it that the goddess Artemis shifted her lovely handmaiden Aretusa to the spring to safeguard her in the unwanted attention of the river god Alpheus.