The charm of Magna Graecia, between sea and history
Located on the south-eastern coast of Sicily, Syracuse has a history stretching back thousands of years. It was the island’s capital for centuries, until it was conquered by the Arabs in 878 AD. Its historical centre, corresponding to the island of Ortigia, is rich in Baroque buildings, most of which were damaged and rebuilt following the violent earthquake of 1693.
Ortigia is considered to be an open-air museum: it houses the Cathedral, the Maniace Castle from the Swabian-Norman period, the Temple of Apollo and the Temple of Athena, and Piazza Archimede with its fountain of the same name. From here, it is a 30-minute walk to the Neapolis Archaeological Park. In the Greek Theatre, dating back to the 5th century BC, it is still possible to watch wonderful performances. Particularly fascinating is the Orecchio di Dioniso (Ear of Dionysus), a stone cave so called because of its shape, famous for its special acoustic effect.
Moving south, stop in Noto, Italy's Baroque capital, and Marzamemi, a characteristic fishing village famous for its “tonnara” (tuna fishery) and light-coloured stone houses.
Among the most beautiful beaches, besides Cala Rossa, Arenella and Fontane Bianche, we recommend Calamosche, located within the Vendicari Natural Oasis. A stop at Portopalo and its Spiaggia dei due mari (Beach of the Two Seas), overlooking the uninhabited island of Capopassero, is a must.