Syracuse (Italy)

Syracuse (Siracusa) is a medium sized city on the eastern coast of Sicily, Italy with an interesting mixture of ancient and modern. The capital of the province of Syracuse, it was once described by Cicero as "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all."

Syracuse is an ancient town on the sea, which was of great importance as Greek Syracuse. It has a well known archaeological zone and a historic centre on the island of Ortygia (Ortigia).

Syracuse is a pleasant town, with plenty to occupy tourists for at least a couple of days. It's also a good area for seeing the south-eastern corner of Sicily, including the Baroque towns of Ragusa and Noto, several archaeological sites, and the lively city of Catania. "Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica" have been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Piazza Duomo

Get in

By bus

Regular buses run to and from Catania, Noto, Modica, Ragusa and Gela as well as more local destinations.

Interbus connects to Siracusa from Palermo and Catania.

Syracuse is served by urban buses run by AST, whose bus station is just across the bridge into Ortygia, at Riva della Posta.

By train

The railway station is at Piazzale Stazione Centrale a 20 minutes walk to the centre of the old town.

Two daily intercity trains from mainland Italy (Rome and Naples) continue on from Messina via Catania to Syracuse. There are also different daliy sleeper trains from mainland Italy (Rome, Milano, Venezia, Turion, Genova and Biologna) to Syracuse (Siracusa). These trains from the mainland connect via a ferry.

Less frequent local trains continue on to Noto, Modica, Ragusa and Gela.

Travelling by train from Palermo is a bit harder; you will need to change at least once (usually at Messina), and the journey will take 6-7 hours.

By plane

The closest airport is Catania to the north of Syracuse, which offers direct bus service. The bus services from the airport are usually timed to match incoming and outgoing flights. Journey time is a bit more than one hour. Alternatively, late at night or on public holidays, it may be easier to take a bus or taxi from the airport to Catania train station and then travel by train to Syracuse.

Get around

Bus no 26 run from downtown past Sanctuary Lacrime and Neopolis.

Syracuse is on the train line that runs from Messina, Taormina and Catania along the coast.

The centre of town is easily visitable on foot - the island of Ortygia contains most of the sights, and is compact and pleasant for strolling. The archaeological area is about 25 minutes' walk away from the island.

See

Castello Eurialo
Roman amphitheatre near the Greek theatre.
Paradise Quarries in the Parco Archeologico
Lacrime church

Do

Syracuse is an amazing city of culture and history ready to be explored and savored. Activities that can be organized include culture & language classes, Sicilian cooking classes & wine tasting, outdoor excursions (hiking, cycling, climbing, sailing, scuba diving), excursions all over the island, workshops (Sicilian puppet making, ceramics, photography, painting).

There are also many night clubs along the coastline on the Alfeo Promenade. Some have dance floors on the beach so that you can dance under the moonlight.

Events

Buy

The outdoor market in Ortigia is one of the most amazing places. Here you can find the freshest and finest fish, vegetables and fruits available. The experience and color are memorable. Other than food, you can find almost anything you will need for you holiday experience in Syracuse from clothing to extra baggage.

One of the most popular craft products in Syracuse is papyrus paper. Local pottery is also a common product to buy. If you are looking for the perfect gift, buy a bottle of Nero d'Avola or a jar of their famous fish preserves.

Every Sunday a large outdoor market (mostly clothes, souvenirs and some food) takes place on Piazza S. Lucia on the mainland.

Eat

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Sleep

Syracuse's Duomo

Most cheap hotels are located east of the train station. There is a number of Bed and Breakfasts around the post office and east of the Apollo temple.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

By bus

AST buses connect to nearby places and cities. AST bus station is just across the bridge into Ortygia, at Riva della Posta.

By train

The railway station is at Piazzale Stazione Centrale, a twenty-minute walk from Ortygia.

Note that in addition to the five main platforms numbered 1-5, the station has three smaller platforms also numbered 1-3 that are marked 'Ovest'. If you are heading westwards in the direction of Gela it is prabably these you will need. Be careful and look for the correct platform.

By train you can got to Noto, Modica, Ragusa and Gela in the south or towards north to Catania, Messina, Naples and Rome.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 05, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.