Editors' Picks

Syracuse & Ortygia

Via Anacreonte, 14, 96100 Syracuse, Italy

A one-hour drive south from the Catania International Airport, historic Syracuse was the first city settled by the Greeks in 733 BC. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has one of the world's best-preserved Greek theaters, as well as an impressive Roman amphitheater. Close to the Greek Theater, don't miss the Latomie del Paradiso (stone quarries), which is where the limestone used to build the city was extracted and which were also used as prisons in ancient times. The quarries are surrounded by incredibly beautiful gardens of magnolia and citrus trees, and the temperature here is a fraction of that the sun-exposed Greek theater, making it a nice conclusion to a visit. Don't miss the enormous cave called Orecchio di Dionisio (Dionysius's ear) with its cool echo.

The small island of Ortygia, the starting point of the ancient city, is one of Sicily's most picturesque places, especially its car-free Piazza del Duomo, sculpted entirely out of the white sandstone that the region is famous for. If you're staying here, either at the Gutkowski or Agila, you can reach all restaurants and shops in the city on foot. From Taormina, Syracuse can be done as a day trip, albeit one with a lot of time spent in the car.

Driving Time

  • Catania International Airport to Syracuse: 1 hour
  • Taormina to Syracuse: 1h30min

Written by Simone Girner

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