THE GREATEST GREEK CITY AND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OF ALL (CICERONE, I CENTURY B.C.)

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Syracuse, Greek theatre

Syracuse, Greek theatre

Syracuse, Greek theatre

Greek theatre of Syracuse

Greek theatre of Syracuse

Greek theatre of Syracuse

Founded by the Greeks coming from Corinth in the VIII century B.C., Syracuse was a metropolis of the ancient world that, over the centuries, had considerable political, religious and commercial importance, thanks to its strategic position in the Mediterranean.

The most powerful city together with Athens, Syracuse was the capital of the Byzantine kingdom in the mid-seventh century and one of the most fortified cities in Europe at the time of Charles V (XVI century).

Included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005, due to its evident cultural, architectural and artistic stratification, the city preserves memories of its ancient vestiges in every corner, including Classical, Medieval and Baroque splendours, in a truly fascinating scenario that combines three millennia of history.

Its name comes from the Siculian Syraka (which means "abundance of water") and the oldest urban nucleus is located in the small island called Ortigia, where there are still the remains of the Temple of Apollo, the oldest temple in Sicily dating back to 6th century BC, and the magnificent Temple of Athena of the fifth century BC, incorporated into the Cathedral dedicated to the Nativity of Mary during the Byzantine period. This monument is a wonder unique in the world, thanks to the architectural overlap of different styles, from the Classic to the Norman, up to the late Baroque. It preserves the precious silver statue of Saint Lucia, the Patroness of the City, brought in  procession on 13th December

Ortigia enchants with its alleys of Medieval origin (Via delle Maestranze), the imposing Castello Maniace, fortress of Byzantine origin (its name derives from the Byzantine general Giorgio Maniace) enlarged by Frederick II of Swabia; the elegant Palazzo Bellomo, an example of Swabian and Catalan architecture (13th-14th centuries), and seat of the Regional Gallery which preserves fine art collections; the residences in Gothic-Chiaramonte style (Palazzo Montalto), with the decorative exuberance of the Baroque monuments (Palazzo Vermexio, Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia) and Rococo (Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco, Palazzo Borgia del Casale, Palazzo Impellizzeri).

Partially rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693, which struck the area in the ​​south-eastern Sicily known as "Val di Noto", Syracuse was also one of the first place from where the Christianity spread to the West, as evidenced by the presence of the largest catacomb complex in the world (after Rome).

The city’s symbol is the nymph Arethusa (represented in the Fountain of Diana in Piazza Archimede and on the ancient Greek coins), from whom the romantic Fountain of fresh water, very close to the sea, takes its name. Around it, the "Cyperus Papyrus Linnaeus", a papyrus species, grows spontaneously. Do not miss the Papyrus Museum, inaugurated in 1989. In Ortigia it is also possible to visit the Butterfly House, one of the few structures in southern Italy where hundreds of tropical butterflies live, some of them are among the most beautiful in the world. In the historical center, housed in the fourteenth century Greek Palace, there is also the Inda Foundation (National Institute of Ancient Drama), which deals with the organization of classical performances at the Greek Theater, located in the Archaeological Park in the ancient district of Neapolis. The parks houses, in addition to the theater, also the Ara of Hierone II, the Roman Amphitheater, the latomìa called "Ear of Dionysius", and the Norman Church of San Nicolò dei Cordari, which has incorporated the so-called Roman swimming pool that was used as a water tank to fill the amphitheater.

Homeland of artists, philosophers and men of science, Syracuse is the birthplace also of Pythagoras and Archimedes. Between 1608 and 1609, Caravaggio lived there, escaping from Malta, and right here he painted the magnificent work "The Burial of Saint Lucia", kept in the church of Santa Lucia alla Badia in Piazza Duomo.

Sicilian P.G.I. Lemons

P.G.I. lemons from Sicily

Oranges from Sicily

Oranges from Sicily
Mappa Siracusa

Almond granita

Feast of Saint Lucia in Syracuse