Siracusa lies on the south-east coast of Sicily, the perfect setting for your next holiday. It is perhaps best known for its history as the legendary Greek city of Syracuse, an important tactical port dating back to 700 BC. Once one of the most powerful city-states in the western world, Siracusa is now a charming town popular with tourists for its rich cultural ancestry. Much of the town’s historical centre is on the island of Ortigia and can be visited by travellers looking to soak in the town’s history. Siracusa is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and its location in the southeast of Sicily means it is a popular base for travellers looking to explore the rest of the island.
Siracusa’s mild Mediterranean climate means that the town is a popular tourist destination year-round, with highs of 32oC in summer and 17oC in the coldest months. Aside from its historical sites, Siracusa has plenty of culture for visitors to indulge in, whether that be sampling the delights of its world-class restaurants and bars or relaxing on one of its many beaches.
The beautiful town of Noto in the south-east Sicily is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its Baroque architecture. The original settlement was devastated by 1693 earthquake and a new town was built a few kilometres away, giving rise to the Noto of today. Noto was rebuilt in a style that is the very definition of Sicilian Baroque architecture. The best way to experience the town is to simply take a wander through its streets, as the beautiful golden buildings are a stunning tourist attraction in themselves. Narrow side streets and alleys reminiscent of Rome and Florence hide cafés and restaurants that sometimes don’t appear on maps, so get yourself lost to find some hidden gems. Some more grand attractions include the 18th century Duomo and the Palazzo Ducezio. The Palazzo’s Hall of Mirrors is a sight worth seeing and includes a collection of intricate 19th-century frescoes.
Modica is a town in the southeast of Sicily, famous for its UNESCO-listed Baroque architecture and gourmet Aztec-style chocolate. Its location high in the Monti Iblei mountain range offers incredible views over the Sicilian countryside. Modica has two stunning Baroque cathedrals. The Duomo di San Giorgio is the most popular tourist attraction of the two, described as one of the seven wonders of the Baroque world. The Chiesa Rupestre di San Nicoló is a unique church in the town, built in a cave and decorated with Byzantine wall paintings. Antica Dolceria Bonajuto was founded in 1880 and is the town’s most famous chocolatier, offering tours of the factory to learn more about how Modican chocolate is made and you can try some too!
The city of Catania sits just north of Siracusa along the east coast of Sicily in the shadow of the towering Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. Traditionally Catania has been a point for adventurous hikers to scale the volcano, but tourist developments are beginning to appear in the area and it’s becoming increasingly popular. Most of Catania’s tourist attractions are based on its diverse cultural ancestry. The influence of Sicilian Baroque architecture can be seen around the town, particularly at the grand Palazzo Biscari. There is a Roman Theatre on Via Vittorio Emanuele and an Amphitheatre in Piazza Stesicoro, both of which are almost 2000 years old. If you’re looking to climb Etna, guided tours are led from the town to the peak on days when the volcano’s activity is low. If you prefer not to get too close, you can access lower altitudes by public transport.
Explore the historic ruins
Most of Siracusa’s shopping and bars are on the island of Ortigia, but the most exciting sights are on the mainland. The most impressive sight in Siracusa is the Neapolis Archaeological Park. Here you’ll find attractions such as the ancient Greek Theatre cut right into the rock, where Greek plays are still performed in May and June. There is also the Roman Amphitheatre, an overgrown theatre that is missed by most tourists. In the Latomia del Paradiso quarry, the vegetation is lush and green, and hidden among the lemon trees is the famous Ear of Dionysus, a huge cave thought to be used by Dionysus, the ancient ruler of Syracuse, to spy on prisoners.
Brave the Catacombs of San Giovanni
The Catacombs of San Giovanni are a sprawling underground necropolis housing the remains of Siracusa’s Christian community. The catacombs are a haunting place to visit, with almost 10,000 bodies buried in its winding corridors. Unlike other catacombs in Siracusa, San Giovanni is open to the public so is a great way to appreciate Sicily’s past. Near the catacombs, you’ll also find the archaeological museum, definitely worth a visit while you’re in Siracusa.
Relax on one of Siracusa’s many beaches
Aside from its historical attractions, Siracusa boasts over 100 km of coastline with some of the most beautiful beaches in Sicily. Beaches such as Cala Mosche are quiet and untamed, while those such as Avola are the most tourist-friendly with sunbeds, parasols and beach bars for a refreshing glass of granita. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to find your perfect beach on your holiday in Siracusa.
Sicilian cuisine is built on a classic Mediterranean base with Arab, Greek and French influences due to its diverse cultural ancestry. The dishes of Sicily feature freshly-caught fish and locally-grown fruit and vegetables, so fresh that they don’t need to rely on sauces and seasoning to taste great.
Siracusa’s location on the coast means that seafood is a strong feature of many Siracusa menus, but you’ll find plenty of Sicilian classics across the town that are sure to tickle your taste buds. Sicilia in Tavola is a tourist favourite, serving delicious Italian-inspired dishes that pair well with the local wines on offer. For a more casual meal, try Samovar, a café that sells delicious light bites and pastries throughout the day, perfect for a quick break between exploring the rest of the town.
With easyJet holidays, you’re guaranteed great deals on travel and accommodation for your holiday to Siracusa, with even more savings when you book your hotel and travel together. For a no-fuss booking experience and a brand you can trust, choose easyJet holidays for your getaway to Sicily this summer.