7 Sights You MUST See on a trip to Syracuse, Sicily

Have you been thinking of a vacation to the beautiful island of Sicily?

If so, you would be remised not to visit and take in all there is to see in the ancient city of Syracuse.

Syracuse is a beautiful city with an abundance of incredible architecture, azure waters, and of course, delicious local cuisine!

If you want to experience a beautiful Sicilian city and get transported back in time, Syracuse is a must-visit.

To help you decide what to see when you visit, here are 7 of our must-see sights:

 

1. Neapolis Archaeological Park – The Greek Theatre

If you’ve thought about Syracuse, this is probably the attraction you thought about coming to see. At 138 metres wide, it is the largest Greek theatre in Sicily and has hosted many legendary plays since it was built in 470BC. Best of all, there are still performances there today, so if you time your visit right you’ll be able to sit and watch a play just as people did over a thousand years ago.

2. Neapolis Archaeological Park – Ear of Dionysius

The Ear of Dionysius is the most famous cave in Syracuse and is called “the ear” due to its shape and acoustic properties. The shape of the cave means that sounds inside are amplified. According to mythology, the tyrant Dionysus confined his prisoners to the cave and listened in on their conversations. If you want to experience a piece of mythology for yourself, you need to take a walk inside the Ear of Dionysius.

ear of dionysius


3. Cathedral of Syracuse and Piazza Duomo

Piazza Duomo (the Square) in Ortigia Island is perhaps the most beautiful Baroque piazza in the whole of Sicily, and the Cathedral of Syracuse that dominates the square is just as breath-taking. The cathedral was built under the instruction of Saint Bishop Zosimo of Syracuse in the 7th century and became a world heritage site in 2005. Before it was built, there was an ancient Temple of Athena on the site, the columns of which can still be seen within the cathedral.


4. The Fountain of Arethusa

Just a short walk from the cathedral is an ancient spring where water still flows up just as it did in ancient times when it was the city’s main water supply. Legend says that the fountain is where the nymph Arethusa, the patron of Syracuse, returned to earth after escaping her undersea home in Arcadia. The fountain is a beautiful pool full of papyrus plants and is absolutely worth seeing.


5. The Weeping Madonna of Syracuse

The Weeping Madonna of Syracuse is a must-see for all. It is a plaster sculpture of the Immaculate Heart of Mary mass-produced in Tuscany and shipped to Syracuse where it was purchased as a wedding gift. After it hung for a time in the couple’s home, it unexpectedly shed tears for four days. A church was built on the site and now contains the sculpture, crypts, chapels, icons, and more.


6. L’Antico Lavatoio – The Old Wash House

The Old Wash House on the seafront in Ortigia is a hidden gem, concealed under the ground below a restaurant. The restaurant staff will let you go down to see the beautiful cave with crystal blue waters flowing through the cave. Until the 1950s, the Old Wash House was used by washerwomen to clean clothes because the water is fresh, not salty. You’ll only be able to visit if you’re brave enough to ask a local or go into the restaurant, so make sure you find it!


7. Fountain of Diana in Syracuse

Not to be confused with the Fountain of Diana in the Louvre in Paris, this one just as impressive! The fountain was created by Giulio Moschetti in 1907 and can be found in the Piazza Archimede in Ortigia. While fountains now are often made in concrete, it was considered very experimental and avant-garde at the time. It beautiful both day and night, so it’s well worth a visit no matter what time you want to go.


Recommended Tours

 

How to get to Syracuse ?

From Catania airport:

  • By car: Highway E45 et SS114 – Travel time: 50 min
  • By bus: Every hour from Monday to Saturday.  6 buses on Sunday – Travel time: 1 hr 15

From Catania Central Train station:

  • By train: Every day – Travel time: 1 hr 55 min (multiple stops)
  • By bus: Every hour from Monday to Saturday.  6 buses on Sunday – Travel time: 1 hr 15 – Bus area is across the road on the other side of the round-about from the train station – Entrance is at the corner of Via Archimede and Viale della libertà.

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