Try to imagine Siracusa‘s story as a huge padded sandwich where every layer represents a historic period marked by the domination of different civilizations.

Here, tourists are made aware that artwork is not private property or an object of individual contemplation, but is the product of complex relationships that relate to social, historical and religious spheres. Syracuse is famous for its exceptional layers of cultures which has led to its being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We will take two strolls, the first begins from Ortigia Island. Considered the heart of the city, it owes its name to the particular shape of a quail (in Greek Ortughìa means island of the quails). As a starting point, I chose the Fonte Aretusa where the ducks play hide-and-seek among the papyras along with the mascots, typical fish of this area that the locals call fouls. The Fonte Artusa is also called Fontana delle Papere and its peculiarity is that while it is flowing near the sea it is fed by a spring of fresh water. Do not forget that Syracuse gave birth to Archimedes in 287 a. c., the great scholar of mathematics and physics, who made outstanding discoveries still studied today, including the famous Archimedes principle that helps us understand how bodies float in water. Next, we arrive at Castle Maniace. This castle was built in the first half of the XIII century by Frederick II of Svevia. Walking along the Levante promenade, we then arrive at Palazzo Bellomo, which houses the Regional Gallery of Medieval and Modern Art.

The building was built in two distinct eras as you can see by taking a look at the building’s exterior. The ground floor was built in 1200 and the first floor in 1400. Exiting from the museum we go to Piazza Duomo, which occupies the highest peak of Ortigia and was always considered a sacred area in which religious rituals were practiced and temples were built by the Greeks. . In the town square, we find the Cathedral, the church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, palaces of the eighteenth century, the Archbishop’s Palace, the National Museum of Archeology and the Senate Palace. If you are an avid explorerer, you will also want to visit the Ipogeo, an underground passage from Piazza Duomo to the Marina. After leaving the square, we pass from via Landolina where we can admire the monumental and baroque façade of the church of the College which owes its name to the adjoining Jesuit Fellowship. We then arrive at Piazza Archimede, built in the second half of 1800 and surrounded by some noble palaces with the center of the great fountain dedicated to Diana, Alfeo and Aretusa, built in the early twentieth century in memory of the famous legend.

Arriving to via Largo Luglio XXV, we can admire what remains of the Temple of Apollo built in the 6th century BC. and considered the oldest of Doric temples throughout the West. Afterwards, we dive into the local scene making a slight deviation to the nearby Trento market. Our stroll of Ortigia is about to end, but before that, we will pass the Foro Italico, built in 1836 and called the “Marina” along the Porto Grande tourist harbor.

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