Syracuse is one of the oldest cities in Italy. It was founded in 734 BC by Archia, an exile from Corinth. Probably the name derives from the Sicilian Siraka, literally plenty of water, for the presence of many waterways.
As you can easily imagine ,for its long history and the wealth of its historical evidences, it is physically impossible to visit Syracuse in one day, so we focused on a possible goal: visit the Archaeological Park and the Archaeological Museum Paolo Orsi.
As for the rest of Sicily, even in Syracuse a car is essential for getting around, due to the chronic lack of public transportation. We suggest you try to park the car in the area between the Archaeological Park and the Archaeological Museum, between Viale Teocrito and the area adjacent to the Catacombs of San Giovanni, in order to find it easily again at the end of the tour.
Just after parking and taking a good coffee ,we headed to the Archaeological park. It is open daily from 9:00 to 18:00. We advise you to visit the Park during the cooler hours of the day (the sun at this latitude does not forgive, particularly in the summer).
We head for the Archaeological Park through Viale Teracati. After Viale Teracati we reach Via Paradiso, the road that cuts through the park. On the left, after the entrance to the Roman Amphitheater, you can find the Ticket Office to buy tickets for entrance to the Park or combinations with a visit to other sites.
Of course we took the combined ticket with the visit to the Museum Paolo Orsi.
Archaeological Park Ticket € 10.00, reduced (18-25 years) € 5.00
Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum ticket € 8,00 – reduced € 4.00
Cumulative ticket Archaeological Park and Museum “Paolo Orsi” € 13.50 – reduced € 7.00
Cumulative ticket Archaeological Park and Villa Tellaro € 12.00 – reduced € 6.00
Cumulative ticket Archaeological Park and Galleria Bellomo € 13.50 – reduced € 7.00
Cumulative ticket Archaeological Park, Museum P.Orsi, Bellomo Gallery and Villa Tellaro € 24.00 – € 12.00 reduced
The Archaeological Site contains numerous evidences through various historical periods. We start our visit from the most impressive and representative monument: the Greek Theatre. Here you can still enjoy the classical plays, so if you come between mid May and the end of June, you will find the stages during your visit.
The Theater retains much of the Auditorium, carved into the rock of the hill Temenite with 67 orders of steps. The other part and the temples that stood on the summit, over the centuries have often been used as a building material in particular under Spanish Rule that made Syracuse a fortified city.
Our visit continues with the Latomies of Paradise (stone caves) in which we can visit the Ear of Dionysius, a S-shaped cave with a particular acoustics that amplifies the noise. According to legend, the tyrant Dionysius locked up his enemies and he listened to the speeches thanks to the acoustics.
Very close we find the Grotta dei Cordari, carved into the rock.
If we look at the ceiling and walls we can still see the cuts of mining.
The name is due to the activities of craftsmen in the cave until a few years ago used to make the hemp ropes thanks to the natural moisture, following a tradition that has spanned the centuries.
Exiting from the Latomies, walking back to the Entrance of the park, we see the Altar of Hieron which, like the Tombs Alley on top of the Greek Theater, is closed to the public for years.
Then, walking again towards the Exit, we find the Roman Amphitheatre and the church of San Nicola ai Cordari, belonging to the Norman period. The park is placed where it is believed to be the tomb of Archimedes, but is only visible from the outside through the fence . So we decide to go and see it along the fence.
Once in front of the Tomb of Archimedes we go to the Archaeological Museum, cutting through the buildings that surround the Catacombs of St. John which can be visited daily from 9:30 to 12:30 and from 14:30 to 17:30.
In the immediate vicinity you can sit to eat a Packet Lunch or stop at one of the restaurants around.
Not far from here, just in front of the futuristic Sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna delle Lacrime, is the entrance to the Archaeological Museum Paolo Orsi.
The museum is open every day from Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00 to 18:00 and Sunday from 9:00 to 13:00. Here are kept finds from all sites of eastern Sicily relating to a period ranging from prehistory to the neoclassical.