Siracusa and it’s surrounding area can be visited in two ways.
The first, quickest and the most classic, is staying there a few days and visit the most famous monuments, which have made it UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
Instead we have chosen the second option and decided to stay one week and go to the discovery of the South East and its hidden gems.
Once arrived at Catania Airport, we took the car we had rented and we headed to Ortigia.
Our apartment is located in the heart of the island, just a few steps from Piazza del Duomo and Piazza Archimede. With two large bedrooms, a living room with sofa bed and a fully equipped kitchen, Sirhouse proved to be perfect for the needs of our family. We also had invaluable tips from the owner who made us discover delicious local restaurants and charming corners off the beaten track.
In the first two days we discovered the Island and its narrow alleys and courtyards, adorned with wrought iron balconies and stone facades decorated by master Craftsmen of the 18th century. Piazza Duomo, with its Cathedral, one of a kind, with its baroque facade and the greek columns inside are the essence of this Land, rich in vestiges that testify to the passage of so many rulers over the centuries.
Continuing along Via Pompeo Picherali, we reach the Arethusa Spring, famous for its myth of the love of Alpheus for the nymph Arethusa who is lost in the mists of time. A special feature is the papyrus plant, which yields a very fine paper, which grows only here and in Egypt.
A few steps from here we have the Lungomare Alfeo, where we enjoyed a spectacular view of the harbour and the hills that can be seen in the distance. We took advantage of one of the many bars to freshen up a bit ‘and enjoy a fiery red sunset, which tell us to be typical of this city.
The next day we visit the Archaeological Park of Neapolis.
Inside is the Greek Theater, the Ear of Dionysius, the Roman Amphitheatre, the Grotta dei cordari and the Latomies of Paradise. Visit this green park was an incredible experience, like stepping back in time.
After a break for lunch, crossing Viale Teracati, we headed to the church of St. John, to visit the Catacombs, the largest in the world, after those of Rome. Within this underground city, built by the first Catholics to escape the persecution of the Romans, we find the crypt of St. Marcian, Bishop of Syracuse.
The fourth day is dedicated to the sea and to discover the most beautiful beaches of the province of Syracuse. Driving South towards Pachino, we find Eloro, just outside Noto, Calamosche, Vendicari, San Lorenzo, Marzamemi, Portopalo and Capo Passero, Isola delle Correnti the extreme tip of South Eastern Sicily. After swimming in the crystal clear sea, surrounded by wild nature, on the way back we decided to stop in Noto.
This town, the capital of Sicilian Baroque, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. The Cathedral, palazzo Ducezio, the Church of San Domenico and Palazzo Nicolaci, are the most important monuments that overlook the main street of the village. Before leaving, however, is a must for a refreshment to stop at Caffè Sicilia, to taste the specialties of Maestro Corrado Assenza.
Syracuse and its territory are not only famous for the sea and beaches. Even the Inland has very important natural Areas, such as Cava Grande del Cassibile, with its famous lakes or Pantalica with its 5,000 tombs carved into the rock.
Very interesting are also the Villages of the Hyblaean Plateau, which still bear witness to an agricultural past, untouched nature and typical products of excellence such as olive oil, honey, ricotta and cheese.
We spent a whole day in this area by visiting Acreide Palazzolo, with its Greek Theatre and its many churches with their saints still revered and celebrated, especially during the summer. We then headed to Buscemi, the town museum, with the places of rural work, a real surprise to us, that reconstruct the life, habits and customs of a past that in this place not only do not want to forget, but rather enhance and maintain over time.
BUSCEMI paese museo 2 from francesco sole on Vimeo.
We decided to pass the last day of holiday in relax, without moving much.
In the morning we went to the Market of Ortigia to buy the typical products we tasted during this week to bring us the tastes and smells of this wonderful land. Shortly after we decided to go visit the protected marine area of Plemmirio, which extends between the Maddalena Peninsula, Cape Murro di Porco and Punta Castelluccio. The depths of this coast, rich in endemic flora and fauna, are well suited to diving and snorkeling, for both experts and beginners, and will remain forever in our memories of this holiday is coming to an end.
Recommend it to anyone who wants a to spend a holiday in this area to take the proper time to get familiar with the sights, tastes and authentic landscapes of an authentic Sicily , which is waiting to be discovered and lived 365 days a year.