Ortigia, Syracuse

Ortygia, the original settlement and historic center of the city, is currently the most fascinating and evocative part of Syracuse, to which it is connected by three bridges. Since the most ancient times, the island was considered a suitable place for settlements being rich in springs, such as the Fountain of Arethusa. A spontaneous papyrus, the only one in Europe, grows in this fountain located a few meters from the sea as it does along Fiumefreddo River.

The first settlements date back to the Bronze Age, but it was during the Greek era that the island became the religious and political center of the ancient city of Syracuse with the construction of numerous temples. The Temple of Apollo, the only Doric temple in Sicily, dating back to the early sixth century BC, stands out among the major monuments of the Greek era. Continuing on to the heart of the island we reach the beautiful Piazza Duomo, where Baroque buildings with light-colored walls overlook a white paved road, conveying the sensation of being immersed in a picture of light and harmony upon visitors. The majestic Cathedral, built in late Baroque style on the ruins of the ancient Temple of Athena, dominates the buildings. At the end of the island, finally, stands the Maniace Castle, a defensive fortification built by Giorgio Maniace in 1038; it later became the residence of Frederick II of Swabia and underwent numerous changes over the years.

Visiting Ortygia also means getting lost in its narrow streets, visiting the numerous shops and immersing yourself in the ancient market’s flavors and colors, a must for those who wish to enjoy the typical Sicilian atmosphere fully. The neighborhood comes to life in the evening thanks to clubs, pubs, and restaurants scattered along its ancient alleys.

Monuments of interest

  • Duomo di Siracusa (Syracuse Cathedral)
  • Chiesa di San Giovannello (Church of Saint John the Baptist)
  • Chiesa di San Martino (Church of St. Martin)
  • Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia Church of St. Lucy at the Abbey)
  • Chiesa dello Spirito Santo (Church of the Holy Spirit)
  • Chiesa di San Cristoforo (Church of St. Christopher)
  • Chiesa di San Filippo apostolo (Church of St. Philip the Apostle)
  • Chiesa di San Filippo Neri (Church of San Filippo Neri)
  • Chiesa di San Francesco all'Immacolata (Church of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception)
  • Chiesa di San Giorgio ai Miracoli (Church of St. George of the Miracles)
  • Chiesa di San Giuseppe (Church of St. Joseph)
  • Chiesa di San Paolo apostolo (Church of St. Paul the Apostle)
  • Chiesa di Santa Maria della Concezione (Church of Our Lady of the Conception)
  • Tempio di Apollo (Temple of Apollo)
  • Tempio di Atena (Temple of Athena)
  • Tempio di Artemide (Temple of Artemis)
  • Palazzo del Vermexio (Vermexio Palace)
  • Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco (Benevento del Bosco Palace)
  • Palazzo Arezzo della Targia (Arezzo della Targia Palace)
  • Palazzo dei Mergulensi-Montalto (Mergulensi-Montalto Palace)
  • Palazzo Arcivescovile (Archbishops’s Palace)
  • Palazzo Chiaramonte (Chiaramonte Palace)
  • Palazzo Bongiovanni (Bongiovanni Palace)
  • Palazzo Impellizzeri (Impellizzeri Palace)
  • Palazzo Montalto (Montalto Palace)
  • Palazzo Lanza Bucceri (Lanza Bucceri Palace)
  • Palazzo Greco (The Greek Palace)
  • Palazzo Borgia del Casale (Borgia del Casale Palace)
  • Palazzo Zumbo (Zumbo Palace)
  • Palazzo Steri Magno (Steri Magno Palace)
  • Palazzo Bufardeci (Bufardeci Palace)
  • Palazzo delle poste (Post Office Palace)
  • Palazzo Gargallo (Gargallo Palace)
  • Palazzo della Sovrintendenza ai Beni Culturali della Provincia di Siracusa (Palace of the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage of the Province of Syracuse)
  • Castello Maniace (Maniace Castle)
  • Castello Marieth (Marieth Castle)
  • Antico Mercato (Ancient Market)
  • Fontana di Artemide (Fountain of Artemis)
  • Fonte Aretusa (Fountain of Arethusa)
  • Fontana di Diana (Fountain of Diana)
  • Fontana degli Schiavi (Fountain of the Slaves)
  • Piazza Archimede (Archimedes Square)
  • Piazza Duomo (Duomo Square)
  • Porta Urbica (Urbica Gate)
  • Porta Marina (Marina Gate)
  • Ponte Umbertino (Humbertine Bridge)

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