Discovering Ortigia, the ancient Syracuse

Ortigia island, Sicily - Addler House Apartments

The island of Ortigia, located along the eastern coast of Sicily, near Syracuse, is certainly one of the most fascinating places in Sicily.

Just one square kilometer in size, it stands on the oldest part of Syracuse, so much so that it is considered the true historic center of the Sicilian city.

The island of Ortigia is only a few hundred meters from the mainland and is permanently connected by two bridges that can also be traveled by car. It is important to remember that many of the streets of the town are located within a large ZTL area (the limited traffic area), so many tourists prefer to visit Ortigia on foot or by public transport (there is a bus that runs around the island).

In this pearl set in beautiful Sicily, there are splendid buildings from various eras, which trace its history starting from the Greek period. In fact, we can admire the remains of some important Greek temples that testify to a historical moment in which the island was of great importance in the Mediterranean.

The most famous is the Temple of Athena, built in the 5th century BC. whose columns and stepped base are incorporated into the more modern Cathedral of Syracuse, built in the 17th century in full Baroque style.

This imposing building stands in the Piazza Duomo of the same name and represents one of the island’s major centers of interest.

Numerous religious buildings, including the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, a beautiful Baroque building that was once part of a convent of nuns and which now houses a splendid work of art by Caravaggio, the “Burial of Santa Lucia”.

Among the many beautiful architectural works to visit there is certainly Maniace Castle, which stands on the extreme tip of the island, built in a strategic position to monitor what was happening in the open sea.

Finally, among the things not to be missed, there is the Arethusa Spring, a mirror of fresh water that recalls a famous Greek myth. Papyrus plants grow here and that of Syracuse is one of the only two existing papyrus crops in Italy.

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