Siracusa

Travel Guide Europe Italy Sicily Siracusa

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Introduction

Amphitheatre, Syracusa

Amphitheatre, Syracusa

© SEINGRU

Siracusa, situated on the southeastern coastline of Sicily, Italy, was heavily involved in the war between Athens and Sparta at the time of the Greek city states. Now it has a wealth of Greek and Roman remains to display to visitors.

Syracuse is an interesting mixture of ancient and modern. Syracuse is a pleasant town, with plenty to see for tourists and to spend there a couple of days.

Roman writer Cicero once described the Greek Syracuse as "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all." It's famously associated with master mathematician Archimedes, who died here. There is a well known archaeological zone and a historic centre on the island of Ortygia (Ortigia).

It's also a good area for seeing the south-eastern corner of Sicily, including the Baroque towns of Ragusa and Noto, several archaeological sites, and the lively city of Catania. "Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica" have been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

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Sights and Activities

The city of Siracusa, together with the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica, is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Some of the main sights include:

  • Ortygia - a separate island connected by a bridge. This is the oldest part of Siracusa and the cathedral is located here - as is the Tourist Office.
  • Regional Archeological Museum
  • Archaeological Park - a must-see area that includes a Greek theatre, a Roman amphitheatre and the so-called Paradise Quarries.

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Events and Festivals

  • Eschilo - Sette Contro Tebe (Seven Against Thebes), 6 May - 25 June.
  • Euripide - Fenicie (Phoenician), 6 May - 25 June.
  • Aristofane - Rane (Frogs), 29 June - 9 July.

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Weather

Siracusa has a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and mild but wetter winters. Average daytime temperatures ranges from around 15 or 16 °C from December to February to around 33 °C during July and August. Average minimum temperatures are ranging between 4 °C in January and February to 18 degrees Celsius during July and August. Under specific conditions, when winds blow directly from Africa, temperatures can be much higher though, over 40 °C during the day and even nights around 28 °C are not unheard of. While summers are almost completely dry, most of the rain falls between October and March.
Frost and snow are very rare.

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Getting There

By Plane

Siracusa hasn't got its own airport, the nearest one is at Catania. For more details about that airport, have a look at the getting there by plane sections in the Catania article. Interbus offers direct services to Siracusa from Catania Airport.

By Train

Direct trains run along the coast from Messina eight times a day (2 hrs 30), via Taormina-Giardini and Catania.
There are two or three direct trains daily from Rome (11 hours) via Naples (9 hours) and the Straits ferry.
There are five train connections a day from Palermo via Enna and Catania (4 hrs 30). Connections via Messina take 7 hours.
Six regional trains run Mon-Sat via Noto, Pozzallo (one hour; for the ferry to Malta), Modica and Ragusa (two hours) to Gela. No Sunday service.

By Bus

Intercity bus hub, Corso Umberto, 196 (next to the railway station). Regular bus connections with Catania, Noto, Modica, Ragusa and Gela other destinations nearby provided by Interbus and A.S.T.. There are also daily buses to Palermo (Interbus), and long distance ones towards Messina, Naples and Rome (Bus Ticket and Sais Trasporti).

Some regional buses (Interbus, etc) make a number of stops in the city, so check with their website if one of them would be more suitable. Tickets for this particular buses can also be bought on board.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

AST provides most of urban bus services in the city.

By Foot

The centre of town is easily visitable on foot - the island of Ortygia contains most of the sights, and is compact and pleasant for strolling. The archaeological area is about 25 minutes' walk away from the island.

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Drink

There are many night clubs along the coastline on the Alfeo Promenade. Some have dance floors on the beach so that you can dance under the moonlight.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Almost all towns and cities in Italy have internet cafes. A growing number of budget hostels and nicer hotels have free Wifi. By law all public-access internet points must keep records of web sites viewed by customers, and even the customer's ID: expect to be refused access if you don't provide identification. Hotels providing Internet access are not required to record IDs if the connection is provided in the guest's room, although if the connection is offered in the main public hall then IDs are required. Publicly available wireless access without user identification is illegal, so open Wi-Fi hotspots (like the ones you might expect to find in a mall or cafée) all have some form of (generally one-time) registration.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cellphones). Best advice is to buy a prepaid SIM card (from € 10 upwards) and a cheap mobile phone (€ 19 upwards) to put it in (if you don't have a cellphone already that you can use). It will be much more practical. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113 (police), 115 (fire), 118 (health) can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone.

Post

Post Italiane is the national postal services of Italy and has quite an efficient network of postal offices and reliable postal services. Standard letters and postcards (up to 20 grams) cost €0.39 to send within Europe and the Mediterranean countries outside Europe and €0.41 to all other destinations throughout the country. Up to 50 grams, prices start at €0.52 for Europe, €0.62 for other areas. Packages start at €1.55 within Europe, and around €2.50 for other countries. Post office business hours in Italy are from 8:30am to 2:00pm from Monday to Friday, with closing times at Saturday and the last day of the month at 12 noon. In general, larger post offices in bigger cities and in tourist areas keep longer hours than those in local towns. Also note that business hours in the south might be different than the north, with longer hours at night, especially in summer! If you want to send packages you might try faster and more reliable/efficient private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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This is version 15. Last edited at 15:44 on Mar 27, 18 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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