Syracuse (or Siracusa in Italian) is truly a province of excellence. Ancient Greek ruins rise out of lush citrus orchards, cafe tables spill onto dazzling Baroque piazzas and honey-hued Medieval side streets lead down to the sparkling blue sea. In its heyday, Syracuse was the largest city in the ancient world, bigger even than Athens and Corinth!
Syracuse's "once upon a time" begins in 734 BC, when Corinthian colonists landed on the island of Ortygia (Ortigia in Italian) and founded the settlement, setting up the mainland city four years later. Its vast archaeological site, on the edge of the modern city, is a rare treasure of temples, amphitheaters and an ancient castle. It is difficult to find a corner of the world that contains such a high concentration of quality culture, history and landscape as this splendid part of Southeast Sicily.
Indeed, it is not an accident that, within just three years, two historical sites in the territory were included in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. But beautiful architecture and thought-provoking historic sites and not all Syracuse has to offer. The region is renowned for its agricultural tradition, with unique products including Nero d’Avola wine and the special Moscato wine from Noto.
A special word on the Island of Ortygia
The historic island of Ortygia in the province of Syracuse is a labyrinth of ancient and Medieval streets and the area makes for a delightful cultural visit on your personalized Sicily vacation. Ortygia was a center of Greek, Byzantine and Judaic civilization, and physical evidence of these three cultures can still be seen today, making Ortygia a fascinating place to visit for anybody curious about the historic patrimony we have inherited from classical mythology, early Christianity and Medieval Judaism.