Hotel Bed and Breakfast Siracusa

Hotel B&B Siracusa

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Syracuse was founded in 734 b.C. by Greeks from Corinth where a Siculian-Phoenician place already existed and from 644 they founded the colonies of Akrai, Casmene and Camarina. In 485 Hielon, tyrant of Gela, seized power and started the expansion of the city towards the interior but in 466 the Syracusans rebelled against the tyranny and established a democratic regime. A long and bloody conflict arose later with Athens, whose fleet was defeated in 413 B.C.
After a period of democracy tyranny was restored to withstand Carthage that had already destroyed Selinunte and Agrigento. Dionysius, having concluded peace with Carthage, fortified the city that with Timoleon and Agathocles reached the height of its splendour. However, the danger from Carthage overhung for a long time and only in the reign of Hieron II did the city succeed in enjoying a period of peace. Syracuse was taken by siege in 212 B.C. and under the Romans its slow decline started.
Sacked by the Goths in 493 A.D., it was conquered in 535 by Belisarius and became part of the Byzantine empire. In 878 it fell under Muslim rule and the people sought refuge in Ortigia. In 1081 it passed to the Normans and in 1209 Frederick II made of it an invincible fortress, by building the Maniace Castle.
In the following centuries, Syracuse had a strategic role during the struggles between Angevins and Aragons and it fortified itself with defensive works: walls, fortresses and canals. Only after a series of negative events (the 1542 and 1693 earthquakes, the 1729 plague epidemic, the loss of the preminence role in favour of Noto) the city assumed the present urbanistic configuration.

Syracuse is one of the most famous Sicilian cities for its historical-artistic monuments. The old city occupied a larger area than the present one. The first nucleus was on the island of Ortigia but soon the city extended on the mainland where, around the 'agora', the flourishing quarter of Acradina developed to which Neapolis, where the Greek Theater stands, and Tyche, in the north-east, were added.
The rocky plateau where the Eurialo Castle stands was called 'Epipoleis'. In its southern part were the latomias, stone quarries that supplied the building material for the Syracusan monuments later transformed into luxuriant gardens.

Visit Syracuse

The Neapolis Archaeological Park in Syracuse. The Neapolis Archaeological Park in Syracuse, with its wide open spaces, provides the greatest accumulation of monuments representative of the old Greek city.

Regional Museum in Syracuse. It is one of the most important archaeology museums, fundamental for the knowledge of prehistory in Sicily and for its rich collections of Greek, Roman and early Christian finds.

Bellomo Palace in Syracuse.
Swabian building dating back to the 13th century and restructured in the 15th century, with the lower part and Gothic portal.

Santa Lucia Church in Syracuse. It dates back to the VIth century and it rises, according to the tradition, on the spot where the saint, patron of Syracuse, was martyrized in 304.

The Latomia dei Cappuccini in Syracuse. It can be reached through the enclosure of the 17th century church. It is very large and embellished with rich vegetation. Suggestive are the piers, the bridges and the different cuts of the rock.

The Roman Gymnasium in Syracuse. Monumental complex dating back to the 1st century A.D. consisting of a quadriportico, a temple and a theatre. The quadriportico enclosed a large square with the marble temple in the middle on a high base. The west side of the temple constituted the architectonal perspective of the theatre stage, of which the lower steps of the cavea and the orchestra remain.

The Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore in Syracuse. It is placed near Piazza della Vittoria (Vittoria square). The ruins regard the wall of the sacred enclosure, the place of the altar and other things, with Vth-IVth century b.C. clay statuettes.

The Vigna Cassia Catacombs in Syracuse. This is a large cemetery where three catacombs and numerous graves are dug: The Marcia Catacomb (4th century) with a long gallery with multiple graves. The Saint Diego Catacomb (3rd - 4th century), the oldest one with galleries characterized by burial niches and little rotundas that lead, through the narrow tunnel of a Greek aqueduct, into the Saint Maria di Gesù Catacomb (3rd - 4th century).

Aretusa Fountain in Syracuse. Famous fresh water spring linked with the oldest origins of the town and celebrated in antiquity by Pindar and Virgil, it gushes out plentiful in a pitoresque basin planted with papyri. According to the myth the nymph Arethusa, in order to escape from the river Alpheus, threw herself into the sea from the coasts of Helide and reappeared in the shape of a spring; but Alpheus reached her and mingled its own waters with hers.
A spring of fresh water, 'occhio della Zillica' (Zillicàs eye), flowing at a short distance into the harbour would represent Alpheus. The present arrangement inside a circular basin dates to 1843.

Syracuse Cathedral. It was erected in the VIth century on the Doric temple af Athena (Vth century b.C.). The Baroque facade was designed by A.Palmain 1724. The statues of St.Peter and St.Paul on the flight of steps and those one on the facade are Marabittìs work. The inside with a nave and two aisles was obtained by closing the spaces between the columns of the ancient temple and by getting the nave from the cella.
Worth seeing, beside, the statue of St.Lucy (1600) by P.Rizzo laid on a plinth with bas-reliefs by Gagini, the 'Madonna della Neve' (Our Lady of the snow)by the same Gagini and 'S.Zosimo' attributed to Antonello da Messina.

San Giovanni Church in Syracuse. It is built on the crypt of San Marciano (first bishop of Syracuse) where according to the tradition St.Paul preached during his stay in Syracuse. It is considered the first Christian church erected in Sicily and it contains medieval and XVIIth century frescoes. Under the church lie the San Giovanni catacombs, a IVth-Vth century extensive underground necropolis, 13 Km long, with a lot of round crypts and burial niches.

Beneventano del Bosco Palace in Syracuse. Beneventano Palace rebuilt by L.Alì

Montalto Palace in Syracuse. Montalto Palace with Gothic facade and mullioned and double mullioned windows.

Vermexio Palace in Syracuse. Vermexio Palace with ruins of a VIth century b.C. Ionic temple, now the city hall. It was planned by Giovanni Vermexio in 1630. More neo-classical than baroque it was conceived as a real city hall.

Maniace Castle in Syracuse. It rises at the extremity of Ortigia island; it is called after the Byzantine general who in 1038 reconquered Syracuse, but its building is due to Frederick II of Swabia.
It has the XIIIth century square plan structure with cylindrical corner towers. The Gothic portal and a double mullioned window on the side facing the sea are remarkable

Eurialo Castle in Syracuse. Eurialo Castle, stands on the table-land of the Epipoleis with its keep and enclosure. It is a beautiful military work of the Greek age, erected by Dionysius from 402 to 397 to defend the Carthaginians. Under the castle a system of underground structures extends through tunnels used for the surprise moving of troops, cisterns for water supply and colossal ventilating and lighting shafts. A little antiquarium collected finds from the excavations of the castle, among which two colossal lion head gargoyle. These can now be found in the Archeological Museum.

Villa Landolina in Siracusa. There is a latomia that includes the 'Protestant Cementery' where the German poet August Von Platen, dead in Syracuse in 1835 is buried. The latomia contains also a group of pagan sepulchres re-used in Christian times. Not far from it there is the Istituto Siracusano del papiro (the papyrus Institute) for the study of this rare plant and of the particular technique used by the Egyptians for making paper.

Itineraries in Syracuse

Ortigia Island Itinerary. It is the leaving heart of the old Syracuse and it is advisable to visit it on foot, better in the evening, in order to be able to admire the charachteristic narrow streets lit by wrought iron lamp and to taste the local dishes in a typical restourant.
TO SEE: Piazza Pancali (Pancali square), Ponte Nuovo (Nuovo gate), Temple of Apollo or of Artemis, Piazza Archimede (Archimede square), Piazza Duomo (Duomo square), Galleria Regionale di Palazzo Bellomo, Castello Maniace (Maniace castle), Fonte Aretusa.

Panoramic Itinerary. TO SEE: Viale Rizzo, Panoramic road skirting the Greek archaeological area, S.Giovanni Catacombs, Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Lacrime, Museo Regionale (Regional Museum), The Church of S.Lucia al Sepolcro.

Belvedere Itinerary. TO SEE: Dionysius'walls, Eurialo Castle (panoramic view of the whole city), 7 km. on the road to Canicattì Bagni as far as the Ciane Spring, Temple of Olympian Iupiter

Archaeological Itinerary. The visit foresees a long walk through the Neapolis Archaeological park.
TO SEE: Syracuse Forum, Roman Gymnasium, Hieron Iìs Altar, Roman Amphitheatre, the Greek Theatre, latomie del Paradiso, latomie dell'Intagliatella, latomie di S. Venera, Grotticelli Necropolis.

Medieval Itinerary. TO SEE: Via della Maestranza with antique buildings, Baroque Church of S.Francesco or the Vergin (Immacolata), Via V.Veneto called Mastrarna with baroque buildings with balconies on characteristic corbels, The baroque Church of S.Filippo Neri, Palazzo Interlandi, Palazzo Bongiovanni, Carmine Church, Early Christian Church/auditorium of San Pietro, Palazzo Abela, The little Church of S.Tommaso.

How Syracuse can be reached

From CATANIA, Taormina, Agrigento, Palermo, by car.
From CATANIA, Taormina, Agrigento, Palermo, by train
From ITALY by sea by Catania.
From MALTA by sea by Pozzallo.
From the main land and the rest of the world by plane via Catania.
Fontanarossa Airport is 60 km from Siracusa and has national and international connections.

Events and manifestations in Siracusa


Feste San Michele Siracusa (2010-05-07)

Dal/From -> 2010-05-07 Al/To -> 2010-05-12
San Michele
7/12 may: San Michele's feast
B&B AgorÓ

Municipalities of Siracusa:

Buccheri Buscemi Canicattini bagni Cassaro
Ferla Lentini Palazzolo acreide Siracusa

Part of the information regarding the history, the art, the traditions and the events about the city of on this page is drawn from respecting the GNU Free Documentation License.