If you have just a few days to visit Siracusa, Sicily, a good planning is what you need. There are plenty of archaeological and cultural sites, so here are few useful hints.
If you are coming by car park it in the port area close to the Sant’Antonio dock, and walk towards the Ortigia island, the true heart of Siracusa. After the Umbertino Bridge you will find in front of you the magnificent Apollo Temple.
On the left side of the temple there is the traditional Ortigia Market, which is held every morning but Sunday: don’t miss your chance to dive into the fragrance of seasonal fruit and fresh fish. Back to the Apollo Temple take Corso Matteotti which leads to Piazza Archimede where the Diana Fountain is located.
In the square keep on the left and take Via Roma. After a few hundreds metres on your left you will spot the Province Information Office – the only one in town – where you cold get some useful information about the scheduled shows and events. Keep going on Via Roma and on your right you will find the Minerva Temple, whose ancient columns are today embedded in the Siracusa Cathedral.
If you descend from Piazza Duomo you can continue towards the Aretusa Spring, a sweet water spring linked to the ancient legend of Aretusa and Alfeo: Alfeo, a Greek god, fell in love with Aretusa, who escaped him turning into a spring, but Zeus turned Alfeo into a river so he could cross the sea and join his loved one in Siracusa.
Keep going down and you will reach the seaside. In Piazza Federico di Svevia you will find the entrance for the Maniace Castle and since you are here you may enjoy some seafood for lunch, while in the afternoon I suggest you to visit the Pupi Museum or attend to a show with these typical Sicilian puppets.
During the morning you should take a walk in the wonderful Latomie dei Cappuccini – caves used as prisons in ancient times and now a fascinating garden dug underground – which are open until one o’clock. And ater your tour have a delicious arancino while overlooking the port of Siracusa from a terraced bar.
In the afternoon you may visit the huge Neapolis Archaeological Park which includes the ruins of Greek and Roman Siracusa, as the Greek Theatre, Dionisio’s Ear and the Roman Amphitheatre. A possible alternative in case of bad weather is the Archaeological Museum ‘Paolo Orsi’.
For your last day enjoy a guided tour to the striking San Giovanni Catacombs, and if you still have some time in the afternoon I recommend to take a boat trip around Ortigia, but don’t forget to bargain a bit over the price!
If this isn’t enough to fill your journey, get to the river Ciane, just outside of Siracusa, and have a trip by canoe towards the springs: you will move amid the largest papyrus colony of Mediterranean Europe, one of Siracusa’s symbols.