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Pt. 1 Catania | Pt. 2 Siracusa | Pt. 3 Palermo | Sicily news

Visiting Sicily (Part 2 - Syracuse/Siracusa)



There is a direct bus from Catania to Syracuse, or to use its local name, Siracusa. You can check the times from here. The trip takes 1 1/2 hours and costs 6.20 euros for a single trip and nearly 10 euros for a return ticket (which has to be on the same day). Once you arrive at the coach terminus turn backwards and continue walking straight on till you arrive at the crossroads. There, follow the directions pointing to Ortygia (also spelt Ortigia) which is the central point of interest in Syracuse (apart from the Neapolis archaeological park). Keep walking straight on for about a kilometer till you come to a bridge. Cross the bridge and you will be in the island of Ortygia.

Bridge to Ortygia
The bridge in Syracuse that leads to Ortygia.
Apollo Temple in Syracuse
What remains of the Apollo Temple in Syracuse.
Fountain of Diana in the Piazza Archimede of Ortygia, Siracusa
The Fountain of Diana in the Piazza Archimede. Captivating!

Once across the bridge you will see the remains of what was formerly the Apollo Temple. Continue walking forward until you reach the Piazza Archimede (see photo). From here a short walk will take you to Syracuse's Duomo in the Piazza del Duomo.
When in Siracusa you must also visit the Neapolis archaelogical park to see the Greek theatre and the Roman amphitheatre as well as what is known as L'Orecchio di Dionisio or Dionysius's ear. Make sure you bring a torchlight along if you hope to explore the cave as it is completely dark inside. Shout out loud and hear the echo of your voice!
Also do not rush to the entrance of the Neapolis archaelogical park if you have not bought your tickets yet. The tickets are sold not at the main entrance but from the ticketing office some 100m away on the opposite side of the road (at the end of a long row of souvenir shops).

Outside view of the Santuario delle Madonna delle Lacrime in Siracusa Inside the Santuario delle Madonna delle Lacrime in Siracusa
The Sanctuary of the Holy Mother of Tears (Il Santuario delle Madonna delle Lacrime) as seen from the inside (above) and outside (left).
Photo on right shows L'Orecchio di Dionisio (Dionysius's ear) in the Neapolis archaelogical park nearby.
Orecchio di Dionisio (Dionysius's ear) in the Neapolis archaelogical park of Syracuse

As in Catania, the budget traveller can have difficulty finding cheap accommodation in Siracusa (no problem for the big spenders though). However if you are looking for a hostel-type of hotel with bunk beds, then the LOL Hostel at 94, Via Francesco Crispi could be just what you are looking for. The hostel is really well-situated, being next door to the train station (with trains going to Catania and Taormina) as well as the long-distance bus terminals and also within walking distance of both Ortygia and the Neapolis archaelogical park. The cost of 20 euros for a night's stay includes a solid breakfast as well as bedsheets and the use of a common kitchen.


Catacombs of San Giovanni in Syracuse, Sicily
The Catacombs of San Giovanni, an underground city of the dead.
Roman amphitheatre (Anfiteatro romano) in Syracuse, Sicily
The Roman amphitheatre (Anfiteatro romano).
Greek Theatre (Il teatro greco) in Syracuse, Sicily
The Greek Theatre (Il teatro greco) is on the slope of a hill.

Railway station at Siracusa, Sicily
The railway station at Siracusa, Sicily is just next to the Interbus terminus for Catania.
Part 3 Palermo
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