Holidays to Siracusa are a dreamy medley of al fresco cafés, ancient ruins and fascinating cultural attractions.

History and heritage

On the east coast of Sicily – the famous island 'ball' to Italy's 'boot' – the city of Siracusa's steeped in history. It was once the largest in the ancient world, counting Plato among the famous figures who came to check out its charms. A millennia on, it's now a popular holiday stop, jam-packed with museums, sights and incredible old-world architecture.

Cobblestones and charm

The star of the show's labyrinth-like Ortigia island, Siracusa's historic centre that's reached via footbridges from the mainland. Admire the Baroque cathedral in the shining white square of Piazza Duomo, then head to the Fountain of Diana in Archimedes Square. In between the sights, be sure to stop at a pavement café for a 'caffe affogato' – that's espresso poured over ice-cream.

Dig deep

Immerse yourself in days gone by at the Archeological Park of Neapolis, a five-minute bus ride out of town. Chief among the atmospheric ruins are a limestone quarry now overgrown with magnolia and citrus trees, and a second-century Roman amphitheatre where gladiators once fought it out. Channel your inner diva at the Greek theatre – you can even catch a performance here in summer.

Modern life

Today, Siracusa moves at an energetic pace. Wind your way through city-centre Ortigia's jostling food market – held every day of the week but Sunday – where the stalls are piled high with artisanal cheeses and couldn't-be-fresher regional produce. And at dusk, join locals on the evening passeggiata, or stroll – best with a cone of gelato in hand.

At a Glance

  • Admire Baroque masterpieces in the Piazza Duomo
  • Relax by the Ionian Sea on a sunbathing platform
  • Wander through ancient treasures at the nearby archaeological park