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This is part 2 of our post on Siracusa (read part 1 here). The city of Siracusa was named as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2006. This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in ancient times, when it was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean world.

Piazza Duomo with the Duomo di Siracusa

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Next to the Duomo is the Palazzo Senatorio (the Senators’ Palace), home of the city hall, built in the 1600’s on the ruins of a Ionian temple. The oval piazza is really beautiful.

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The medieval Episcopal Palace is also here.

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Palace Benventano del Bosco also in Piazza Duomo

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Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia at the other end of Piazza Duomo

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The city was founded by ancient Greek Corinthians and became a very powerful city-state, being allied with Sparta and Corinth. It equaled Athens in size during the fifth century BC.

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Surrounded by the Ionian sea, the island is connected to the main part of Siracusa by two bridges.

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View of the Ionian Sea from our apartment.

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The most important cultural artifact in Siracusa is the Temple of Apollo (Greek: Ἀπολλώνιον; Apollonion).

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It is dated to the beginning of the 6th century BC and is therefore the most ancient Doric temple in Sicily.

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A truly world famous person from Siracusa is Archimedes (287 BC to 212 BC) – a mathematician, physicist, inventor and indeed a very important scientist of the ancient world. This piazza is named after him. We can see the fountain from our apartment just up the street.

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Archimedes is famous for sitting in a bath tub and solving the problem of measuring the volume of an irregular object by submerging it in water and measuring the displaced water. So excited by his discovery, he took to the streets naked, that he had forgotten to dress, crying “Eureka!” (Greek: “εὕρηκα,heúrēka!”, meaning “I have found [it]!”).

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Many young people left Ortigia for work leaving empty homes. But the older parts of Ortigia is slowly being gentrified, many turned into B&Bs or boutique hotels.

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Lots of narrow streets and little piazzas to explore.

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One can get lost easily as the streets and alleys are not organized as a grid and most houses would look too similar to the tourists.

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Ortigia is a truly historic place. You can’t get any more mediterranean than what’s on this island. See part 1 with photos of the shoreline of the island here.


One Comment

  1. So beautiful!!

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