Cathedral of Syracuse

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Syracuse: Ortigia and Neapolis Guided Walking Tour

1. Syracuse: Ortigia and Neapolis Guided Walking Tour

Explore ancient Syracuse on a 3-hour guided tour and learn about early Greek history through architecture and religious practices. The evidence of Syracuse as capital of the Mediterranean is ever-present, and seen in the glory of its Cathedral, the ancient Temple of Athena, the Greek Theater and the Roman Amphitheater. Admire the beauty of the Cathedral of Syracuse, which incorporates the pagan Temple of Athena. Learn about its various architectural styles from your guide. Continue to the Archeological Park to see the Paradise Latomia and the Ear of Dionysos. Enjoy the beautiful views of the Ionian Sea from the Greek Theater.

Syracuse: Ortygia & Neapolis Archaeological Park Guided Tour

2. Syracuse: Ortygia & Neapolis Archaeological Park Guided Tour

The guided tour of Syracuse will make you discover the historic center located on the island of Ortigia and the Nepolis. Let's start from one of the two bridges that connect Ortigia to the mainland, the Umbertino Bridge with a visit to the Temple of Apollo which dates back to 580 BC. and represents the oldest Doric temple in all of Sicily. We continue in the heart of the island discovering piazza Archimede square, dedicated to the great Syracusan mathematician, with the beautiful Diana Fountain. Walking through the alleys we arrive at piazza della Minerva square, made of white limestone with beautiful buildings that overlook the square. The most important building is the Cathedral of Syracuse dedicated to the Nativity of Mary Most Holy, founded on the remains of the ancient Temple of Athena of which some columns that re-emerge from the walls of the church are still visible both on the external side but above all by visiting the Cathedral at the internal. The imposing façade is built in Baroque and Rococo style and is surrounded by other beautiful buildings overlooking the square, such as the Palazzo del Vermexio seat of the Town Hall, Palazzo Beneventano and the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, which preserves inside the splendid work of Caravaggio "The burial of Saint Lucia". We continue the guided tour walking towards the sea admiring the Fonte Aretusa, an unusual mirror of fresh water inhabited by fish and ducks and where papyrus plants grow. A few meters away we find the Alfeo seafront, where we conclude the first part of the visit, the oldest stretch of seafront on the island where you can admire the beauty of the sea that surrounds Ortigia and the imposing Maniace Castle, a fortress dating back to the Swabian period that in past it was prison and military barracks. We move to the Archaeological Park of Neapolis with the visit that starts from the Church of San Nicolò ai Cordari of the eleventh century and in the lower part where we find the Roman Pool, large water tanks dug into the rock with pipes that brought the water to the Roman amphitheater for nautical games and water fights. The nearby Roman amphitheater dating back to the Augustus era was in fact used for various shows, the most famous of which were the fights between gladiators: it has an elliptical structure carved into the rock and is spread over three levels. We continue our visit with the Altar of Hieron, the immense altar dedicated to Zeus where the sacrifices of the bulls took place. The guided tour continues towards the Latomie del Paradiso, quarries used for the extraction of stone, of which we will visit the most important, the Ear of Dionysus. The cave is 23 meters high and is very impressive due to the exceptional echo inside it. We conclude the visit to the Nepolis admiring the beautiful Greek theater carved into the stone, the most famous and important monument of the archaeological park, built by the Greeks and renovated by the Romans.

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What people are saying about Cathedral of Syracuse

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 81 reviews

Giuseppe was fantastic! We felt so lucky to have him walk us through the sites and history of Syracuse's archeological park, as well as, Ortygia. He knows SO much about the history and answered all of the questions we peppered him with. We highly recommend taking this tour with him!!!

My guide, Anna, was professional and efficient. Her extensive knowledge of local history, architecture and art history was most impressive! And she delivered all this information in an interesting and relevant (to me) manner. I highly recommend Anna and this tour!

Anna was a fantastic guide; passionate and highly knowledgeable about all things Sicilian. The pace was smooth and we covered a lot of ground with lots of time to linger, take pictures and ask questions. Highly recommend this tour.

I really enjoyed my guide on this tour. He anticipated my needs and expectations for the historical significance of what we are looking at. And he took the time to answer all my questions. I highly recommend this one.

My Guide Guseppi was extremely knowledgeable about the whole area he was very personable I was very impressed and would recommend him and the tour