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A Visitors' Guide to Siracusa, Sicily
The city of Siracusa, which lies in the Syracuse province, is over 2,700 years old with strong Grecian influences, signs of which remain visible in the ruins and remnants of the ancient civilization. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

First time visitors should take the time to see each of the more famous sites such as the Parco Archeologico—a Greek amphitheater—the altar of Hieron, Latomia del Paradiso and the Ear of Dionysios, and the catacombs. Take a trip into Old Town and walk down narrow, winding streets, passing old palaces, shops, restaurants, and ancient ruins such as the Temple of Apollo.

Euryalus Castle near Belvedere carries a mystic appeal with its moats and tall walls. It is rumored that the great Archimedes may have played a role in its construction in 401 BC. The castle was used as a defense in many ancient battles with walls stretching for 27 kilometers to envelop one of the largest ancient cities under Greek control.

The Orsi Regional Archeological Museum is also well worth a visit. It displays finds from Megara Hyblaea—an ancient Greek settlement—and ancient Syracuse. Items are exhibited according to their historical context.

Siracusa's Judeo-Christian influences are also visible in the ruins of the 1,500-year-old Jewish baths found in Ortygia as well as the Paleo-Christian catacombs that rival Rome for its expansiveness. Remnants of the medieval era include the ruins of St John's Abbey and the Crypt of St Marcian.

Keeping the past alive, The National Institute for Ancient Drama stages an annual event at the Greek Theater featuring plays on the ancient Greek and Roman heroes. Travelers come from around the world to participate as spectators in this famous event. Art lovers can take a look at the works on display in the Art Gallery at the Bellomo Palace. The collection includes "Burial of Saint Lucy" by Caravaggio, "Assumption" by Antonello da Messina, and other important works.

For those bit by the shopping bug while in Siracusa, bargain hunters should take the opportunity to purchase some of the earthenware items for which the region is famous. To get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, soak up the rays on the long beaches. There are plenty of terrific Sicilian restaurants in the area to entice you away from the regular pasta and pizza to more delectable cuisine like the caponata or myriad seafood dishes.
About the Author
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Sicily holiday apartments & Worldwide vacation apartments.
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