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Visitor Information

The tourist office is at Via San Sebastiano 43 (tel. 0931-481232), open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 1:30pm and 3:30 to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 1pm. There's another office in the historic center at Via della Maestranza 33 (tel. 0931-464255), open Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 1:45pm and 2:45 to 5:30pm, Friday 8:30am to 1:45pm.

Special Events

Some of the most memorable cultural events in Sicily are staged in May and June, when actors from the Instituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico present a cycle of classical plays by Aeschylus, Euripides, and their contemporaries. The setting is the ancient Teatro Greco (Greek Theater) in the Parco Archeologico (Archaeological Park). Tickets cost 30€ to 62€. For information, contact INDA, Corso Matteotti 29, 96100 Siracusa (tel. 0931-487200; www.indafondazione.org).

City Layout

The chief attraction, Isola di Ortygia (Ortigia island), is linked to mainland Syracuse by a bridge, Ponte Umbertino. The city's main street, Corso Umberto, runs from this bridge directly to the train station and crosses Piazza Marconi, a square from which most of the buses depart. Another main street is Via Montedoro, which runs parallel to, and to the immediate north of, Corso Umberto.

Other than Ortygia, Syracuse's grand attraction is the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis. To get to this garden of ruins from the heart of Syracuse, head north along Corso Gelone.

If you'd like to drive along the boulevard fronting the Ionian Sea, head up the Dionisio Grande for panoramic scenery. This route will also take you to the Latomia dei Cappuccini, one of the most ancient of the limestone quarries that supplied blocks of limestone for the construction of the major buildings and monuments of Syracuse.

Off Via Cavour is Piazza del Duomo, one of the city's most elegant squares. A 5th-century temple that the Greeks dedicated to Athena became in time a Christian cathedral, or duomo. From Piazza del Duomo, Via Picherali heads southwest to the sea and the Fonte Aretusa (Fountain of Arethusa), a freshwater spring beloved by the ancient Greeks, who claimed that this was where the nymph Arethusa was turned into a fountain.

The oldest street in town, Via della Maestranza, is a sightseeing attraction in its own right. It passes the island's most aristocratic residences, mostly baroque in style. The two most interesting palaces, which can be admired from the outside, are Palazzo Interlandi Pizzuti, at no. 10, and Palazzo Impellizzeri, at no 17.

On the southernmost tip of Ortygia rises Castello Maniace, named in honor of George Maniakes, the Byzantine who, with aid from Norman soldiers, captured the city from the Muslims. Rebuilt by Frederick II in 1239, this castle is now a military barracks and is off-limits to the public. You can sail by the castle, however, if you take a boat tour.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.