The timeless charm
of a small island connected to Syracuse
Connected to Syracuse by an impressive bridge, you will be immediately struck by the light and charm of this small island as soon as you reach it. The cobblestones, old buildings and other details contribute to the magical charm of the island, which has seen successive ancient cultures change its history and shape, giving it a polyhedral architecture.
Even today, Ortygia will immediately cast its spell on you with its small craft boutiques and restaurants, archaeology and history. Buildings and places of worship abound on the small island, built using bright materials that shimmer under the hot summer sun. The Castle of Maniace, which is almost perfectly preserved, and the Fountain of Arethusa are also must-sees.
Ortygia is known worldwide for the splendour of its baroque style, and has been made a UNESCO world heritage site, but it also has other architectural styles. In the middle ages, it was the only inhabited part of Syracuse and this is why it has numerous monuments and buildings in the liberty, rococo and classical styles, making it an important centre of monumental art.
Ortygia was the first Greek settlement and still today you can visit the remains of three ancient temples at the site of the quarries, that is, the ancient Greek age stone quarries where there is the Ear of Dionysius, an artificial cave in the shape of a giant ear, thus named by Caravaggio and which is in the ancient quarry of Paradise.
Located under the Greek Theatre in Syracuse, according to a legend that dates back to the 1500s, it was the tyrant Dionysius who ordered the construction of the Ear of Dionysius, a cave used as a prison and the shape of which would allow the tyrant to hear the echo of the prisoners’ words from above. A fascinating story for a place that is definitely worth a visit!