Syracuse wasn’t just a satellite of Greece’s empire. It’s where the nymph Aretusa was transformed into a fresh water spring and fled into the earth, but even here, she could not escape Alpheus, the river God. It’s where Archimedes (287- 212 B.C.), the greatest mathematician and scientist of antiquity, stated the principle of buoyant force. It’s where Cicero, the roman attorney, wrote part of his speeches In Verrem, against the corrupt governor of Sicily Verres. Sit at the top of the Greek theatre, carved out of the rock of the hill, and think back to ancient times, when Aeschylus attended performances of his own plays, and Plato watched the drama, perched on the top benches. Imagine the chariot races and the gladiatorial combats into the Roman Amphitheatre and don’t forget the cave Ear of Dionisio, an amazing grotto with incredible acoustics, where the Athenians were imprisoned after their defeat. The ancient city is situated on the island of Ortigia, linked to the mainland by several bridges. It’s now the charming heart of Siracusa, with a network of narrow alleyways, cafes as well as significant remnants of ancient architecture, ranging from the medieval Maniace Castle to the Temple of Apollo, from the gothic Palazzo Montalto or Palazzo Bellomo to Piazza Archimedes, lined with restored medieval buildings. Take your time in the beautiful eye-shaped Piazza del Duomo, whose baroque Cathedral was converted from the temple to Athena built in 480 B.C.: its Doric Greek columns are embedded on one side of the structure while Byzantine mosaics and a Norman font can be found on the other side. Stroll on the old city by day, with its fish market, its harbors, small shops, museums and picturesque alleyways – Syracuse is the eternal city, a place to die for.

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