The senses tell Ortigia

Ortygia and the smell of the sea

A place like Ortygia, a small island surrounded by water, can only be associated with the smell of the sea.
An aroma of freshness fills the nose of those who come to this land, mixed with the odours of salt, seaweed and fish. Essences that evoke strong feelings and abstract ideas: travel, adventure, summer and the wind.
Lungomare Ortigia

The “feathery” papyrus plants

Among the waters of the Fountain of Arethusa you can spot the papyrus plant: an aquatic plant that comes from Egypt.
Papyrus plants have a thin, hard and woody stem. Inflorescences with a radius from 10 to 30 centimetres stick out from the stems, carrying strawcoloured spikes.
If you pass your hand over the dense plant, these numerous threadlike branches appear soft and feathery.Papiri fonte Aretusa

The “cuccìa”, a dessert for Saint Lucia

On the days when the city’s patron saint, St. Lucy, is celebrated, a table in Syracuse is not complete without the cuccìa: a typical Sicilian dessert made with boiled wheat and sheep’s milk ricotta or white or chocolate cream.
These ingredients are combined with candied fruit, cinnamon, chocolate chips and grated orange rind.

When the temples were colourful

In ancient times, Greek temples did not only have the pale marble and the surface of terracotta that we see today, a result of the passing of centuries.
These buildings were originally decorated with bright colours obtained with cinnabar, ochre or mercury sulphide, and many other colours already known and used in antiquity.
The decorations of the sacred temples were exquisite and complex, with geometric, braided and petal motifs.
Templi a colori

Pantalica and water: the Myth of the Anapo River

Nature in Neapolis

Ortygia and water. The Fountain of Arethusa

Neapolis and the air element. The Ear of Dionysius


Ortygia and fire. Archimedes and the invention of the burning mirrors

Neapolis and the water element. The Nymphaeum

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Giudecca and fire. Cooking and the Jewish religion

Giudecca and water. The ritual baths: the Casa Bianca mikveh

Giudecca and the earth element. Between gardens and artisan workshops

Pantalica and fire. The Metal Age: objects from the culture of Pantalica

A journey to Pantalica

The interior of the Cathedral of Syracuse

Pantalica and the earth element


The Neapolis

Pantalica and air. The skies of Pantalica: from hawks to bats

Ortygia and the earth element. Piazza del Duomo: discovering the origins.

Giudecca and air. The Basilica of San Giovannello

Neapolis and the earth element. Places of performance: the Greek theatre and the Roman amphitheatre

Ortygia and the air element. The Gods of Olympus and the Temple of Apollo.

The naumachiae: naval battles at the theatre

The fountain of Diana in Piazza Archimede

Neapolis and fire. The Altar of Hieron and the sacrificial fire