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Sicilia - Places to Visit - Siracusa

Siracusa in Sicilia

This town lies on a bay on the south-east coast of the island and consists of an old nucleus with medieval streets and a Baroque appearance, on Ortigia island, linked by a bridge to mainland Sicily, and the modern town characterized by a regular square urban layout, stretching inland.

Founded by Greek settlers in the 8th century BC., under the various tyrants that ruled it, Syracuse grew to became of economic and political importance in the Mediterranean, often engaged in struggles against the Greeks themselves and the Carthaginians, as well as against the other Siculi towns in Magna Grecia.

Syracuse has a number of most interesting monuments and works of art, including: the Greek theatre (3rd century BC.), the Roman amphitheatre (3rd century BC.), the Temple of Apollo (7th-6th century BC.), the Latomie (prisons hewn from the rock), the Duomo, built 7th century over a 5th century BC. Doric temple, Castello Maniace (13th century), Castello Eurialo (8 km. away, remains of Greek fortifications), Palazzo Bellomo (13th-15th centuries), Palazzo Montalto (end 14th century).

The town's economy is based on traditional agricultural activities (table and wine grapes, citrus fruit, flowers and vegetables) including livestock (particularly cattle breeding), commerce (busy port) and an industrial sector which has developed considerably over the last few decades, attracting workforces also from other provincial centres. Industries present include chemicals, engineering, papermaking, construction materials.

Siracusa in Sicilia

Events: Festa di S. Lucia (13th December), `Rappresentazioni classiche al teatro greco' (June-July).

Famous People: Theocritus (poet, 310-260 BC.), Archimedes (mathematician, 285-212 BC.), Epicarmo (play writer, 5th century BC.), Elio Vittorini (writer, 1908-1966).

Cultural Institutions: State Archives, Biblioteca Alagniana, Biblioteca Comunale, Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Bellomo, Museo Archeologico (Greek and Roman exhibits).

In the Province: Augusta (one of the major Italian ports, industrial centre, petrochemicals), Noto (Baroque buildings), Sortino (Pantalica necropolis), Avola (agricultural centre), Palazzolo Acreide (Antiquarium), Lentini (Museo Archeologico).

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