MiniGuide to Caportigia holidays
Sicily is a land that is loved by its people but even more by those who come to see it for the first time. It's a love at first sight thanks to the beauty of its sea and its culture: In particular Syracuse and its province have all this and much more, and that thanks to this mini guide that the Hotel Caportigia has prepared, you can get to know. Do you want to organize one unforgettable vacation? Well, read on… and get ready to know the most beautiful place in the world!
7 fantastic days in Syracuse that will remain indelible
To get to know eastern Sicily well, it takes a longer period than a simple weekend, because there are so many places to see that a few days would miss out on many goodies. We will move from the heart, Syracuse, to places that can be reached within 30 minutes from the city.
The Great Beauty is here: let yourself be fascinated by Syracuse
Arrived in Syracuse with your own vehicle or through our Transfer service fromFontanarossa airport Catania, settle in your room and leave your luggage. A long walk awaits you, to be carried out with comfortable shoes and sunscreen.
From the hotel you can reach the island of Ortigia in 5 minutes on foot, a popular destination for every visitor. It houses some of the most important structures of the city such as the Palazzo Borgia del Casale, noble apartment of the powerful Borgia family of the '700. Its balconies overlook directly on Piazza Duomo leaving the eyes to be enriched by the white of the bricks used for each building on the square.
The cathedral is a wonderful example of Baroque architecture rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693. It is dedicated to the Nativity of Mary and built on an even older structure, which dates back to the times of the Greeks where the temple of Athens stood in the 5th century BC. This can be deduced from the visibly older columns with a classic cut that break from the Gothic façade. Also in the square it is possible to admire the Palazzo Senatorio, seat of the Town Hall, built in the 1600s. To the right of the cathedral we find the Bishop's Palace, the Monastro and the Church of Santa Lucia. On the left there are private residences such as Palazzo Gaetani and Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco.
A wonderful point to watch the sea that surrounds the island is from Arethusa source, also known as the fountain of the Ducks to which we have dedicated an entire article telling the love story between the nymph of Diana, Arethusa and her lover Alfeo who turned into a river to reach his beloved from nearby Greece. The coast reserves wonderful surprises such as splendid caves that can be visited on boat trips.
After this walk comes the appetite and the time for lunch, for a different location than usual you can take advantage of theboat excursion for a lunch on board the boat. From it it is possible to admire the rock of the galley and some beaches of Syracuse such as that of Carrozze. From the sea it is wonderful to look at the imposing Maniace Castle, built in the year 1000 by Giorgio Maniace who freed the city from Arab domination. Over time it has undergone several changes, the structure we see today is the result of the restoration of the thirteenth century. of Frederick II of Swabia in 1204 who after returning from the Crusades wanted the construction of several castles in Sicily.
After relaxing on the boat, in the afternoon a visit to the Jewish quarter of Ortigia, in its alleys in Via della Giudecca you can discover a small theater where we will meet the famous Sicilian puppets. The puppet theater it reproduces works visible only in Sicily, made up of knights armed with swords and shining armor fighting to free their land from non-faithful in the period of the Crusades. The language they use is ancient and refined, often rhyming like an old tale that comes to life through the threads of the master puppeteers.
After a day full of new discoveries and intense emotions, returning to the familiar context of your room is a time to rest and gather strength for the next few days to discover the surroundings of Syracuse. For the most refined palates it is possible to book a table at the restaurant attached to our hotel, or "The Tyrant", which it is the best gourmet restaurant in Syracuse, where you can enjoy the fantastic dishes prepared by the chef that everyone envies us, Valentina Galli. If maybe you don't really want to dine, we suggest you sip (perhaps on the terrace) a glass of wine: thanks to our Antonio you can taste and above all get to know the precious labels present in our cellar.
Sicily is sea, so let's go to the beaches of Syracuse
In a few kilometers you will find beaches that do not fear comparison with the Caribbean ones, driving along the southern coast you will find the Arenella And White Fountains, with numerous dining options and services that are also suitable for those traveling with children. It is possible to get there by city buses or by train, as well as by car.
For those who love exploration it is a must to discover themarine protected area of Plemmirio with over 30 coves including Punta Castelluccio, Punto della Mola, Punta del Gigante and the Capo Murro di Porco lighthouse. In addition to the extreme beauty where rock, beach and earth come together, it is a place full of history. In fact it has been shown that the "Pellegrina Cave" was the refuge of our prehistoric ancestor, from the tip of the Mola instead it is possible to admire the necropolis of the Bronze Age and the village.
Punta della Mola and Capo Murro di Porco are rich in underground connections that were used during the Second World War. Certainly these are stories that are not common to other seaside resorts.
Continuing for another 20 km instead you can get to the beach of the marquise, delineated by the Cassibile river and the cliff. A place where nature has never stopped taking its course, a small earthly paradise.
The capitals of the Baroque: Noto and Modica
Since 2002 the city of Noto has been defined "Capital of the Baroque", a title awarded by UNESCO after having recognized it World Heritage Site. The inhabited one is Noto Nuova, rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693, the old center, Noto Antica, can still be visited but only the old walls of the glorious city remain. The entrance to the historic center of Noto is framed by the Porta Reale, a 19th century triumphal arch built for King Ferdinand II of Bourbon, king of the two Sicilies.
Along Corso Vittorio Emanuele you can admire noble palaces and Piazza Immacolata, at the top of the staircase you can admire the church of San Francesco all'Immacolata. To its left we find the elegant monastery of S. Salvatore with the tower and the belvedere, to the right is the former cloistered convent of Santa Chiara. Continuing along the main street, the magnificent town hall square opens up with the imposing Cathedral and Palazzo Ducenzio.
Looking carefully at the square you can see a street with a high slope, Via Nicolaci where there are baroque palaces adorned with sirens, cherubs, horses, lions and mythological characters. In the surroundings of Noto it is possible to stop at the cellars, to have an excellent aperitif tasting local wines immersed in nature.
A few kilometers away is located Modica, famous for its history and for its chocolate. It rises around the ruins of an ancient castle, creating a tangle of alleys that lead up to the highest part of the city.
L'medieval architecture goes wonderfully with the baroque of noble palaces and immense churches such as the Church of San Giorgio, with its 250 steps and rich facade.
The main course presents the Church of the Carmine, dating back to 1500 with its interior with a single Gothic nave, and the Church of Santa Maria di Betlemme. Walking through the town you will also notice other treasures such as the Campailla Museum, in the name of a Modica doctor who managed to cure syphilis, and the birthplace of the Nobel Prize for literature Salvatore Quasimodo.
Top excursion: Cava Grande di Cassibile
For lovers of trekking, less recommended for a family outing, the Cava Grande of Cassibile it is an essential destination. There natural reserve of Cava Grande it is an excursion where flip-flops are banned because you arrive at the lakes after a long journey in the midst of rocky boulders, it develops in the middle of a limestone canyon for 40 minutes.
On arrival, however, what is revealed is wonderful: freshwater ponds worthy of the earthly paradise. Small waterfalls, rocks and trees that protect from the sun are the icing on the cake of the reserve. A show that leaves you breathless.
Ancient Noto offers another splendid trekking route, the canyon of the Carosello quarry, engraved in the limestone that leaves the water fed by the perennial springs active since 1400. You enter the Carousel from Porta di Santa Margherita, an old gate of the fortified city of ancient Noto, following the current you arrive at a hanging pond full of waterfalls.
Two unmissable places for those who love taking a dip in fresh water.
The most beautiful seaside village in Europe: Marzamemi
Marzamemi has a strange effect: this place so small, so humble and so enchanted… Its birth dates back to around the year one thousand, when the Arabs built the Tonnara here, which for many centuries was the main one in the whole of Eastern Sicily.
This beautiful Borgo Marinaro, however as it appears to us today, dates back to the 18th century when the Villadorata family modified the Tonnara by expanding its spaces, building the church of San Francesco di Paola, and the fishermen's houses.
There San Lorenzo beach it is perhaps the best known: very large and equipped with a large number of equipped establishments, it is ideal for lovers of relaxation. The coast is low and sandy and the waters are crystal clear and rich in vegetation Spinazza beach (located north of the village) a place that absolutely must be visited.
There Cavettone beach it is located on the southern side of Marzamemi. Being a type of sandy beach bordered by rocky structures, we recommend it for diving and snorkelling lovers.
Vendicari it is the most suggestive of the whole territory. An oasis in the green where you can find pristine beaches that follow one another, in one of the most coastal stretches beautiful of the whole Sicily. The northernmost beach of the oasis is that of Eloro, at the mouth of the Tellaro river, on which stands an ancient Roman villa full of extraordinary mosaics. A little further south is the cove of Cala Mosche, nestled between two rocky outcrops, with many caves to explore.
Another beautiful beach is that of the Tonnara, where it is possible to admire two buildings dating back to the Byzantine period, one of which is intended for tuna fishing.
Ferla and the Pantalica reserve
Yet another beauty, Ferla is there port of Pantalica and was recognized in 2005 as a "World Heritage Site" as well as proclaimed one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The necropolis of Pantalica is made up of protohistoric places on the island such as the Anaktoron, the palace of the Mycenaean prince built from large blocks of stone. In the reserve it is also possible to visit the former Byzantine village of San Micidario and other necropolises that follow the path up to the Calcinara stream.
After this small excursion we arrive at the bottom of the valley where the fresh waters of the stream are ready to welcome all its guests. A natural spectacle that blends with the oldest history of Sicily.
UNESCO does not abandon Sicily, and here is another treasure a short distance away: Palazzolo Acreide, on the Acremonte promontory. To visit the old finger of Akrai, the first colony of the powerful Syracuse from 664 BC
Here too the Baroque dominates, represented by the mother church dedicated to San Nicolò which is located in the central square of Aldo Moro. The Baroque façade contrasts with the simplicity from the tuff interior but remains precious for the marble altars with finely worked low reliefs. In the archaeological area you can admire the completely circular Greek theater, the Plateria which connects the two gates of the city and the spectacular stone quarries where the ancient heroes were honored: the Intagliata and the Intaglietella.
Returning to the hotel after this long day and stroll why not relax in the Jacuzzi on the terrace? A way to pamper yourself and enjoy the sunset before dinner.
The “Greek” Syracuse and the departure
For late departures you can take advantage of the luggage storage service thanks to the reception which is always open 24 hours a day every day of the week. Leave your bags safely and discover the beauties of the city without weights.
For the last day in this wonderful white city you can rent bikes to see Syracuse from the cycle path that runs along the very romantic protected area of Plemmirio starting from the tip of the mill, the Pillirina. There are two beaches of wild and uncontaminated beauty and crystal clear sea.
The last encounter with history, before leaving, is in Syracuse Archaeological Park where we can walk among the remains of the Hellenistic and classical age. It is also known as the archaeological park of Neapolis Greek Theater of Syracuse where the classical performances are held between June and July known all over the world. To see them ask for information at the reception who will book tickets for the next performance.
Walking through the Ara di Ierone II and along the banks of the Anapo river, you can visit the caves of Ninfeo, dei Cordari and the quarries of Neapolis.
What to eat in Syracuse: typical dishes
On a holiday like this one cannot overlook the food. Sicily is famous for returning with a full stomach and a satisfied face whoever sets foot on the island. In a land surrounded by the sea, the cuisine based on fish and in particular in Syracuse you can taste the tuna in bread crust, to start with the tuna tartare and creamy avocado.
For the first courses we recommend the typical ones spaghetti with sea urchins they spaghetti Syracusan style. The intense flavor of the sea accompanies every Sicilian recipe, sea urchins are very popular but difficult to fish and cook. The internal fruit is eaten which have an intense orange color and a delicate taste.
An ancient custom is to associate with the honey and fruit compotes with i local cheeses, a pleasure for the palate that melts between the sweetness of honey and the salty of cheeses.
Every Sicilian knows what cannot be missing on the table, the salted cod. The Tyrant offers a very interesting variant with extra crunchy marro, burrata and Datterino tartare. Just talking about it grows your mouth water.