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“Loved Ortygia”
Review of Ortigia

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Ortygia: Syracuse's Ancient Town Center Walking Tour
Ranked #1 of 149 things to do in Syracuse
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: This offshore island was occupied by the Greek colonists who fortified it and constructed the earliest structures, including the temples of Athena and Apollo, whose remains can still be seen today.
Reviewed 6 August 2014

If you are visiting Siracusa, you must stay in Ortygia. Ortygia is a beautiful city just over the bridge from Siracusa. It's very clean and offers a lot to do. There are good restaurants, street markets, great shopping and a friendly atmosphere.

Thank Angelina18_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"narrow streets"
in 219 reviews
"old town"
in 166 reviews
"small island"
in 69 reviews
"beautiful island"
in 54 reviews
"place to stay"
in 31 reviews
"every corner"
in 44 reviews
"bars and restaurants"
in 25 reviews
"couple of days"
in 30 reviews
"piazza duomo"
in 90 reviews
"on foot"
in 39 reviews
"the main square"
in 34 reviews
"historical sites"
in 31 reviews
in 53 reviews
"walk around"
in 49 reviews
"great place to visit"
in 28 reviews
"greek temple"
in 34 reviews
in 279 reviews

1,979 - 1,983 of 11,069 reviews

Reviewed 5 August 2014

Stayed in Ortygia for 11 days in July/ August 2014. We took our two 7 year olds for their first trip out of the UK with the idea that we would go somewhere with a bit more interest and more to do than your average beach resort. As we did not have transport, we also wanted somewhere with good transport links to be able to get out and explore other places. It was very hot and our plans of exploring Sicily too much went out of the window in favour of a bit of wandering, eating, swimming in the sea and visiting a few local attractions and we found plenty to keep us occupied without venturing too far. We did take a trip to Etna using the tourist excursion stands by the port- we had had several quotes for an Etna trip before arriving in Sicily which for the 4 of us were upwards of 400 euro's- a minibus excursion organised when we were there cost 150 euro's for the 4 of us- perhaps not so much of a personal tour but a significant saving. We walked to the Archaeological Park in Syracuse which was really interesting and enjoyed a visit to the puppet theatre in Ortygia.
The market in Ortygia was fantastic- great prices, lovely fresh fruit/veg/fish/meats/cheeses etc- friendly stall holders who offered lots of samples for you to try. The peaches from the market were just so nice- missing those since coming home!
The beaches are small but then it isn't a beach resort but the sea was really lovely to swim in. The shingle beach was protected by large blocks of stone in the water which created a safe shallow area perfect for children to play and swim in- the children loved putting on masks and snorkles here to see all of the fish and hermit crabs etc- wouldn't recommend it without swimming shoes as it is pretty stony. The small sandy beach gets the afternoon sun and was great for cooling off- have to be more careful here as it gets deep fairly quickly but lovely clear water- again would recommend beach shoes for swimming as we did see a few urchins.
Ortygia is a nice place to wander during the day exploring the historic if a little faded but clearly once very grand buildings set out in the meandering medieval street pattern. However, it really comes alive on an evening- particularly in the Piazza Duomo where you can see the showiness and extravagance that goes along with many areas of Italy- the children loved seeing all of the wedding parties coming out of the Duomo while enjoying granite and drinks in the restaurants. Great places for people watching and taking in the atmosphere. Although we don't really do shopping, if that's what you like it looked like there were loads of nice arty type shops in the streets near the Cathedral and lots of clothes shops including nice designer window shopping opportunities in the main street.
We found that although many people spoke some English, we got the most out of it by trying to use the little Italian that we know in restaurants and the market- the effort was appreciated and most locals we came across were happy to help you out with pronunciation etc if you asked. The kids really got into trying to use some Italian where they could and people were very friendly towards them.
Just one thing to be careful of walking around- although the streets are very narrow around Ortygia unless you stick to the main roads there is no separate footway and as pedestrians you are sharing the space with mopeds and cars so you do need to be careful walking around but you do get used to jumping into the side quickly. On the main streets traffic doesn't stop for you if you wait at zebra crossings but it does generally stop once you step onto the crossings so you have to be a bit more brave than you generally have to be in the UK.
Our only disappointment really was the few times we ate out- the food wasn't anything like as nice as we were expecting for Sicily- however we did stick to the more tourist restaurants as they were in the nicer locations such as the sea front and main piazza so it may be that food is better in the more out of the way places. But as the market was so good we mainly self catered anyway.

2  Thank Sally H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2014

Don't miss the Roman columns re-utilized in the cathedral, visible from outside on the flanks, and even inside !

Thank DemandingGourmet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2014

Visited from Taormina. The main piazza and especially the large central church were very impressive. We originally planned to stay for a couple of days and I'm glad we did a day trip instead as I dont think there was a need to stay longer as there werent that many other attractions. Nice visit though.

Thank Jo_Aberdeen_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 August 2014

the great charm of small historical streets, stone balconies and cosy bars, art exhibitions in old palaces, and a wonderful historical city. Special mention to a bicycle trip.

Thank jedi62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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