This excursion is dedicated to visiting the city of Siracusa and Noto. Siracusa was the first Greek megalopolis dating back to 734 BC, immediately after the discovery of Naxos. We will stop at the archaeological park to admire the remains of the impressive Greek Theatre and Roman amphitheatre, we will then proceed towards the Island of Ortigia linked by 2 bridges to the mainland. We will first meet the temple of Apollo which is the oldest Doric temple in the west of Magna Graecia, then the Cathedral of Siracusa with the nativity church of Maria Santissima where 2500 years of history and culture merge.
We will then move on to the city of Noto, listed as a UNESCO heritage site. Noto is the capital of Sicilian Baroque and has one of the most beautiful floral displays in Sicily which takes place in May every year. Noto was destroyed together with Siracusa by the terrible earthquake of 1963. Rebuilt by the hands of expert stone masons in an innovative and artistic way. From the Royal Gate you enter Corso Vittorio Emanuele where you will have free access to the main attractions including the Cathedral of San Nicolò and the Palazzo Ducezio.
Italiano, English, Español
At your Accommodation
SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY
Full refund if cancelled prior to 48 hours of the experience
The day will begin with the collection from your accommodation at a pre-arranged time.
Siracusa was founded in 734 BC from a Greek colony, fleeing from their own country due to invasions and wars, looking for equilibrium with the local population the Siculi. Siracusa experienced a very rapid expansion thanks to the favourable conditions such as the climate and the presence of fresh water in the earth.
The first stop is the Park of Neapolis built around 500 BC, in the same place we find the Greek-Roman Theater built on a hill to the south with a view of Ortigia and the famous Ear of Dionysius. So called by the great Caravaggio who saw a large ear at the top, but which is actually a large artificial cave from which the stone for the local constructions was obtained, called the Latomia of paradise, here the prisoners of war were locked up and starved to death.
We find ourselves standing in front of the most ancient Greek relic in the western world, we can admire how the circumference of the columns is greater than the distance between them, demonstrating the antiquity of the structure which lent itself over the millennia to being the seat of worship for many religions and a sacrificial place for many traditions of different denominations.
Ortigia represents the oldest part of Siracusa, it can be reached from the mainland by the 2 bridges "new bridge" and "old bridge" the latter entirely built in stone. Ortigia extends for approximately 1 square km and is a concentration of historic art and culture.
In the port area we find what must have been the only entrance in the Spanish era "Porta Marina", close by "Fonte Aretusa" a fountain fed by one of the many natural underground sources of water, helping for many years the Papyrus plant grow, the symbol of the city. Further on "the old public wash" dating back to the 1700s, located 4 metres below ground level of the adjacent promenade, also fed by the same fresh water.
The "Castello di Maniace", the most imposing defensive structure of the era of Swabian domination, was constructed in the 12th century by Giorgio Maniace.
The Cathedral of Siracusa stands in the centre of the largest square in the city where you will find some of the most important historic buildings of Ortigia. The Cathedral was a Doric-style temple dedicated to the goddess of war Athena, wanted by the tyrant Gelone in 480 BC. Constructed to thank the gods for the victory against the Carthaginians. It was later incorporated by the Byzantines who closed the space between the columns by building the solid walls and other internal parts of the structure and then donated it to the church and the Christian religion. It is thought that during the Arab domination it was converted into a mosque, but in the 12th century thanks to the Normans it was once again used by the Christian religion as it is today.
We will arrive in Noto, capital of the Baroque architecture in Sicily and a listed UNESCO heritage site.
The entrance to Corso Vittorio Emanuele is from the Royal Gate which was built in honour of King Ferdinand whilst visiting Noto in the mid-1850s. This place was a very important centre of cult as evidenced by the presence of many churches close together.
Worth a visit in the third week of May is the Via Corrado Nicolaci, where you will find one of the most beautiful events in Sicily "L'Infiorata", included in the Unesco's List. This is an 80 year old Sicilian tradition which consists in adorning the floor of an entire street by covering it with drawings and creations of handmade works of art by the flower designers using petals and flowers.
The Cathedral of Noto, named after S. Nicolò, was built in the 17th century, for many years it was the base of the archbishop of the Sicilian Diocese. Unfortunately following the 1990 earthquake it was partially destroyed but the most serious event occurred in 1996 when one of the pillars collapsed due to defective construction causing the entire dome to collapse. This was restored in a long process of restoration and donated to humanity in 2007.
Directly opposite the Cathedral we find Palazzo Ducezio, in honour of the leader Ducezio who founded Noto. This is currently a government building, built in French style in 2 different historical moments, the first floor was built between the 17th and 18th century while the upper floor in the first half of the 20th century by the hands of the architect La Grassa.
This is where the tour ends and we head back to your accommodation.
The order of the events will be communicated by your Driver on the day • All activities will be carried out on foot, in a car or minivan • All refreshments and wine tastings are excluded
We will collect you from your accommodation at a previously agreed time between 8.30am and 9am.
Your guide will be an experienced driver that speaks: Italian, English, Spanish , with a deep knowledge of the local area.
We recommend booking this excursion in advance to avoid disappointment, especially during days of festivities. We require at least 2 days notice and bookings are subject to availability.
To make a reservation, follow the link at the bottom of the page. You will be contacted within 24 hours by our booking team who will confirm your booking and assist you in preparing for your excursion.
Tour cancellation is free up to 48 hours before the start of the activity. We remind you that if you cancel your reservation with less time, arrive late or do not show up, the refund will not be made.
Free and without obligation