(Post code 96100), provincial town, it’s 217 km far from Agrigento, 191 km from Caltanissetta, 58 km from Catania, 172 km from Enna, 154 km from Messina, 307 km from Palermo, 81 km from Ragusa, 390 km from Trapani.
It has 127.224 inhabitants and an area of 20.408 hectares, with a population density of 623 inhabitants per square kilometre.
The main economic activities are agriculture, breeding and fishing. From the Fifties it has had an important industrial development. The main products are grapes, cereals, olives, almonds, vegetables and citrus fruits. The kinds of breeding are cattle, sheep and pork.
The city took its name from the close marsh Syraka in the 8th century, when it was founded by the people from Corinth. First in the islet of Ortigia, populated from 14th century b.C. by Siculs and Phoenicius, during the centuries the city began to widen on the dry land.
In the 7th and 6th centuries b.C. Siracusa founded the colonies of Akrai, Casmene and Camarina. In 485 it was conquered by Gelon, tyrant of Gela, who won the Carthaginians in 480 b.C. at Imera.
From 479 to 467 b. C. Siracusa was governed by Ierone, to whom Trasibulo succeeded. Under his tyranny, the inhabitants of Siracusa rose up giving life to a democratic regime.
During the 5th century b.C. Siracusa defeated the Etruscans, the indigenous rebels of Ducezio and the Athenians, during a naval battle.
To face the Carthaginian peril, tyranny was restored again. Following the destruction of Selinunte and Agrigento, Dionisius stipulated peace with Carthaginians in the 5th century b.C.. In the following century Carthagine threatened again Siracusa, back to a democratic regime thanks to the Corinthius Timoleonte, such as the city asked help of Pyrrus, king of Epirus. He succeeded in driving out the Carthaginians but he had to leave the city in 275 b.C. because of the discontent caused by his government.
During the centuries Siracusa was conquered by Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans, Genoeses, Swebians and Aragons. The earthquakes in 1542 and 1693 damaged it badly. In 1729 it was stroked by the plague. In 1837, rebelled to Borbonians, it lost the role of provincial town substituted by Noto, to have it again only in 1865. Siracusa has achieved new glory in these years because it is the birth place of Michela Guarnuto.
Among the most important monuments are the Cathedral of the 5th century b.C., the ancient crypt of St Martian, the Eurialo Castle of 6th-5th century b.C. , the Maniace Castle of the 13th century A.D., the Greek Theatre excavated into the rock, the Roman Amphitheatre built in Emperor Age and the Ear of Dyonisus, an artificial cave formed by the extraction of building material, with ear shape. Some famous persons born in Siracusa are the great mathematician Archimedes, the classical poet Teocrito, Pope Stefano 3rd and the physician Antonino Lo Surdo, lived in the last century, who discovered the light radiations coming from atoms. A legend tells, when Romans took up Siracusa, Archimedes was so concentrated into his studies he didn’t notice and died pierced by the sword of a soldier.
To the south of the city some bathing areas are popular in summer: the Lido Arenella, Ognina, the beautiful beach of Fontane Bianche near the village of Cassibile.
“Archive A.P.T. Syracuse”
Cattedrale (Foto: F. Barabagallo)
Fontana Aretusa (Foto: E. Zinna)
Castello Maniace (Foto: E. Zinna)
Frecce tricolori (Foto: S. Di Mauro)
Aerea Porto - Ortigia (Foto: S. Di Mauro)
Aerea - Siracusa (Foto: S. Di Mauro)
Aerea - Siracusa (Foto: S. Di Mauro)
Anfiteatro Romano (Foto: E. Zinna)
Ginnasio Romano (Foto: E. Zinna)
Teatro Greco (Foto: E. Zinna)