Greek Syracuse

This is an excerpt from the book “Sicily”.

Syracuse, Greek Theatre - Photo © MarianOne
Syracuse, Greek Theatre – Photo © MarianOne

Once described by Cicero as “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all”, the ancient core of Syracuse is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Of Corinthian origin, the city was founded by Archia in 734 B.C. A notable economic and military development quickly followed.

After conquering the nearby cities it won important battles against the Carthaginians and Etruscans, thus coming to dominate the entire western Mediterranean.

Politically it alternated tyranny with periods of democracy, attaining great splendor in the arts and in letters (as may be seen by the presence of Aeschylus, Simonides, Bacchylides and Pindar).

Of its ancient splendor there remain: the Theater; the Temples of Apollo, Olympian Jove and Athena; the Altar of Hiero II; the “Latomie” (quarries used as prisons) ; the Eurialo Castle.

Siracusa ancient money

Siracusa Greek Theatre

Megara Hyblea

One of the first Greek colonies in Sicily, it was founded by Lamis of Megara in 728 B.C., later destroyed by Gelon and subsequently refunded by Timoleonte in 340 B.C. Its development was hampered by the proximity of such powerful neighbors as Lentini and’ Siracusa. Important archaeological material has been unearthed, such as the City Walls, the Agora with the remains of monumental buildings, and a series of arterial roads that give us a glimpse of the overall town plan. The Megarians were also the founders of Selinunte.

Siracusa Isola delle Correnti - Photo © MarianOne
Siracusa Isola delle Correnti – Photo © MarianOne

Lentini (Leontinoi)

Founded in 729 B.C. by the Chalcidians of Naxos, who were attracted by the fertility of the plain. Fallen under the rule first of Siracusa and then of Rome, in the end it was destroyed and sacked. Visible remains include the City Walls, the Necropolis and valuable finds that are preserved in a small Archaeological Museum.

Palazzolo Acreide
Palazzolo Acreide – “Santoni”

Palazzolo Acreide (Akrai)

Colony under Siracusan dominion founded as a military outpost in 664 B.C. The most important remaining monuments are: the Theater, the meeting-place of the Council, the “Latomie” and some rock-incisions representing divinities (the so-called “Santoni”).


First colony to be founded by Siracusa at the end of the 8th cent. B.C. in a strategic position, further south on the Sicilian coast, from which it was possible to dominate the fertile valley crossed by the Asinaro and Tellaro rivers.

Where to stay in Syracuse

There are hotels, B&Bs, villas and apartments available, check them out and make a reservation here.