Siracusa can best be described as having two distinct sections. . .Siracusa and the accompanying island of Ortigia. Although we went to Ortigia after visiting the amphitheater, then back to Siracusa, for purposes of making a bit more geographical sense of the journey, I’ll write about the additional attractions we visited in Siracusa.
Syracuse has the second largest and most important system of catacombs in the world after that of Rome. The only catacombs that currently can be easily visited are the Catacombs of San Giovanni. Our guide was fabulous and shared the history of the catacombs, actually an underground city of tombs. Approximately 20,000 graves, family tombs, and bits of ancient frescoes are evident. During World War II the citizens of Siracusa took shelter in the catacombs from the bombings overhead.
No photos are allowed, but some posters outside the catacombs offered me a photo op.
And a partial map of the catacombs. . .
As we approached Siracusa earlier in the day we were curious about this. . .
The sanctuary of Madonna Della Lacrime. . The Madonna of the Tears. . .is an ultra-modern. French designed cathedral.
we book-ended the ancient parts of Siracusa with a midday visit to Ortigia. Next post.