Historical things to see on Ortigia Island

Updated on Nov 03, 2017 by Stacey Parsons

Blog > Historical things to see on Ortigia Island

Explore some of this tiny island's most impressive historical monuments.

A small yet enchanting island just off the coast of Syracuse in south east Sicily, the island of Ortigia is a must-see for visitors to this region. You can explore most of the town in a day, but we’ve put together a short list of some historical gems which are well-worth a visit during your Sicily holiday.


Temple of Apollo ruins

First up, the ruins of the Temple of Apollo cannot be missed, especially as they are so easy to find. Dating back to the 6th century BC, these ruins are the oldest known Doric temple in Western Europe and although there is not a great deal left, it’s still impressive to think of the scale of what was here before. When you cross over onto the island, simply walk straight and within a few minutes the ruins will appear before you.


Piazza del Duomo

A place laden with beautiful baroque architecture, you won’t struggle to find many a picture-perfect moment here. Among its many impressive buildings to absorb, Piazza del Duomo is also home to the ancient Syracuse Cathedral – an elegant and mighty Catholic church which was built (as it looks today) in the 7th century. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, it boasts an incredibly intricate baroque design and is sure to be the focus for most visitors when wandering the square.

Image credit: luigi nifosi | Shutterstock


Castello Maniace

Located on Ortigia’s southern tip, Castello Maniace is a 13th century castle which is open to the public to explore. Although this castle started life in 1038 as a fort, it was rebuilt between 1232-1240 and was taken up residence by a number of royals until the 15th century when it was adapted to become a prison, and subsequently altered further after significant damage from an explosion.

Image credit: T.Slack | Shutterstock

If you’re tempted to explore this history-packed island for yourself, we’ve got a number of properties located in Val di Noto and the South East, many of which are ideally placed for a day-trip. 


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