Nowadays with a population of 120000 Siracusa is a shadow of its former greatness. It was, according to Cicero, the greatest Greek city of them all and in its heyday had a population of over 300.000 souls. The last twenty years has seen a resurgence in the city’s fortunes, and it is now a major tourist destination, above all the small ‘teardrop’ island of Ortigia, which was the heart of the original city, and has Greek and baroque buildings in abundance. The new town is a sprawling mass, but at the far end of Corso Gelone you can find the archeological park with its stunning Greek theatre, and the famous Ear of Dionysis.
Although surrounded by the sea, Siracusa has no beach of its own, and you will have to travel south to Arenella and Fontane Bianche to find sandy beaches and limpid water. The city itself is a fascinating place, and is an ideal base for a holiday in the south east of the island. Two cruise ship docks have just opened, which will mean an influx of day trippers to Ortigia, but in the evenings it remains a haunt of locals who go there for their passeggiata.