Syracuse is the capital of the Italian province of the same name and an interesting mix of an old center and modern architecture. The old center is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with the nearby Necropolis of Pantalica. The city is a good operating base for exploring southeast Sicily.
The city has approximately 125,000 inhabitants.
Syracuse is located on the east coast of the Italian island of Sicily. The old, historical city is situated on an island (Ortygia).
Syracuse's economy mainly revolves around the large oil refineries near the city and the companies in the surrounding industrial area. The last few years, there's more emphasis on tourism, also because Syracuse is listed as a World Heritage Site. Besides the historical city, tourists are attracted by the various archeological sites nearby. They have also built a marina, Marina di Archimede. Fishing is of less importance, but agriculture in the surroundings isn't insignificant with citrus fruit plantations and vineyards.
The nearest airport is Catania Airport, over 60 kilometers north of Syracuse. Catania International Airport (officially: Aeroporto di Catania-Fontanarossa) is reachable by rental car via the SS114 and freeway A18.
The old city on the island of Ortygia is largely a pedestrian zone, but also small enough to explore by foot. Syracuse has good public bus transport, including a bus (line 26) to the Necropolis. There's also a train station with connections to Messina, Taormina and Catania.
The few parking places in the old city are almost all reserved for locals. To visit the old center it's best to park your rental car on one of the parking lots just outside the center. There are sufficient parking facilities on the Talete parking lot (free during the day; € 1,00 per night) and in the Molo San Antonio, the street just before the bridge to Ortygia.
With Syracuse being a World Heritage Site and growing tourism, the number of accommodations in and around the city has significantly increased. This doesn't mean there are now sufficient bed & breakfasts, guesthouses and hotels. We advise booking your hotel room in Syracuse well in advance. The city has a five-star hotel; cheaper accommodations can be found around the post office and near the Temple of Apollo. Real budget accommodations are concentrated near the train station.
For more information about Syracuse, we recommend Google and the following sources: