Ortygia © realloc
The Ponte Nuova (New Bridge) connects the mainland city of Syracuse to the island of Ortygia, where most of the area's worthy sights are located. The island was fortified by Greek colonists and the remains of the Temple of Apollo can still be visited in the Piazza Pancali: this is the oldest Greek temple in Sicily, built in the Doric style around 565 BC. The cathedral in the nearby Piazza Duomo is uniquely made up of the original walls of a 5th-century BC Greek temple known as the Athenaion, and near the sea, reached along Via Capodieci, is the mythical Spring of Arethusa. There are medieval relics on the island too, including Maniaces Castle, dating from the 11th century. Apart from the many historic sights, the island of Ortygia also offers numerous boutiques and craft shops, and restaurants and cafes galore. The winding streets are charming and there are treasures to be found around many corners. Walking is the best way to get around on Ortygia as the narrow, winding streets can be difficult to navigate by car and parking is often scarce. Several hours are required to explore the island fully. Be sure to bring along the camera as the island is delightfully picturesque.