What to see in Syracuse and surrounding areas
Nature trails and guided tours
The archaeological site and nature reserve of Noto Antica, on Mount Alveria, at 409 metres above sea level, is a great holiday destination: many traces of human presence date back to the prehistoric period.
In this itinerary, it will be possible to visit the ruins of the ancient fortified walls of the city, the castle, many building and churches and patrician palaces. A highly evocative trail will guide you to Cava Carosello where men over the centuries exploited the water present in the valley to create many tanneries carved in the limestone for the treatment of animal skins, to obtain leather. At the bottom of the valley, the stream bank vegetation casts shadows offering a unique relax opportunity near the fresh water of the Carosello stream, which creates characteristic natural potholes along its path.
Here it’s possible to see the ruins of an ancient lime kiln used for the production of lime sludge, the rocky church of San Giuliano with few traces of frescoes and a complex system of water channels that made use of the natural inclination of the ground.
The “Oasi Faunistica di Vendicari” Nature Reserve, located few kilometres from Noto, represents one of the main natural attractions of south-eastern Sicily. Characterized by the presence of dunes along the coast, with more than 300 species of plants and 354 species of birds inhabiting it, especially in autumn, winter and spring – sometimes also in summer – it’s a protected area full of charm and naturalistic interest.
It covers 8 km along the coast: in its central part, it’s possible to spot important human-made structures for the defence of the coast against Saracen and Turkish attacks, but most of all for the fishing, treatment and canning of Mediterranean bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus).
The itinerary also leads to former fishermen houses, today converted into the visitors center-ecomuseum of the nature reserve; to the warehouses and the plants for the treatment, cooking and canning of bluefin tuna, the most exquisite and sought-after for the quality of its meat, less fat and tastier. Positioned to defend the coast and the ancient port of Noto, the Vendicari tower is a wonderful testimony of the Aragonese period.
PANTALICA VAL D'ANAPO
The “Pantalica Val d’Anapo e Torrente Cava Grande” Nature Reserve covers 3.712,07 hectares and is part of the Hyblaean plateau; it includes several cities of the province of Syracuse. It’s a protected area, highly valuable from the naturalistic and archaeological point of view, that includes the necropolis of Pantalica, Unesco World Heritage Site, with more than 5.000 rock-cut tombs carved in the limestone rock.
The itinerary includes a visit to the rocky houses of the Byzantine period, to the Cavetta village and the church of San Micidiario, the church of San Nicolicchio and the church of the Crocifisso. A particular archaeological interest is attributed to the ruins of the Princely Palace (Anaktoron) from the prehistoric period, built with Mycenean influences. At the bottom of the valley, strolling along the old railway line Siracusa-Vizzini-Ragusa (nowadays a cycle/pedestrian track) it’s possible to admire the flourishing bank vegetation: oriental planes, willows, poplars, oaks, elderberries and specimens of the Mediterranean scrub like myrtles, euphorbia, lentisk, terebinth.
Many trails are available inside the reserve; moreover, the abundant water of the Anapo river allows a refreshing bath during summer, letting you enjoy the river environment of South-Eastern Sicily.
CHOOSE YOUR NATURALISTIC tour
The itineraries and the guided tours are offered by SicilyRoute and realized by Marco Mastriani, a certified naturalistic guide for Sicily.
The visits have a variable duration (half or full day) and can be modulated according to your requests or needs, in Italian or in English.
Information and reservations