Loitering beneath Palazzo Municipale are the scant remains of a 6th-century-BC Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis, as well as the modest traces of prehistoric stone huts. The best-preserved relic, however, is a medieval crypt with a row of niches once used by the schiattamorti (literally 'corpse squashers') to rest the dead while they poked and prodded all bodily fluids from them in preparation for burial.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Syracuse attractions

1. Palazzo Municipale

0.01 MILES

The Palazzo Municipale or Palazzo Senatoriale was built in 1629 by the Spanish architect Juan Vermexio, who was nicknamed 'Il Lucertolone' or 'the lizard'…

2. Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco

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In the northwestern corner of Piazza del Duomo is the Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco. While its origins are medieval, the baroque palace you see today is…

3. Duomo

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Built on the skeleton of a 5th-century BC Greek temple to Athena (note the Doric columns still visible inside and out), Syracuse's 7th-century cathedral…

4. Piazza del Duomo

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Syracuse's showpiece square is a masterpiece of baroque town planning. A long, rectangular piazza flanked by flamboyant palazzi, it sits on what was once…

5. Palazzo Arcivescovile

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The elegant, 17th-century Palazzo Arcivescovile is home to the Biblioteca Alagoniana and some rare 13th-century manuscripts.

6. Palazzo Lanza-Bucceri

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Syracuse's 'drawing room', Piazza Archimede is flanked by Catalan-Gothic palazzi, including Palazzo Lanza-Bucceri.

8. Fontana di Artemide

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At the heart of Ortygia is handsome Piazza Archimede, home to Giulio Moschetti's Fontana di Artemide. Constructed between 1906 and 1907, the fountain's…