Castello Maniace


Guarding the island's southern tip, Ortygia's 13th-century castle is an evocative place to wander, gaze out over the water and contemplate Syracuse's past glories. Built for Emperor Frederick II, it's an important example of Swabian (German) architecture, with a magnificent, vaulted central hall (Sala Ipostila). The grounds house a small antiquarium displaying archaeological objects from the site, including Norman-era ceramics and some curious-looking ceramic hand grenades from the 16th century.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Syracuse attractions

1. Fontana Aretusa

0.26 MILES

Down the winding main street from the cathedral is this ancient spring, where fresh water still bubbles up just as it did in ancient times when it was the…

2. Galleria Regionale di Palazzo Bellomo

0.26 MILES

Housed in a 13th-century Catalan-Gothic palace, this art museum's eclectic collection ranges from early Byzantine and Norman stonework to 19th-century…

3. Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia

0.34 MILES

The Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia is dedicated to the city's patron saint, St Lucy, martyred in Syracuse during the reign of the Roman emperor…

4. Museo dei Pupi

0.37 MILES

The small Museo dei Pupi chronicles the history of Sicilian puppetry, with a particular focus on the role local puppeteers Alfredo and Saro Vaccaro played…

5. Palazzo Arcivescovile

0.38 MILES

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

6. Duomo

0.39 MILES

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…

7. Piazza del Duomo

0.39 MILES

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…

8. Miqweh

0.42 MILES

Buried 20m beneath the Alla Giudecca hotel in Ortygia's old Jewish ghetto (known as the Giudecca) is an extraordinary ancient Jewish miqwe (ritual bath),…