As a result this place took off fast in the early days, quickly rivaling the great Greek cities of Athens and Corinth for influence. By some accounts, Syracuse may have been the largest city in the ancient world in its heyday. But the heyday didn’t last too long. Within just a few hundred years of Syracuse’s founding, Rome was on the rise and Greek satellites were lost. Then Rome fell and all of Sicily was passed from conqueror to conqueror until the Northern Italians took over most recently in the 1860s.
That leaves the Syracuse of today: an ancient city, a crumbling shadow of its former self, in a lovely setting, with some wonderful ruins, and a still vibrant and romantic core that is hard not to love. And a surprising number of really appealing restaurants with incredible Sicilian food and cheap delicious wine.
On top of that, we found a cozy hotel that sits on a gorgeous little beach just barely off the island, an easy fifteen minute walk from the center. It’s a magical spot, where we get up for a delightful breakfast, spend a long morning on the beach, walk into town for lunch in one of the perfect little restaurants, return to the beach for the afternoon, then go back to town in the evening for another amazing dinner. We could get used to this.