Siracusa

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WorldMediterraneanItalySicilySiracusa
Siracusa
37°03.40′N, 15°17.40′E Chart icon.png
Siracusa.jpg
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Old town of Siracusa

The city of Siracusa (Syracuse) in Sicily has one of the most glittering histories of any city in the Mediterranean. Founded by Greek colonists from Corinth around 734BC, the city grew in importance to rival Athens, even defeating the Athenians in an epic sea battle in 413BC. After that date, Siracusa grew into one of the most important city states in the region, finally succumbing to the Romans after a prolonged naval siege in 212BC, at the end of which much of the population, including the great Greek mathematician Archimedes, was massacred. Subsequently passing through the hands of the Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Swabians, French and Spaniards, most of whom left their mark on the city, Siracusa became part of the unified Kingdom of Italy following Garibaldi’s conquest of Sicily. The city’s main attractions today consist of the original settlement on the island of Ortigia, rebuilt in Baroque style following a devastating earthquake in 1693, and the Parco Archeologico two kilometers to the NW, which contains most of the Greek and Roman remains. Visiting yachts have the option of an anchor moor on the old town quay on the west side of the island of Ortigia or berthing in one of Siracusa’s two small marinas. Marina Yachting lies just west of the town quay and the busy harbour of Porto Marmareo on the north side of the island.

Charts

Admiralty
1941 - Capo Passero to Capo Colonne
1018 - Approach to Stretto Messina
Italian
918

Weather

Prevailing winds on the east coast of Sicily are NE during the summer. During spring and winter winds are often from SE and W in addition to NE. Prevailing winds in Siracusa are an afternoon seabreeze, which blows across the harbour from late morning to evening and can raise an uncomfortable chop on the town quay and the pontoons of Marina Yachting. The entire harbour is uncomfortable in strong SE winds but not untenable.

Sources for weather forecasts:

  • There is a continuous (computerised voice) weather forecast on VHF 68 - first in Italian and then followed with an English translation
  • The same forecast is given in Italian and English on VHF coastal stations following a notification on channel 16
  • Navtex weather forecasts are broadcast from stations at Roma, Cagliari (Sardinia) and Augusta (Sicily)

Passages

Popular passages/routes, timing, etc.

Islands

None.

Communication

Also see World Cruiser's Nets.

Navigation

In the approach from north, the dangerous rocks of Scoglio dei Cani 300 metres east of Ortigia need to be given a good clearance. The castle at the southernmost point of the island of Ortigia is very conspicuous in the approach; the point should be given a clearance of at least 100 metres to avoid the rocks shoals surrounding it to the east and south.

Entrance

Siracusa is a port of entry to Italy.

For entrance details see Italy.

Berthing

The small and rather shallow harbour of Porto Marmareo, situated on the N side of Ortigia, is usually packed to capacity with local boats on its pontoons and catwalks and there is rarely space for visitors. Most visitors will usually have the option either of mooring on the old town quay, using their anchors to hold them off the nasty ledge which projects out from it, or on the pontoons of Marina Yachting just NNW of the town quay.

The town quay has space for around 40 yachts up to 50 metres. Depths at the quay are 4.0 - 6.0 metres and the holding reasonable in mud. Visitors to Marina Yachting are usually berthed on the outside of the wavebreak pontoon, which is not the most comfortable place to be in the prevailing SW sea breezes.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

Anchorages

Excellent anchorage in 8 metres over mud west of the marina. Water is clean but unclear. Leave dinghy in south west corner of marina. Cooler than marina and no issues with afternoon breeze.

Alternately, anchor in the south of the bay, clear of the mussel farm. The holding is good in mud and shelter in the afternoon sea breezes is better than on the town quay.

Yacht Repairs and Services

Marine Stores

Submit addresses and contact details of marine related businesses that are of interest to cruisers.

Repairs/Yards

Mobile crane (100T). Outdoor storage. Engine, electrical and electronic repairs. Wood and steel hull repairs. Divers.

Fuel, Water, & Electricity

Fuel station on the quay (0800 - 1600). Water on the quay (needs to be turned on by water man). Water and electricity at both marinas.

Things to do Ashore

Tourism

On the island of Ortigia, the cathedral has a fascinating history. Originally a 7th century BC temple to Athena, subsequent rebuilding by Byzantines, Saracens and Spaniards have left a structure that incorporates ancient Doric columns, a Gothic interior and a Baroque façade following the disastrous 1693 earthquake. The Piazza del Duomo is surrounded by impressive Baroque palazzos. Further south on the quayside is an ancient freshwater spring, the Fontana Arethusa, where ducks disport themselves among natural growing papyrus plants. Most of Siracusa’s ancient treasures are found in the Parco Archeologico two kilometers to the NW. The 5th century BC Teatro Greco is carved from solid rock and could seat around 16,000 people. The nearby Latomia (garden) del Paradiso, a former Greek limestone quarry and now an orange grove, contains the amazing Orecchio di Dionisio, a man-made cave shaped like a human ear canal and possessing an astonishing acoustic. Also in this area are the huge, public altar of Ara di Gerone (capable of dispatching 450 oxen at a time) and a nearby necropolis traditionally said to incorporate the tomb of Archimedes. The later Roman amphitheatre associated with the site really just a ruin now, having been extensively quarried by the Spaniards. In rainy weather, the Museo Regionale Archeologico some 500 metres east of the Parco Archeologico, has a huge and exhaustive collection of sculptures, terracottas and bronzes excavated from tombs of the Greek period and a section devoted to Sicily during the prehistoric and Neolithic periods, including skeletons of dwarf elephants and hippo bones. The museum also has an interesting display of model reconstructions of the once great temples of Ortigia – Athena and Apollo. From there it is a short walk to the Catacombs of San Giovanni, entered through the ruins of a Norman church, where one can take a whistle-stop tour of the burial galleries (which are better lit and bigger although less atmospheric than the ones in Rome), including underground rotundas carved from the cisterns of a former Greek aqueduct.

Siracusa
Teatro Greco
The intriguing Orecchio di Dionisio
Cathedral in Ortigia
Baroque fountain, Ortigia


Grocery & Supply Stores

Numerous provisions shops and supermarkets in the new town (across the bridge from Ortigia).

  • Nautica - Via Malta 10 tel +39 (0) 931 1854219 is excellent.

Eateries

  • Trattoria la Foglia behind the cathedral was excellent in 2003 --Athene of Lymington 12:01, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Many good restaurants in the old town. The ones without a view are better value.

Internet/WiFi

No.

Laundry

Excellent, inexpensive laundry just North of middle bridge to Ortigua - Corso Umberto 1 tel 327 540 6891 washanddrysiracusa@gmail.com

Motorbike & Car Rentals

Rental outlets in the new town.

Garbage Disposal

Along the quay and in the marinas.

Transportation

Friends

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forums

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

Links

References & Publications

See Italy.

Comments

We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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Date of member's last visit to Siracusa and this page's details validated:



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SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Lighthouse, Athene of Lymington,Monterey


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