Tour difficulty

  • Easy
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3 hours

Sicily Walking Tours: City Tours

Introductory Tour of Ortigia


Exploring Ortigia: A Treasure Trove of History and Beauty

An Introductory Tour of Ortigia with Your Own Italy offers a captivating journey through the heart of Syracuse’s ancient island city. Ortigia, a small island connected to the mainland by bridges, is the historical center of Syracuse and is renowned for its stunning baroque architecture, ancient Greek ruins, and crystal-clear Mediterranean waters. This personalized tour immerses you in the rich tapestry of cultures, histories, and flavors that have shaped Ortigia over the centuries, from its origins as a Greek colony to its current status as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Exploring Ortigia: A Treasure Trove of History and Beauty

Piazza del Duomo and the Cathedral of Syracuse
Begin your exploration in the Piazza del Duomo, the vibrant heart of Ortigia. This elegant square is home to the Cathedral of Syracuse (Duomo di Siracusa), a masterpiece of baroque architecture built on the site of an ancient Greek temple. The cathedral’s layers of history are visible in its columns and structure, offering a fascinating glimpse into Ortigia’s past.

Fountain of Arethusa
A short walk from the Piazza del Duomo leads you to the legendary Fountain of Arethusa, a freshwater spring with a mythological history. According to legend, the nymph Arethusa was transformed into this spring by Artemis to escape the river god Alpheus. Today, the fountain is a serene spot where papyrus plants grow, and ducks meander, offering a peaceful respite from the city streets.

Castello Maniace
Venture to the southern tip of Ortigia to visit the Castello Maniace, a formidable fortress built during the Swabian period under Emperor Frederick II. The castle’s strategic position at the edge of the island provides stunning views of the sea and surrounding coastline. Explore the castle’s ramparts and courtyards to discover its military history and architectural significance.

Jewish Baths and the Giudecca
Ortigia’s rich history includes a significant Jewish heritage, highlighted by the recently discovered Jewish Ritual Baths (Miqwe). Located in what was once the Giudecca (Jewish Quarter), these ancient baths are among the oldest in Europe and offer insight into the daily and spiritual life of the Jewish community in medieval Syracuse.

Local Markets and Sicilian Cuisine
No tour of Ortigia is complete without experiencing its culinary delights. Visit the local market, where vendors sell fresh seafood, vegetables, cheeses, and other Sicilian specialties. Enjoy a tasting of local products, such as arancini (rice balls), cannoli, and freshly made pasta, accompanied by a glass of Nero d’Avola, Sicily’s signature red wine.

Your Own Italy: Unveiling the Essence of Ortigia

With Your Own Italy, your introductory tour of Ortigia is designed to provide an authentic and engaging exploration of Syracuse’s ancient island city. Whether you’re fascinated by Ortigia’s architectural wonders, its mythological stories, or its culinary heritage, we ensure your experience is as enriching as it is memorable.

Embark on Your Ortigia Adventure

Are you ready to delve into the history, beauty, and flavors of Ortigia? Contact Your Own Italy to plan your personalized tour. Discover the charm and elegance of Syracuse’s ancient heart, creating lasting memories of this enchanting Sicilian island.

What's Included

  • Expert, licensed English-speaking guide
  • Private tour of Ortigia

Tips for Your Ortigia Tour

Comfortable Footwear: Ortigia’s streets are often narrow and cobblestoned, making comfortable shoes a must.
Sun Protection: The Mediterranean sun can be strong, especially in open areas like the seafront, so sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses are recommended.
Respect for Cultural Sites: When visiting religious or historical sites, dress modestly and be mindful of local customs and regulations.
Stay Hydrated: Keep a water bottle handy to stay hydrated as you explore Ortigia’s rich history and vibrant culture.


Is there a dress code I should know about?
There is a dress code for churches and basilicas. Shoulders and knees must be covered; shorts, miniskirts, and sleeveless shirts are not permitted. It is also recommended that you not take large bags or backpacks on tours that include churches as you may not be permitted to enter and storage accommodations are not usually available.
What if there is bad weather?
Our tours operate rain or shine!
Is tipping customary in Italy?
Tipping is indeed customary in Italy ! It is considered a kind gesture and proper etiquette to leave “a little something extra” depending on the level of service you receive. For a private guide it is suggested to leave 15 – 25 euros for a typical 3-hour tour.
What happens after I’ve requested a booking through your website?
Your Own Italy will send a confirmation email within 24 hours of your booking. You will then be invited to make your payment using a link that will be provided.
Can wheelchair users go on this walking tour?
Not all walking tours are fully accessible for wheelchair users or those with walking disabilities. However, if anyone in your group requires special accommodation, please let us know when completing the booking and we will work out suitable alternative routes.
Can tours be modified?
Yes, we will do our best to adjust any tour to accommodate special requests.
How far in advance should I book my walking tour?
Tours should be booked 48 hours in advance. While we cannot guarantee availability if booking occurs in less than 48 hours, we will do our best to accommodate your request.
What are Your Own Italy’s payment terms?
Full payment is due when the tour confirmation email is sent, within 24 hours of your booking. You will be provided with a link to our payment page. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
What is your cancellation policy?
Tours must be canceled by email 24 hours prior to the start of the tour. If cancellation is made in less than this time, Your Own Italy cannot guarantee a full refund.
How do I amend a reservation?
Any changes to existing reservations must be requested by email. All efforts will be made to accommodate changes, but they cannot be guaranteed.
What should I do if I have a larger group than the size suggested on the website?
Your Own Italy is delighted to accommodate large groups. Please specify the number in your party when booking, and every effort will be made to organize a tour within the time limits provided.

Meeting Point

Please specify when booking whether you would prefer to meet your private guide at your accommodations or at a designated point near the highlights of the tour.

Duration Of Tour

Walking Tours last approximately 3 hours unless otherwise specified.
Tour times are average – some groups prefer a more leisurely pace with fewer sites, with your private guide, this is your option.