Island of Ortygia, Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
Info. Ortygia, a small island off the coast of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
This is a bird's-eye view of Ortygia, a small island just offshore of Syracuse, on Sicily’s east coast in Italy. Ortygia is considered Syracuse's ‘old town’ and the historical centre of the city. A narrow channel separates the island from Syracuse and two bridges connect Ortygia to mainland Sicily. Ancient Greeks first colonised this island in the 8th century BCE, and the town is packed with 2,700 years of history. Walk Ortygia’s narrow streets and you’ll see Greek and Roman ruins, medieval Norman buildings and examples of Baroque architecture.
Greek legend tells of the goddess Leto, who stopped at Ortygia to give birth to her twins, Artemis and Apollo. Visitors today can pay homage to the mythology with a visit to the Temple of Apollo, which dates from the 6th century BCE, making it the oldest Doric temple in Sicily. But for some, the most magnificent attraction to Ortygia is the Mediterranean Sea, which surrounds the island in a sparkling blue.