Piazza Duomo is the main square of Syracuse, located in the historical center of the city, on the island of Ortygia. The semielliptical square gathers many beautiful Baroque buildings, but also houses ancient treasures, as we will see below.
The most important building in the square is, without doubt, the Baroque Cathedral of Syracuse, dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Cathedral, located to the east of the square, if one of the first Christian churches in Europe, and incorporates parts of a Greek doric temple dedicated to Athena, the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom and war.
Adjacent to the Cathedral is the Archbishop’s Palace, a beautiful palazzo built in Baroque style in 1618. The palace is, today, the seat of the Archdiocese of Syracuse, and houses the Archiepiscopal Seminary and the ancient Alagonian Library.
Next, we have the entrance to the Hypogeum of Piazza Duomo, a vast network of passages and tunnels dug in the soft limestone of the Ortygia island.
To the south of the square, there is the beautiful Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, dedicated to the patron saint of Syracuse, Saint Lucia. The church was built between 1695 and 1703, after a design of the architect Luciano Caracciolo.
Near the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, there is the Palazzo Borgia del Casale, built by a descendant of the Borgias, a noble family which rose to prominence during the Italian Renaissance.
The western limit of the square is drawn by the Palace of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Syracuse, where you can find a permanent exhibition of ancient coins, followed to the north by the Palazzo Arezzo della Targia, built at the behest of the aristocratic Arezzo family, and then by the wonderful Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco, built in 1778 for the noble family of Beneventano del Bosco.
To close the circle, we must mention the Palazzo del Vermexio, known also as the Palazzo del Senato, located to the north of the square, the current seat of the Municipality of Syracuse.
HOW TO GET THERE
Piazza Duomo is located about 1.7 kilometers from the Syracuse railway station. Although all roads on the Ortygia island converge to the square and is really easy to find it, if you need precise directions, you can use the map below.