Siracusa, the ancient Greek colony of Syrakus,was "done" as a day trip from Acireale. This was the city in Sicily that impressed me most and that I remember best. We spent most of a day there, so we had a bit more time there than in the other destinations, including some free time to ourselves. After spending almost a week among this difficult group I enjoyed walking and looking round all by myself.
We visited the archaeological sites on the mainland first: the so called Ear of Dionysos, an artificial cave in an ancient stone quarry which has excellent acoustics, the Roman theatre, the amphitheatre and the other excavations.
Then we crossed the bridge to the old centre. The old town is located on an island named Ortigia. The island is divided from the mainland by a narrow stretch of sea water which makes a perfect boat harbour. Around the main piazza the town has remarkable baroque architecture, churches and palazzi. The cathedral has a baroque façade, too, but the church behind is much, much older. An ancient temple has been transformed into the cathedral. The Doric columns are still visible in the northern wall and the interior. A walk around the island offers many views of the sea, the harbours, the buildings.
The residential quarters especially on the northern half of Ortigia are a maze of little streets and alleys, many of them dead-end. Very picturesque, but it is hard to find your way. Better not venture in unless you either are with someone who knows the place or have enough time at hand to risk getting lost. My sense of direction is actually quite good, but at the second street corner I quickly decided not to continue but to return to the shore and rather continue the walk around the edge of the island instead of through the middle.