THE MOST SECRET GEM OF ORTIGIA ISLAND
Hypogeum in Syracuse is an
ancient cistern system created by the Greeks but turned into a refuge from the
Allied bombing unleashed upon the city of Syracuse during the Second World War.
Hypogeum in Syracuse is an
extensive underground tunnel network which was discovered in 1869. Hypogeum in
Syracuse is a passage through the bowels of the town
with its entrance in the Piazza Duomo and exit in the Foro Italico Harbour.
Hypogeum in Syracuse is open
to visitors from 10 am to 8 pm from September to July and from 10 am to
midnight in August.
Many visitors find it impressive. I don’t
know if so it is but certainly it is one of the interesting things to do in
Syracuse for both adults and children specially when done with guides.
hadn’t planned a visit to the Hypogeum (Ipogeo) in Ortigia Island, (Syracuse)
because we had not heard about it before our arrival. We just saw it casually
when we were in the Piazza Duomo. Panels displayed outside mentioned a guided
tour both in English and Italian included in the price and that sounded really
interesting since the ticket cost only five euros. We entered and bought the
tickets! Knowing already that the tour was with a guide we asked the girl at
the reception about the guide meeting point. She said that the guide had
already finished the rounds. We insisted because the board sign outside said
the tour was until 5 pm and it was not even 4 pm!
while trying to understand this disappointment with the cashier, a woman came
up from the stairs and said to the cashier that she could be available for one
more tour in one hour. That was a second disappointment!. We felt like our tour
depended on her mood.
photos outside gave high hopes of Hypogeum and we couldn’t believe that it
could be so badly organized and overall it was based on the decision of the
clarifying this situation we went for a quick walk and came back to Hypogeum an
hour later. The tour started from the square, at the foot of the garden of the
Archbishop’s palace, and ended by an exit close to the seashore (FORO ITALICO
EXIT). Believe me, the caves and the history behind these tunnel networks were
really very interesting. It was an ancient cistern system network built by the
Greeks but turned into a refuge from the Allied bombing unleashed upon the city
of Syracuse during the Second World War.
In the summer it is
certainly a welcome oasis of cool air but it could be very cold in the winter.
Sadly I also have to underline that it was not a wheelchair friendly visit
since the descent from the Piazza Duomo was possible only by the staircase. Let
me tell you one more thing he guide was very pushy at the exit by the seashore,
insisting that we should buy the boat trip around Ortigia Island. It was
evident that she would get commissions on sales. Take your time to decide,
don’t let them get to you because the boat trips around Ortigia Island cost
more or less the same everywhere.
my personal opinion, it would have been useless visiting it without a guide
because there was barely any information available on boards as you go around
the tunnels and they even don’t have audio guides. So, we considered ourselves
lucky that she could lead us along the way because otherwise, it would have
been a wasted opportunity to learn something exceptional. Nevertheless, the
presentation of history by the staff is to be improved!