The Hypogeum in Ortigia Island (Syracuse)

April 7, 2019Niry Fidelis
Hypogeum in 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.

Hypogeum in Syracuse is cedrtainly one of the interesting thing to do in the Ortigia Island for both adults and children specially when done with guides.

Things to do in Ortigia

Read before buying your tickets.

We hadnโ€™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!

Things to do in Ortigia

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! 

Suddenly 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.

Hypogeum in Syracuse

The photos outside gave high hopes of Hypogeum and we couldnโ€™t believe that it could be so badly organized and overall it was based on the decision of the staff. 

After 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. 

Hypogeum in Syracuse

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 the 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. 

Things to do in Ortigia

In 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 donโ€™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!

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Comments (7)

  • Brent Huntley

    April 10, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    That looks really cool! Definitely my type of gem

  • Emily

    April 11, 2019 at 12:32 am

    This seems like my kind of adventure! Awesome post!

  • Nourishing Tweens

    April 11, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    It sounds like you were lucky to get a guide to take you through. I love finding some surprising places to go, and underground places always seem so secret and special.

  • Italian Trip Abroad

    April 12, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    I am Italian but I have never been here. This is good to know, maybe one day will discover this part of Sicily.

  • Akriti

    April 13, 2019 at 2:19 am

    I feel kinda scared of underground place. Don't know why it makes me feel claustrophobic but I love reading about them! Italy is so beautiful everything looks interesting.

  • Laura

    April 14, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Iโ€™ve never heard of Ortigia island. I would love to read more about it. Thanks for writing it

  • Summer

    June 11, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Wow! Never heard of this place before. Thanks for the heads up and tips.

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