Ortygia is the small island attached to Syracuse by three bridges which traverse a narrow stretch of water, forming the 'island' of Ortygia, which houses the old city section of Syracuse.
It is completely surrounded by waterfront bars, restaurants, hotels and private dwellings, all of varying interest.
There is some very fine old architecture and some lovely piazzas such as Piazza Archimede where the statue of Archimedes and other figures can be found in the centre of a large fountain. Not far away is Piazza del Duomo, a vast empty area in which is to be found the Cathedral, comprising the shell of the ancient Greek Temple within the more modern Roman Catholic church. The two styles of architecture can clearly be seen within the church and it is fascinating and clever how the two buildings have been incorporated together so well. Walking around the Piazza del Duomo area in the eveningis magical and there are many very acceptable restaurants in this area.
We walked around the island completely one evening, following the sea front road, and occasionally meandering inland when we saw an interesting alleyway, or an interesting bar. We felt safe in the streets (just as we did in Venice) but Ortygia reminded me a lot of Valletta, the capital of Malta; narrow alleyways, ornate balconies and suddenly masterpieces of architecture. Everywhere one looked there was history to see and the essence of a previous greatness filled the air.
We dined in the Via Cavour at no. 28 - a great diner called Sicilia in Tavola, which was highly recommended in TA. It comprises one small room so booking is essential.
We also found Osteria da Seby at Via Mirablla Vincenzo 21 (Tel 0931 181 5619) was excellent, and much easier to get a table, in fact we ate there 3 times and it became our 1st choice in Ortygia for good food and great value. The wine prices also were very reasonable. Via Mirabella Vincenzo is directly off the Via Dione on the left, if you are walking slightly uphill from the Temple of Apollo area, or (perhaps easier) 2nd left if walking up the main street of Ortygia - Corso Matteotti. http://www.planetware.com/map/siracusa-ortigia-map-i-siros_n.htm
If you like ice cream there is a very good gelateria at the top end of Via Cavour, near the Cathedral.
We found Ortygia (or Ortigia in Italian) fascinating and wished we'd had more time to spend there - not to be missed.
We found parking always pretty easy if you drive slowly around - maybe we were lucky. There are always parking places for next to nothing cost at the municipal parking area near the bridges.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.