The south-eastern corner of Sicily has been the desired land for centuries, millennia even. It promised well-being, expansion and development for Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and the Spanish. Then and now, exiles of all ages found refuge and welcome, merchants created commerce, noblemen founded cities while others stimulated innovation in agriculture, art, town-planning, social-life and culture. This is where not only the history of Sicily began, but also the history of much of the Mediterranean area, studied, analysed, protected and handed down to us by great archaeologists like Paolo Orsi, Luigi Bernabò Brea and Giuseppe Voza.
Today, the desired lands around Siracusa are an extended museum, a permanent open-air exhibition, an uninterrupted account of extraordinary historical and archaeological sites that alternate with wild, untamed landscapes or act as a contrast to the unsettling mix of architectural styles and urban development. This is why there are two entries in the Unesco World Heritage List found in Siracusa and the province; Siracusa and the Rock-cut necropolises of Pantalica which links the extraordinary importance of the ancient city to the more than 5000 tombs carved into the rock-face of the Hyblean plateau; and the Late Baroque Cities of the Val di Noto which includes Noto and Palazzolo Acreide