For fresh fish there's Il Grottino restaurant at the chic port while beach Hotel Maga Circe is one of the best places to bed down.
A mix of Greek, Roman, Arabic and Baroque architecture can be found in the vibrant open-air market at the center of this 2,700-year-old Sicilian city.
Each winding alley has a particular beauty and there's so much to see, from Apollo's temple and the magnificent Piazza del Duomo to the eerie catacombs that are second only to Rome's.
The city's archeological park features one of the greatest Greek theaters and a Roman arena once used for gladiator fights.
The most spectacular attraction is an immense botanic garden featuring dozens of caves from which limestone was extracted to build the city.
Around 8,000 Athenian slaves died in these caves after years of forced labor -- it's said that the caves still echo the prisoners' laments.
One of these is the Ear of Dionysius, a 30-meters high rock cavern. Legend has it that this is where the tyrant Dionysius jailed his enemies and could hear what they were conspiring through a side room (www.comune.siracusa.it).
Recommended restaurant for fresh fish and great appetizers: Archimede.
Hotel Gran Bretagna, housed in an elegantly renovated 19th century building, offers beautiful frescoed rooms.
Turn was Italy's first historical capital, where the country's kings lived. There's a regal feel to the city's sophisticated galleries, decorated arcades and 17th-century cafés and piazzas.
Turin is an elegant, charming spot in the wine-rich Piedmont northern region. It's nicknamed "Madama" (My Lady) and is good even on rainy days thanks to 14 kilometers of covered passages and a chessboard center: orthogonal streets make it impossible to get lost.
Majestic piazzas include Piazza San Carlo, a pedestrian open-air salon. Piazza Castello is worth visiting for a glimpse of the magnificent bronze horse statue and Piazza Vittoria provides Europe's biggest square.
The architectural symbol of the city is the Mole Antonelliana, a tall building with a superb 360-degree panorama, hosting the National Cinema Museum (www.comune.torino.it).
There are guided tours through the city's underground tunnels and passing by esoteric symbols, Masonic buildings, historic crime scenes and even some ghosts (www.somewhere.it).
Worth visiting too is the splendid royal palace Reggia di Venaria, a place of historical cafés and sophisticated aperitif lounges.
Caffé Mulassano was the meeting point of royal clerks and artists. Caffé Confetteria Al Bicerin is renowned for the "bicerin," a typical hot drink made of coffee, chocolate and cream served in a glass goblet.
Mood Libri e Caffé offers aperitifs in a trendy lounge bar setting while traditional meals -- like anchovies in green sauce -- can be found at restaurant L'Acino.
For some great shopping the comfy Hotel Victoria is close to the boutiques.
Tuscania offers a traveler's cocktail of Etruscan, Roman and the Renaissance worlds. Located in the countryside north of Rome, close to Tuscany's border, it was built by the Etruscans -- an Indo-European people wiped out by the Romans.
It's a necropolis city: once you pass the surrounding walls and enter the old city you'll see carved sarcophagi lining the streets.
There are guided tours to the Queen's Cave, Dado's tomb and the archaeological area of Colle San Pietro, featuring Roman mosaics, fragments of an ancient road and museum (www.turismotuscania.it).
The Etruscan Seven Spouts Fountain is a great sight too, but there's more to this town than medieval cathedrals and neighborhoods.