In addition to Egypt on the banks of the Nile, the Papyrus grows in nature only in Siracusa, between the banks of the Ciane river and at the Fonte Aretusa in Ortigia, Siracusa. Here are the only papyruses in Europe. The only ones in the world outside Egypt.

The first certain reference on the production of papyrus in Syracuse is found in a letter of 1760, written by Abbot Salvatore Di Blasi. Testimonies of travellers, however, mention the production of paper obtained from papyrus in Siracusa already at the beginning of the second half of the eighteenth century. The merit of having started a papyrus production activity in Siracusa is attributed to Saverio Landolina who began the study and experiments on the manufacture of the plant in 1780, following the indications described by the Latin author Pliny the Elder. Landolina’s work was continued for many generations and in recent decades some small companies have been born in Siracusa that carry out this activity both from the manufacturing and marketing point of view.

For the production of papyrus paper for writing, the central part of the stem of the plant is used. The stem is deprived of the zest, shaped so as to obtain a square section and cut into thin strips, previously soaked in a liquid solution. The still wet strips are selected for length and width and juxtaposed, slightly overlapping each other. A first row is superimposed on another perpendicularly. The strips are made to adhere to each other due to the pressure exerted by a press.

In addition to the usual use for making paper, papyrus was also used by Syracusan fishermen to weave ropes, while the foliage was used to adorn homes, churches and streets on festive occasions.

To preserve and spread the memory of papyrus craftsmanship, in 1989 Corrado Basile founded the Papyrus Museum in Siracusa. In the laboratories of the Institute today the prodigy of the technique and art of processing this plant is revived.

Basile, Corrado e Anna Di Natale, Il Museo del Papiro di Siracusa in Quaderni dell’Associazione Istituto internazionale del papiro, Associazione Istituto internazionale del papiro. v. IV, 1994, Siracusa
Basile, Corrado e Anna Di Natale, I papiri e l'ambiente fluviale del Ciane. Un patrimonio da salvare, Tyche, 2015, Siracusa
REI - Libro dei saperi - Arte del papiro