The area is popular with tourists who flock to bathe in the azure waters of its secluded beaches before heading to the capital to take in its baroque cathedral – once a Greek temple – on the island of Ortigia.
Sos Siracusa, a group which works to protect the local area, has launched a campaign to stop the project. It said if the resort is built, the general public would have access to only five acres of the coast.
The coastline would become “a sort of ghetto or ‘Indian reserve’ for citizens, with the rest of the coast exclusively reserved for guests of the resort”, the group wrote on its website.
“It’s snatching the sea from residents yet again, ” Enzo Maiorca, a world record breaking free diver who was born in the area, told La Repubblica.
“We will lose our most valuable asset; the sea… Not to mention the view. It’s a mad and criminal project.
The project will be discussed at a Siracusa Council meeting on Tuesday. Defending his announcement, Mr Garozzo said: “First we must examine the project. The council is obliged to analyse initiatives that provide significant investment to the area, always taking into account the restrictions that we must place.”
The project is a joint venture by multinational firm One&Only, which owns resorts across the world from the Bahamas to Dubai, and Siracusa Sun. Giorgio Fanara, chief executive of Siracusa Sun, said the resort would be “the most luxurious in Europe“.
“The projects were developed by professionals in Sicily,” he said. “We want to invest in the area, guaranteeing 400 jobs. The resort will have an 18-hole golf course. We would like to market it internationally at the highest level: as the most luxurious in Europe.”