tour of Siracusa

Siracusa Travel Blog

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randem street in Siracusa

As I was getting ready for breakfast after no sleep, I was excited because this would be our first full day in Sicily.  There was so much to see in such a short period of time.  Along our walk from our inn through Ortigia, I found amusement in the tiny and unusual vehicles we passed.  The three-wheeled pickup trucks were particularly fun.

We crossed the bridge into Siracusa where we met up with our tour guide, Eva.  She gave us a spectacular tour of the local Archaeological Park.  We passed through the oleander gallery to Latomie del Paradiso where we saw the old limestone mine.

Evans & a small 3-wheeled truck in Siracusa
  It was a sweltering day and the lemon trees we passed along the path tempted me with their juicy, sour fruit hung just out of reach.  When we came upon the Teatro Greco (Greek Theater), everyone was excited.  Eva offered to take a group picture of our entire group and eagerly a dozen of us handed over our cameras.  Most of us took pictures as we admired the theater from every angle, but such a large, magnificent structure is hard to fit into frame and I knew all of the fine details would be lost on film.

Behind the theater we found Grotta del Ninfeo, a man-made arched cave enshrining a lovely spring waterfall, and Necropolis of Pantalica tombs.  From there we entered Orecchio di Dionisio (Ear of Dionysus), an acoustically interesting cave that was like walking through a giant conch shell.

Evans heading for the bus by the Siracusa coast
  Beyond the cave were Ara di Ierone (Altar of Hieron), where the Greeks once sacrificed oxen, and the ruins of the Anfiteatro Romano (Roman Amphitheater).  Leaving Latomie del Paradiso, Eva brought us back to Fontana Aretusa source in Siracusa, which she told us is known as “Lover’s Pond.”

Our tour continued passed the remains of the Temple of Apollo and on to Piazza Duomo and into the Duomo (Cathedral) of Siracusa.  We had visited the cathedral the night before, but this time we were able to go inside.  Dim lighting from fixtures of black iron accented the ancient stonework arches and intricate alter.  The priest, however, became agitated with something and began to yell from his pulpit.  When I recognized the word “fotografie,” I realized he was shouting at us.

CCSU students heading for the morning tour bus
  He clearly wasn’t happy that tourists were passing in and out of the church taking pictures as the service was in progress.  Even though I didn’t understand most of what he was saying, his tone of voice said it all.  Once he had lectured the tourists, the crowd quickly began to dissipate.  After confronting the angry preacher about his inappropriate behavior, Eva concluded our tour at Museo di Palazzo Bellomo, a papyrus museum.  Papyrus is a paper-like material made from pith of papyrus plants.  I purchased a couple of framed papyrus paintings to bring home as souvenirs.

After the tour, my group headed back to the hotel.  Several children recognized us as Americans as we passed by and they practiced what little English they knew by calling out to us, “Hi; hello, hi.

Latomia del Paradiso (Quarry of Paradise) limestone mine, Siracusa
”  We smiled and greeted them back before continuing on our way.  Pausing to admire the coastline and sea by our hotel, we decided to go out for lunch and found Ristorante L’Ancora Pizzeria where we sampled piatti tipici Siciliani (typical Sicilian dishes).

Italian meals, I found, take much longer than I was accustomed to.  In Sicily, life is laid back; they really take their time to enjoy simple pleasures like lunch.  For them, it’s a time to meet with family and friends to catch up and have long conversations.  We must have been in the restaurant for two hours or more, but it gave us a good rest and the food was very good.  Even when we were done eating, the staff took their time.  I was surprised it took them a half an hour from the time we requested our bill until we actually received it.

Teatro Greco (Greek Theater) Siracusa
  In the US, waiters seem more eager to keep get customers out after they’re done eating to allow the next round of tippers to fill the seats.  From there we continued to stroll the narrow streets and allies of Siracusa passing by Diana Fountain in Archimede Square and crossing once more to the daytime hub of activity, Piazza Duomo.

We then visited the Cathedral in Ortigia and were able to go inside for a better look.  Doric columns from the Greek Temple of Athene partially covered over with Roman Baroque masonry, were still visible and demonstrated the long history of this tiny island.  Dinner later on, like lunch, was very relaxed and leisurely paced.  Although the meals were pleasant and all of the food was extraordinary, I felt a bit uneasy about passing so much of our finite time sitting still to eat and socialize with fellow Americans when I could otherwise be out devouring the local culture.

Evans at Teatro Greco (Greek Theater) Siracusa

Following dinner, I went out with my new crew of friends to experience the local nightlife.  We went to two bars:  Ulysses’ Irish Pub and The Atrium.  There was a difference between the bars in Sicily and those back home.  Firstly, Connecticut bars are dead on Sunday evenings unless there’s a big sporting event on TV.  In Sicily, Sundays are dress to impress day.  Everyone was in his or her best attire and the bars are among the most popular places to be.  Also, some of the bars and discotecas don’t even get started until around midnight and remain open until as late as 6am.  In Connecticut the most popular nights are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and their hours of operation range from around 8pm to 2pm (actually 1:30 considering “bar time”).  The atmosphere in the bars was high energy and a lot of fun.  Out until the wee hours of the morning, I slept fast as soon as I got to bed.

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randem street in Siracusa
randem street in Siracusa
Evans & a small 3-wheeled truck in…
Evans & a small 3-wheeled truck i…
Evans heading for the bus by the S…
Evans heading for the bus by the …
CCSU students heading for the morn…
CCSU students heading for the mor…
Latomia del Paradiso (Quarry of Pa…
Latomia del Paradiso (Quarry of P…
Teatro Greco (Greek Theater) Sirac…
Teatro Greco (Greek Theater) Sira…
Evans at Teatro Greco (Greek Theat…
Evans at Teatro Greco (Greek Thea…
entire CCSU group at Teatro Greco …
entire CCSU group at Teatro Greco…
School of Technology group at Grot…
School of Technology group at Gro…
School of Technology guys at Grott…
School of Technology guys at Grot…
Evans in a Necropolis of Pantalica…
Evans in a Necropolis of Pantalic…
Melissa & Evans in a Necropolis of…
Melissa & Evans in a Necropolis o…
market stand, Ortigia
market stand, Ortigia
Orecchio di Dionisio (Ear of Diony…
Orecchio di Dionisio (Ear of Dion…
Siracusa from Riva Nazario Sauro b…
Siracusa from Riva Nazario Sauro …
Ara di Ierone (Altar of Hieron), 3…
Ara di Ierone (Altar of Hieron), …
Karen, Mellisa, & group walking in…
Karen, Mellisa, & group walking i…
Temple of Apollo ruins
Temple of Apollo ruins
inside the Duomo (Cathedral) of Si…
inside the Duomo (Cathedral) of S…
Museo di (Museum of) Palazzo Bello…
Museo di (Museum of) Palazzo Bell…
courtyard of Museo di (Museum of) …
courtyard of Museo di (Museum of)…
Evans & Ory at Museo di (Museum of…
Evans & Ory at Museo di (Museum o…
Italian kids hanging out, Ortigia
Italian kids hanging out, Ortigia
coast of Ortigia
coast of Ortigia
via Vittorio Vento, Ortigia by the…
via Vittorio Vento, Ortigia by th…
coast of Ortigia
coast of Ortigia
Ory, Joe, Jim, Behn, & Evans by th…
Ory, Joe, Jim, Behn, & Evans by t…
coast of Ortigia
coast of Ortigia
coast of Ortigia
coast of Ortigia
we had a nice lunch at Ristorante …
we had a nice lunch at Ristorante…
Diana Fountain, Archimede Square
Diana Fountain, Archimede Square
narrow stree for cars and pedestri…
narrow stree for cars and pedestr…
Ory, Melissa, & group walking to P…
Ory, Melissa, & group walking to …
Santa Lucia alla Badia Church at P…
Santa Lucia alla Badia Church at …
Piazza Duomo (Siracusas town squa…
Piazza Duomo (Siracusa's town squ…
the Duomo (Cathedral) of Siracusa …
the Duomo (Cathedral) of Siracusa…
Doric columns & Baroque masonry in…
Doric columns & Baroque masonry i…
Evans inside the Albergo Domus Mar…
Evans inside the Albergo Domus Ma…
Ulysses Irish Pub
Ulysses' Irish Pub
Siracusa
photo by: Vlindeke