visit to Weeping Madonna Chapel

Siracusa Travel Blog

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suggestive Sisley billboard - seems to be an ad for a women's clothing line

No businesses are open on Mondays.  We started early that morning and went to the Weeping Madonna Chapel (Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime - Our Lady of Tears Basilica and Shrine).  When we were outside looking over the fence at the cemetery ruins beside the church, an annoying vagrant began bugging Charlene.  Dr. DeLaura told the guy to get away from his wife and we went inside to see the famous weeping Madonna.  First we saw the sarcophagus in the basement.  Not being a very religious person, I didn’t understand what the significance was supposed to be.  It looked like just a hole in the dirt to me.  On the main floor we looked around and checked out the bust of Mary enshrined in glass behind the alter.

Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime (Church of the Weeping Madonna)
  The interior of the building was rather dull, save the architectural aesthetics of the conical roof with its slotted openings that, along with the flickering glow of prayer candles, provided what little light there was in the room.

As we left, the vagrant (then with a partner) followed us off the grounds.  The two men were speaking Italian and pestering us in spite of being outsized and outnumbered by Mike, Charlene, Jim, Ben, Greg, Floretta, Jen, and me.  I got in one guy’s face briefly, but Dr. DeLaura called me off to resume the “pretend they’re not there” approach.  The vagrants seemed to stay behind when we crossed the street, but when we came around the next block they were coming towards us again.  Just then we spotted the management group and called over to them.

Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime (Church of the Weeping Madonna) - view straight up to the ceiling from inside the church
  Once we had the attention of Dr. Tracey and his students as well, our numbers had doubled and the vagrants finally left.

Joining the management group, we ate spaghetti in a little restaurant before splitting off again.  After lunch, a few headed to the Archaeological Museum while the rest of us went back to our island.  Walking to the inn, I saw a tanker truck driving away and found that the streets had been washed of all the trash and debris left behind by the morning fish and produce markets.  We spent the afternoon mingling in the Domus Mariae and walking around Ortigia before getting ready for dinner.

My group went out to eat at a nice little restaurant along Alfeo Promenade.  We were seated outside at a table along the seawall with nothing but the Mediterranean Sea and the clear and starry sky above beyond the railing.

Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime (Church of the Weeping Madonna) - that's her behind the alter
  The entrees were overpriced, I thought, but the natural atmosphere helped to justify the expense.  I’d ordered the grilled spig and was surprised when it came served in whole atop lettuce leaf with a wedge of lemon on an otherwise empty plate.  It was a very good fish, though and it’s simple presentation inspired a dare.  To meet the challenge of Dr. DeLaura, I ate the eyeballs of my fish.  The vino bianco was also good and we had a great rosso!  We had some confusion with the cash when it came time to pay our bill, but we sorted it out and went on our way.

After our respective dinners a few people from each of the departments got together and went to The Soul Food Bar and then to the Atrium again.  The bars were very quiet because Mondays are used for a full day of relaxation.  We brought the party with us, though, and had a fun night out.

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suggestive Sisley billboard - seem…
suggestive Sisley billboard - see…
Santuario della Madonna delle Lacr…
Santuario della Madonna delle Lac…
Santuario della Madonna delle Lacr…
Santuario della Madonna delle Lac…
Santuario della Madonna delle Lacr…
Santuario della Madonna delle Lac…
Jen, Jim, Behn, & Evans at the Chu…
Jen, Jim, Behn, & Evans at the Ch…
Basilica of St John the Evangelist…
Basilica of St John the Evangelis…
a broad street in Siracusa
a broad street in Siracusa
coast of Siracusa
coast of Siracusa
Red ship at the coast of Siracusa …
Red ship at the coast of Siracusa…
street cleaners
street cleaners
School of Technology group having …
School of Technology group having…
Ory & Evans having spig for dinner…
Ory & Evans having spig for dinne…
spig for dinner at restaurant on A…
spig for dinner at restaurant on …
Evans eating a spigs eyeball for …
Evans eating a spig's eyeball for…
The Soul Food Bar
The Soul Food Bar
Evans & the waitress at The Atrium…
Evans & the waitress at The Atriu…
The Atrium, Ortigia
The Atrium, Ortigia
Siracusa
photo by: Vlindeke