visit to Weeping Madonna Chapel
Siracusa Travel Blog› entry 9 of 20 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.