Sicily: Siracuse & its Beautiful Island Ortigia

I got off the bus from Palermo hungry (it’s lunchtime), and promptly walked in the wrong direction. Thank goodness for google maps which got me back the right way and along the road to my latest monastery accommodation. It looks very like a Hotel, with a hotel reception and hotel restaurant. But across the road was this:

Santuario Madonna delle Lacrime


Anyhow, as is the case with me, on arrival, I had a nap. Whenever I undertake a move to a new town, with the hours of travel involved and the adjustment and the processes I have had to go through to get there, I need to centre myself with a nonna nap.  So then I was off to find the supermarket (very close), for water and nibbles. I try to drink tap water wherever possible when travelling in Italy due to the environmental effects of plastic water bottles and the good water here. I take my own metal drink canister and refill it from the tap, unfortunately, Siracuse was the one town I just could not do this. The water was so foul, it made me gag trying to drink it. So then after a wee feast off I go.

Siracuse, or Syracuse, as it is still often known in English from the Greek form of the word, is not very attractive at first glance. There is a busy, long, main shopping road from the the hospital end where I stayed leading down towards the sea. With a couple of confusing turns at the bottom of the road I come to one of the two bridges leading to Ortigia Island.

Ponte Umbertino. 



It gets dark early in late October so I start to loose the light quickly but then, the most amazing full moon starts to rise.

I cross over onto Ortigia and come to the temple of Apollo, one of the oldest Greek settlements in Italy.


And then stroll along to the Fountain of Artemis.


It is only 7pm but I have a long walk back, through Siracuse. The street food vendors are only just setting up their caravans but the prostitutes are out already. I know where I want to spend tomorrow, Ortigia!

By 8.30am the next day I am out in the beautiful sunshine. Over on Ortigia I stumble upon this market, 4 peaches for one euro:

I keep on walking across the island until I come to it’s edge and the vast Mediterranean is before me. The water is crystal clear and I can see the rocks under the water.

As there was very little real beach and it is hard to access the water, the locals swim by going onto a pontoon:


I circumnavigate the whole island and come to the Cathedral. It takes another day to return here and finally go in but it is very worth it. It was originally a 5th century BC Temple to Minerva.

The shopping and eating on the island is very geared to tourism and it is a joy. This is a very gorgeous place to be.




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