Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Siracusa, Sicily

While we were in Siracusa for 3 days, we didn't spend enough time there to do it justice. Most of our time was spent taking daytrips to Noto and Ragusa Ibla. A lot of books have already dealt with the history of Siracusa and Sicily. I am not going into the history, just the compelling reasons to visit Sicily especially some of its more important cities. The sea is all around us during our trip to Sicily but it was in Siracusa that we were the closest. We stayed in a hotel next to the train station. Since most of my travel is by rail, I look for a hotel near train stations. Our room had a view of the sea and it was just a hop away from Ortigia. Ortigia is a small island attached by a small bridge to Siracusa and this is the baroque centre with a beautiful baroque duomo. The unique thing about this duomo is on the inside it retains the pillars of an ancient 5th century BC Greek temple. It is an outstanding feature and very noticeable. One can wander aimlessly in the narrow alleys of Ortigia and lose track of time. The locals are really friendly and at the entrance to Ortigia island is the site of an ancient Greek temple. Siracusa was an important Greek city and they left their mark all over Siracusa. At the huge Parco Archaelogico, there is immense Greek arena. It is huge and sits 19,000 which showed that Siracusa was a major Greek settlement more than 2,000 years ago. Then came the Romans and soon after Siracusa lost its importance.
There is a restaurant in the same building as the hotel, 'The Taverna', a greek name but serves typical Sicilian food. We ate there for 3 nights. It was pretty good. We met a group of Japanese tourists at the Archaeological Park and later that day we met up with them again in Noto. Noto is an easy 30 minute train ride from Siracusa. Their tour leader recognised us and we nodded at each other. We did meet a few Americans throughout our visit, not a lot, but it was March, only the Europeans are up and about, they're escaping from Winter in the North. We kept bumping into them throughout Sicily and it was fun.

No comments: