Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ortigia, Siracusa

The town of Siracusa itself was nothing special.  As we drove around (we were lost) we saw some parts of town that looked very ghetto and run-down.  The nice part of town is in Sirucasa's old city which is just across a bridge on the island of Ortigia. 


Ortigia is full of narrow streets, buildings with historical facades and crumbling palazzos.  It is as usual closed to traffic which makes for a very nice place to walk and explore.  The Duomo is an impressive sight, built in a cream colored stone.


The Piazza Duomo is also paved with the smooth stone and there were a number of children around on their roller blades.  In the late afternoon, there were locals and tourists alike taking part in the daily passagiata ritual.  


Another church on the other side of the piazza.  It's a little hard to see from the picture but there were orange and lemon trees hanging off the terrace on the left.

Walking along the city walls, we could hear the sound of waves crashing on the waves.  I can only imagine the scene in the warm summer months when the many cafes and restaurants spill out into the sidewalks.


Sometimes it's easy to forget that these historical towns are not just tourist attractions but places where actual people live. 


This is the town where the scientist Archimedes once ran through the streets shouting 'Eureka!', and where the Arabs, Byzantines, Swabs and Spanish have all called home.  With its rich history and Siracusa is definitely worth a stop on your Sicilian itinerary.


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