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Syracuse - Sicily in a Nutshell

sunny 22 °C

In so many ways Sicily is a microcosm of Italy. It has volcanoes, mountains and beaches, together with ancient cities containing a wealth of historical architecture. Its volcanic soils and sub-tropical climate nurture an abundance of oranges, lemons, almonds, olives and grapes, and the surrounding Mediterranean is rich in seafood. The city of Syracuse in the south of the island has a little of everything – including a fabulous array of produce at the Saturday market…
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Roman orator Marcus Cicero described Syracuse as "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all" in 54 BC. Much of the history of Syracuse lies on the Island of Ortigia which has been joined to the mainland by bridges for the past two thousand years, (thereby setting a well-established historical precedent for real islands having bridges).
This beautiful fountain is in Ortigia’s central piazza…
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Syracuse was a Greek city for a thousand years before the Romans arrived and evidence of this can still be seen in the architecture - particularly in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception…
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This cathedral was first built as a Greek temple in 1100 BC. It was rebuilt in 480 BC with great Doric columns and dedicated to the Goddess Athena (venerated because she was a virgin who gave birth to a son of god – sounds familiar?). When the Romans took over and eventually adopted Christianity they simply changed the temple to a church and kept the original columns. Then the Muslim Saracens took over in the 9th century and changed it to a mosque before the Normans booted them out in the 11th century and turned it back to a cathedral.

Being seen to be close to god was important for the Syracusian aristocrats in medieval times and the richest built their palaces in the cathedral square…
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Not everyone lived in a palace and Ortigia is filled with narrow streets lined with more modest buildings…
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Syracuse is stuffed with ancient architecture. There is an enormous Norman castle, a two and a half thousand year old Greek theatre and this Roman coliseum with a gory past…
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This is the triumphal arch through which gladiators marched nearly two thousand years ago…
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We have now left Sicily and are in London. The pavements are wet for the first time in nearly two months and the temperature has dropped nearly 20 degrees, but we are still warm from our time in the sun. Sicily is fabulous and so are the wonderful people we met there – especially the hosts at the guesthouses who made us feel so welcome. This is Nicoletta at the Shuruq B&B in Avola who put on the most fabulous buffet even though we were the only guests…
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Sicily – amazing sights, lovely weather and wonderful people… who could ask for anything more?

Posted by Hawkson 03:44 Archived in Italy

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Comments

It has been a wonderful journey. You must be full of all that food. If you are on the way home to Gabriola, it will be sunny for the next 6 days but cold too...love Jean

by Jean McLaren

Thank you James and Sheila for having been at our b&b. You have been very nice guests !
I also read some other article of your blog and now I want to visit all the Countries you have visited!!!
Enjoy your next place...
Nicoletta

by Nicoletta

Be prepared. It's minus 5 and thick frost. We have the sun but not much warmth in it.
Hope you did that buffet justice.

by R and B

Thank you for this armchair travelling adventure. Always made interesting by the history, comments and gorgeous photos. Glad you will be home soon.

by Sue Fitzwilson

No sign of Inspector Montalban? Detective Bliss would have enjoyed having a chat. This has really brought Scicily to life, so I have new insights into Inspector Montalban's travels and his delight in Scicilian meals.

See you soon, we leave on Saturday.

by Keith and Helen

Fabulous city still millennium on. And a fitting end to your inspiring travels this fall. Photos wonderful as usual. Glad to see food photos back in rotation.

Look forward to seeing you back.

Tom

by Tom

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