For a guy that spent a good part of his high school years studying ancient history, a visit to Sicily without paying homage to Ancient Athens’ biggest source of envy and one of the most powerful and glorious cities of Antiquity, would have been almost like performing an act of sacrilege. Firstly of course, I had to convince my wife and daughter that this is a matter of utmost importance for my Greek existence and thus we had to skip one day at the beach. When I realized they were not biting it, I had to bribe them by adding several gelato and shopping breaks to the itinerary. That was it then. We had an agreement!
Syracuse’s Teatro Greco
We left Modica as early in the morning as we could, hoping to be in Syracuse before the summer heat takes its toll. It took us only an hour fifteen minutes to get there by car, but surprise, surprise! it was already hot like a pizza oven. Our first stop was at the Parco Archeologico Della Neapolis to have a look at the Teatro Greco is. It was built in the 5th century BC and considered to be a rare example of ancient Greek architecture, not to mention that it could seat up to 16.0000 people.
Teatro Greco was a truly unforgettable experience. Its grandiosity was almost difficult to swallow. I felt at awe while we were strolling its periphery. We would have liked to spend some more time in the Parco, but our Hawaianas were just about to reach their liquefaction point. Next stop: Ortygia!
Syracuse’s picture-perfect island: Ortygia
Ortygia simply amazed us. It felt so nice and relaxing to walk along its quite and picture-perfect alleys. Syracuse is a vibrant city and Ortygia is dotted with lovely cafés and trattorias where local people hang out. We had an aperitif and a light linch at Piazza Del Duomo, which was expensive but definitely worth it. It was one of these moments in life that you wish they never end. The Piazza’s timeless beauty enjoyed with the help of a couple of Negroni. After the third gelato though, our 4-year-old started to show signs of utter boredom and had to hit the beach immediately.
Our last place to visit in Ortygia was the Arethusa Spring. The legend has it that Arethousa was a nymph. The river god Alpheus fell desperately in love with her, but she obviously had better things to do than get involved with rivers and swamps. She prayed to goddess Artemis for help and the latter transformed her into to a spring. Frankly, I am unable to tell how helpful this was for Arethusa…
Have you been to Syracuse?