A midweek trip to Syracuse & Ortygia

And the life as an intern continues! Destination of the week: Syracuse & Ortygia!

Syracuse is ancient city, full of Greek history located in the southeast corner of Sicily. Its tourism is highly developed, which makes the city easily accessible. Once you are there, you can take a bus to discover every corner of the city, but if the weather is nice, we recommend you to do everything on foot.

Since Syracuse is located in the complete opposite part of Sicily, Lucille and I had to wake up quite early, again. We took a bus in the central station of Palermo (Interbus) and arrived approximately 3h20 later in Syracusa. Once there, we searched for our b&b and dropped our luggage. The first highlight we visited was the archeological park: Neapolis.

In Neapolis, we visited the amphitheater, the Greek theater and the Orecchio di Dionisio. In my opinion was the amphitheater the least impressive, but this is probably due to the fact that the Greek theater blow our mind away. It has a capacity of 15.000 spectators and was the largest theater in the ancient world. The Orecchio di Dionisio, or the Ear of Dionysius, is definitely worth a visit as well. This limestone cave might seem a little bit spooky in the beginning, but once you enter you will see that the most parts of the cave still get some sunlight. As the little children we were, Lucille and I tested the echoing system of the cave and made some crazy noises that echoed beautifully.

During our visit to the park, we bought some tickets for the evening spectacle Sette contro Tebbe as well. When we left Neapolis, we went to the mini zoo and the papyrus plantation. This private site made us come to peace and showed us a little piece of paradise. The animals were taken good care of, as well as all the flowers and plants. In the middle was a large pond, filled with papyrus plants. At the end of our visit, the woman showed us how papyrus paper was made from its plant. The process itself is not that difficult, but it takes a lot of time. In the small gift shop were all the handmade papyrus papers shown with lovely drawings on it.

The next stop was the archeological museum. It might seem small from the outside, but once you are inside, room after room keeps appearing. Its collection is gigantic, but beautifully shown and good categorized. Each room kept surprising us and we only got disappointed when we looked at the clock and saw that we had to leave because of our tight schedule.

After our visit to the amazing archeological museum, we went to the Santuario della Madonna delle Lacrime. This sanctuary is famous because of its unusual shape. As much as the outside impressed us, as little as the inside did. It might be rude to say, but the inside of this church didn’t fulfill our expectations at all. There were a lot of empty spaces that could have been filled with some beautiful religious statues. When we went back outside, we continued our way back to the Greek theater and bought some delicious cherries.

Once arrived at the theater, we could not believe our eyes. In my whole live, I have never seen so many persons in an outdoor event (except at Rock Werchter). We were more than 1 hour in advance, but still had some difficulties finding a good spot. At 6.45 p.m. the spectacle started and everyone became quite. Although we didn’t understand the full story, we think that it was definitely worth its money.

The next morning we woke up and had a lovely breakfast in our b&b. We filled our stomach with delicious dolci and packed our bags to leave and go to Ortygia. After a 25 minute walk, we arrived at the bridge and it was like we were about to enter a complete different world. As buzzy and commercial Syracuse was, as historical and authentic Ortygia was. We walked around the whole island and visited several highlights such as the cathedral, the Maniace castle, the temple of Apollo, the fountain of Artemis and some beautiful churches on the way.

Unfortunately, our bus already left at 2 p.m., so at 1 p.m. we went back to the centre of Syracuse to find the bus station. Since the walk was way shorter than we thought it would be, we arrived very early at Syracuse and took an ice cream. Some Italian boys, who were unfortunately not that good-looking, started to talk to us and helped us finding the way to the bus station. Once there, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that the bus was already there and ready to leave. We got on, left Syracuse at exactly 2 p.m. and arrived around 5.30 p.m. in Palermo.

We hope you enjoyed this article and will make a trip yourself to Syracuse & Ortygia!

AmbiiV. & Lucille, voyageuse en herbe

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