Take a Walk Through Ortigia

Ortigia is an island that is the historic center of Siracusa.The bus took us to a large parking lot with the most buses we had seen the whole trip. The parking lot had about a half dozen vendors equipped with these wheeled carts so they could easily and quickly move to whatever bus was in the process of loading or unloading passengers.

The Temple of Apollo is the remains of the first Doric stone temple in Sicily dating back to 580 BCE. The columns are shorter and closer together than more modern Greek Temples. Also, the columns are each made from a single piece of stone. As time went by, the Greeks found it easier to make the columns by stacking drums and learned to make the columns taller and spaced further apart.

We are getting used to walking through charming, narrow alleys. I am not sure why the family in the top picture had books outside their window. The rain had not helped the books!

The Fish House Gallery has fish mobiles hanging over the street to advertise their store.

This building was once a Synagogue located in the Jewish section of the city. The area was never a ghetto where Jews were forced to live, but was an area where they chose to live. It is now an active, open air church; but it is used only in the summertime since it has no roof.

This picture shows the Baroque front of the Siracusa Cathedral. The church has a long history as revealed by studying its architecture. The building was originally a Greek temple built in 480 BCE with 6 columns in the front and back and 14 on each side. In 535 CE, the Byzantines took over Sicily and converted the temple into a church. They created solid walls by simply filling in the space between the columns. In 827, the Arabs from North Africa captured Sicily and converted the church into a Mosque.In the late 11th century, the Normans conquered Sicily, raised the roof of the building, and turned it back into a church. The building was severely damaged in the quake of 1693. The facade was rebuilt in the Baroque style we see today.

We presumed this groom was in the military, but he is a policeman wearing his formal uniform.

This is officially called the Fountain of Arethusa. It is the freshwater spring that the Greeks discovered when they first arrived at Sicily. With a natural harbor, and easily defended island, and abundant water, it was an ideal place to settle. The large plant growing in the spring is papyrus.

The market was filled with spices and olives. I am not sure what the red things are. If someone can read the sign, let me know. Google Translate wasn’t able to help me. We are in Catania for the next four nights.

4 thoughts on “Take a Walk Through Ortigia”

  1. We are enjoying your blog. The commentary is great and the photos are beautiful.
    Regarding the sign in the market. I believe it is Pomadoro Di Pachino Sicriano. Wikipedia states that it is a tomato of Pachino and is an IGP/PGI for tomatoes from the southeast coast of sicily which has been granted IGP protection by the EU since 2003. Much like wine from the Chianti region of Tuscany. These appear to be dried tomatoes. Hope this helps.
    Mike and Pat
    Fort Mill

    1. Hi Mike, Thanks for the insight. When I looked at the picture, I thought they looked like sun dried tomatoes; but I couldn’t read that in the sign. By the way, the sun dried tomatoes are very tasty here.

  2. Si, sono dried tomatoes. Ma non so si sono “sun” dried tomatoes! (Yes, we have dried tomatoes. We have dried tomatoes today.)

  3. Such fascinating architectural details of the Cathedral.
    And that bride is so beautiful and such a lovely sunny day for the wedding. You seem to be enjoying good weather in Sicily.

    Sharon, from Rochester Hills, Michigan

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