Michael and Pam's Travels

Syracuse, Sicily. 2018.

Date:  12-13th August  2018

Travelled:  Valletta, Malta to Pozzallo, Sicily by ferry, then 57 kilometres from Pozzallo to Syracuse

Visited:  Noto, Syracuse and Ortygia

Stayed:  Syracuse, Ippo Camping, €20. All the usual services. N37.07076, E15.26140

 

Never a good night’s sleep, when you set two alarms to make sure your awake at 4am.  Not for me anyhow.  I don’t know why I booked a 6.30am departure.  From memory I think it was to avoid having to overnight in Pozzallo again and paying another €26 to the proprieter of the sosta, who I didn’t like.

Anyway we bid a sad goodbye to Camping Malta and set off for the last time along that rotten road out of L-Armier.  There was no traffic until we are making our way through central Valletta to the ferry port.

 

We arrive at the terminal at 5.15am, get our tickets from the tired looking girl in the office, then park as directed.  Make a good strong coffee and wait for the call.

 

The vehicle deck is full of large trucks this morning plus one motorhome and about 10 cars. We are surprised to find hundreds of passengers on board, you cannot see the passenger terminal from where we were waiting.

 

Get Directions

 

Off the ferry by 8.30am we drive straight out of Pozzallo. By mid-morning we have had a coffee and croissants and found a parking spot in Noto.

 

The Town Hall in Noto. As the guide indicated the town was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1693, being rebuilt over the next 100 years in the baroque style.

 

The main street and its two piazza are UNESCO listed as the finest example of a baroque town in Sicily.

 

The Cathedral of Noto. There are two other churches just as big along the main street in Noto.

 

Pam enjoys browsing.

 

Back on the road we drive on north-east to Syracuse or Siracusa as the Sicilian’s know it.  There isn’t much to choose from in the way of a campsite, so we call into Ippo Camping a Sosta dedicated for motorhomes.  Less than 2 kilometres from the archialogical site of Syracuse and not much further to Ortygia it’s easy to get everything with the scooter.  Better still it the parking places have good shade.  We chill out with the help of the A/C and catch up on a sleep with an afternoon nap.

 

Get Directions

 

Hopefully from the map you can see Ortygia is an island connected to Syracuse by 3 bridges.  We park the scooter just over one of the bridge and walk up to the Temple of Athena, a small park come archiological site that you just cannot miss.

 

Originally an outpost of the Greeks, we find old gates like this one as we walk. But the’re not Greek or even Roman.?

 

There are a few super yatchs about.

 

Being Sunday afternoon, boating and swimming are popular.

 

At the end of the island we find Castello Maniace. This 13th century fortress which stands guard on the harbour has been extensively restored. However it’s closed by the time we arrive, so a look from the outside is all you get.

 

On the Piazza del Duomo opposite the cathedral Pam takes in the evening vibe.

 

The Duomo or Cathedral of Ortygia.  Built over a 5th century BC Greek Temple.  Apparently part of the original Doric columns can be seen from the crypt but it was closed during our visit.

 

Inside the Duomo, standing on the cross-over looking through the choir to the alter. There are so many interesting things to look at and this blog is already overloaded.

 

Had to throw in one more photo of the Duomo. The frescos above the alter !

 

By this time we need a little relaxation, so we find a nice little bar and take in the atmosphere as well as some alcohol.  Our original intention was to visit the archeological site in Syracuse early and move on.  But after enjoying Ortygia, we decide to spend another day in Syracuse.

 

Ortygia debrief…

 

Next morning we are up and on the scooter at 9am, down to the TIM shop to top up our sim.  It turns out it cheaper to buy a new sim than top up the old one.  We don’t really care, we have another 30gb to burn for €30.  Then we continue on the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis, just up the street or via.  By 9.30 we can feel the heat in the sun as we pay €10pp and start exploring.

 

Our first find is the Roman Theatre, sorry about the selfie.  Subsequently I found it was the only photo that showed the oval design.  Built at the behest of Augustas circa 21 BC.  The blurb describes it as a classic Roman circus.  Used for gladiatorial fighting and horse racing.

 

Another view…of the circus. From the photo you cannot see the undercover passageways that circle the theatre on two levels.

 

This ruin is all that remains of the alter known as ‘Ara di Ierone’. Originally dedicated to Zeus. It’s 64×14 columns support a huge portico have been lost.

 

Further across the complex we find the 5th Century BC Greek Theatre.  It is the primary attraction in Syracuse.

 

Built in the classic Greek style (bring your own cushions), it has 67 rows of tiered seating although the top 20 are now lost. It was used for plays and entertainment as well as public oratory.  Nice view from the rear stalls as well.

 

 

 

Looking behind the theatre the quarry from where the stone was excavated, was converted into a garden.

 

As we explore the gardens we find several places where the excavation have extended deep within the hill.

 

Looks like a natural formation but you can see the lines made from the excavation.

 

 

That enough ruins for today, so we make our way back to the Hymer for lunch and rest.  In the late afternoon we scooter back into Ortygia.  Enjoy a swim before chilling out in a little bar for an hour and calling it a day.

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