We booked a tour to Siracusa and Ortygia from Taormina. Siracusa is about an hour or so south of Taormina. When we were planning our trip we asked around about the ‘must see’ places and Siracusa was one that came up over and over. I’m glad we decided to do a Siracusa and Ortygia tour.
The first stop was the Archaeological Park Neaplois which was a quarry that was used to
build the city. Once you walk through the area where the stone was harvested you will see the Teatro Greco, or the Greek Theater. We visited the location towards the end of April and they were preparing the theater for their shows they hold in May, June, and July. They build seats over the ruins of the seats that are there and remove them when the shows are over. They perform Greek tragedies during this time. When you turn around from viewing the theater you see a waterfall into a pond of sorts that collects the falling water. This is the aqueduct system that was created from the force of the water running down from the top of the site. This was the water system used in the city. Just a tip — be careful walking on the perimeter here the stone is slippery – I actually took a slight slip.
We then winded around from this area to the Orecchio di Dionisio, or the Ear of Dionysius, which is the supposedly the perfect acoustics. As we walked through the lemon and orange tree-lined pathway we heard school children in the ear singing and I will say to my untrained ear I thought the acoustics were pretty impressive! We walked into the ear which was slightly dark and a deadend. This was were Dionysius would hold his prisoners.
From here we headed back towards the entrance to Anfiteatro Romano, or the Roman Theater. Here they held gladiator fights as well as horse races.
This was the last stop at this site before we headed to our next stop – Ortygia. Ortygia is a small island off of Siracusa. When you hear this you think you will have to take a boat ride over to the island, but you just have to walk over a little bridge from the main land to the island. The little canal between the main land and the island are full of boats that led out to the sea. It’s a quaint little town to visit and walk around.
The island may be small but it does have a large cathedral, Siracusa Duomo, which has a shrine to Saint Lucia, which is the patron Saint of Ortygia. And of course I did light my candle here. From the cathedral we moved to the Fonte Aretuesa Siracusa which is where the papyrus trees are located. The papyrus was used to make papyrus sheets. There are local artists that use the papyrus to create pictures.
We did have much time on the island, but we did have a little time to shop and eat (the important things!) I will be talking about some of the places we ate and what we enjoyed in another post!