Siracusa / Syracuse, Sicily on the island of Ortigia, Italy, is a beautiful mid-sized city steeped in Greek history. Founded by greeks, this ancient city boasts an age of more than 2,700 years and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Views of Mount Etna, rich baroque architecture, crystal waters, amazing Sicilian food and incredibly welcoming inhabitants (Siracusans) make this an enticing city to visit.
A cost free pleasure, we find ourselves wandering along the waterfront, taking in the magnificent views of the sparkling aqua blue green waters, dotted with small fishing and sailing boats, no hurries, just slow, dolce vita! Passersby greet with friendly smiles as they make their ways to market, church, friends, coffee – the important things in life when living in Charming Syracuse.
Coffee sounds good as we make our way into the city center through narrow alleys, past perfectly kept stoops showcasing the Sicilian pride. Italians make a beautiful ritual of coffee, cappuccino (or any other milk coffee) in the morning will fill your hungry stomach and is accompanied by a fluffy tasty brioche. Any other time of the day espresso, known as caffè, is the coffee of choice – double espresso, Caffè corretto, or just regular espresso, induced with a healthy helping of sugar!
Meandering our way through the streets of Syracuse, we are mesmerised by the stunning baroque architecture, a result of an earthquake in 1693 causing a city rebuild. The Duomo Cathedral, erected in 1728 to 1754 is a dazzling example of this dramatic Sicilian baroque style at it’s finest!
Eating is always a pleasure in Italy and Syracuse does not disappoint. Restaurants, Trattorias, and Tavernas each have their own traditional Sicilian offerings from caponata (eggplant based) to fav bean soups to pasta with sardines to meats and seafood to sweets and granitas; a mind boggling, delicious array of choices. We chose to eat in a small Taverna called Taverna Giudecca Ortigia and were not disappointed.
Located in the narrow lanes of the old guild quarter, the Taverna is in the Jewish ghetto street of Via della Giudecca. Antonio, the colourful, outgoing owner makes his place somewhere you want to keep going back to. Preparing delightful plates of his in house specialties, chatting and smiling, he creates a wonderful atmosphere and delectable tastes. He also carries an amazing assortment of wines, a must with any proper Italian meal!
With a glass of wine in hand, as the daylight fades to night, we find ourselves back at the waterfront watching a beautiful Sicilian sunset behind Mount Etna. A perfect end to a perfect day! Grazie Syracuse, Grazie Antonio!