03 April, 2012

Siracusa, Sicilia

On our second day in Sicily, we took a little roadtrip down the coast to the ancient city of Siracusa (Syracuse).  As we drove all I could think was, "Sicily is crumbling."  Buildings are crumbling, cars are rusting, cats wander wild.  It basically feels like a second-world country.  But there is so much beauty, too, flying in the face of decay; citrus trees glow from the side of the highway, from people's yards, from behind churchyard walls.  Lemons, blood oranges.  Signs of life.

Sicily is crumbling
Lemons everywhere!
Siracusa spreads from mainland Sicily onto a small island called Ortigia.  We started on the mainland at a park of ancient Roman and Greek ruins.  Abandoned caves and quarries once inhabited and worked by slaves, now roamed by little green lizards and overgrown with lemon trees.  The Apostle Paul stopped in Siracusa on his way to Rome (it's ok, I didn't remember either until Becca mentioned it!); as I walked through the skeletons of temples and amphitheaters I liked to wonder if he ever walked where I did.
Me, Carrie, Becca, Lena, and Greek amphitheater ruins in Siracusa
Piazza del Duomo, Ortigia, Siracusa
Ortigia completely charmed us!  Elegant (though also crumbling).  We strolled the produce market and eyed beautiful Sicilian ceramics for sale.  Sometimes the only thing stopping me from a dreadful splurge is that fact that there simply isn't room in my suitcase for something like a full set of Sicilian dinner plates!! 
Pizza with potatoes, bacon, rosemary, mozzarella, and sweet gorgonzola.
We ate a delicious lunch at La Volpa e L'Uva (The Fox and the Grape) on the Piazza del Duomo.  Guys, this might be my favorite pizza ever.

The next day, after a brief stop to check out Carrie's ancestral hometown of Caltanissetta, we flew back to Rome to begin our exploration of mainland Italy!  To be continued...

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