Ortigia island

We’re heading for Ortigia – Syracuse’s island heart. Packed full of history and architecture.

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It may be small but it’s crammed with over 2,500 years of history.

As we head to Ortigia we pass The Fountain of Diana by Giulio Moschetti

At Diana’s feet, Alpheus looks on as his love interest Arethusa turns into a fountain after she asks for help to escape him.

She disappears into the ground and escapes to the island of Ortigia. Later we’ll see the spring where she emerged.

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Architectural styles in Ortigia encompass Greek and Roman remains, Mediaeval Norman buildings and Baroque too.

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As well as the old, you can also get some modern quirky sights too!

Here’s another depiction of the symbol of Sicily – the trinacria. A woman’s head surrounded by three legs and wheat.

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We’re heading to the architectural centre of Ortigia first – the Piazza del Duomo.

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The Piazza is home to a stunning Cathedral built on the site of an ancient Temple of Athena.

You can still see the original Doric columns that were incorporated into the building’s main structure.

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The almost clinically clean buildings and blinding sunshine makes it seem like a theatre set.

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Carved decorative stonework can be found everywhere you look.

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Below is one of many statues to be found of St Lucy. A young woman who meet with a grisly end (as saints tend to do)

She was denounced as a Christian and was stabbed in the throat by a dagger.

Local tradition sometimes also mentions that Lucy removed her eyes when complimented her for their beauty while a brand new set of eyes were miraculously restored to her thanks to her faith.

Postcards show another homage to St Lucy.

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More details of the interior.

Below is the Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia.

This is currently the home of one of Siracusa’s most prized works of art – The Burial of Santa Lucia by Caravaggio

Below is Fonte Aretusa – Siracusa’s most famous mythological site.

The tale goes that the nymph Arethusa, was bathing in the Alpheus River when the god of the river took a liking to her.

She begged to escape and Artemis, in pity ,turned the nymph into a spring, allowing her to escape underground.

She travelled under the sea to emerge here, in Siracusa. Alpheus, though, followed her and mingled his waters with hers for eternity. Romantic eh?

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Then it’s off for a quick look at the sea (and enjoy a bit of breeze)

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The turquoise water is gorgeous and calming after a hot and stifling tour around the sights.

All in all another whirlwind sightseeing day.

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