Visiting a Sicilian Island | Ortigia
Jason Daniel Shaw
ORTIGIA | SYRACUSE | SICILY
Ortigia is a little slice of Italian heaven sprinkled with some Greek history. As you explore the narrow streets and alleys, little shops and outdoor cafes, you discover a place that you have always pictured in your mind. Each turn takes you further into a labyrinth of your imagination brought to life until you remember that you are on an island – a relatively small one. As you make your way down the coastline, it is a sharp transition from the quaint interior to the wave-battered sea walls. It is easy to explore Ortigia in a day but that will only leave you wanting for more.
If you read about the first stop on our wedding/honeymoon trip, you will know that we made our way from Malta to Sicily by ferry. Sicily is a place that I had definitely had a vision of but didn’t know what to expect when I arrived. Arriving in the port town of Catania, we fell in love with it immediately and questioned our decision to leave. We stuck with our plan, picked up a rental car and drove down the coast to Syracuse.
Syracuse (Siracusa), itself is steeped in history and actually served as our base for exploration while we were in the area. The Grand Hotel Villa Politi was a beautiful hotel with amazing rooms and I would highly recommend it if you are in Syracuse. It is a short walk over to island along the shore. However, I would also recommend looking at the many hotels that fill the island of Ortigia if you are planning to spend most of your time there.
We were starving after our long journey so the first thing that we did when we arrived in Ortigia was find a place to eat. We were excited to get our Italian food adventures started. The food in Sicily was some of the best we had during our entire trip and one of the nice things about Ortigia was that the food wasn’t touristy, even at the walk-up counter places. That meant quality food at great prices.
After satisfying our hunger, we set out to burn off all of the calories. We started by exploring some of the major sites such as the Temple of Apollo and Piazza Archimede, as you can see, both named after Greek Gods. As we walked the streets, we took our time, exploring the little shops and of course stopping for a gelato. As you will see this becomes at least a daily occurrence for the entirety of the trip.
Syracuse and Ortigia are both places that I would love to visit again and would recommend to anyone that loves to relax while enjoying some history. If you want to follow along with our 25-day wedding / honeymoon trip, you can see more of our adventures in Malta, Italy, the Vatican, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro.