Monday, November 18

Fall 2019 Day 28

It’s been 4 weeks!  Hard to believe!  Today we were in Syracuse and more specifically, Ortegia!  The home town of Archimedes and the home to the oldest structures I have seen outside of museums!  I again didn’t have time to organize the pictures so I’ll try to explain where they all fit in. We started the day having coffee on our balcony overlooking the Greco-Roman theater. Not a bad way to start any day!  Seriously, we feel so lucky to have had all of these amazing Airbnb experiences and this is right up near the top!  It’s a gorgeous place in an incredible location. And it’s the most comfortable bed we have had the whole time!  We drove to a Baroque town called Noto. There was a huge earthquake here in 1693 that destroyed many of the older towns. Noto was one of them, so they rebuilt the city in the style of the day, Baroque. It’s gorgeous. It gleams golden in the sunlight and is just a very easy city to visit. It’s also one of the best places to try a Sicilian specialty, granita!  It’s like a cross between gelato and a sno-cone. It’s so flavorful and amazing!  We WILL be featuring authentic Sicilian granita at Brian’s Ice Cream Experience next summer!  I’m already working out flavors in my head!  We left Noto after a few hours and a lot of granita and headed towards Syracuse. Then we crossed a small bridge to get to the town of Ortegia, basically a part of Sicily, but not actually connected to the island. There they have a few Ancient Greek monuments that are some of the oldest stone monuments we can attribute to the Greeks. 130 years before the Parthenon. I have been to the Parthenon and it’s incredible to think of how much improvement they made in those 130 years!  Even so, they did amazing things!  We also saw the Duomo of Sicily that was originally a Greek temple also. You can still see the Greek steps up to the temple and the Greek columns built into the side of the church. Inside, it’s different than most churches, there is no transept, so it’s basically a Greek temple. You can look up and see where the Greek temple stops and the Byzantine structure begins.  Then you can see where the moorish mosque part was added and then when the Normans came and retook Sicily and turned it back into a church. I find those things fascinating. We had some lunch. Nothing special, just some filler and then we went and saw some Caravaggio paintings that are here in Ortegia. We just love him!  Any chance you have to look at a Caravaggio, take it!  There’s a nice one at the DIA!  After that we went looking for the Jewish well, apparently a sacred Jewish spot in Syracuse. We walked through their surprisingly huge Jewish quarter to it,  it unfortunately, it was closed. Oh well!  Then we went back to the Temple of Apollo, the Greek temple from before the Parthenon and really got a chance to study it. Huge Doric columns surrounding a surprisingly large central court. Most Greek columns are smaller rings tied together with metal to make a large column. These are carved, so they are especially impressive!  It must have really been something in its time!  Then, we headed back to Catania and because it’s our last night in our amazing Airbnb, we decided to just bring in wine, pizza and cannoli, another Sicilian specialty. We had a great meal and enjoyed our view of the theater for one last evening. Our lovely host came upstairs to say goodbye to us and brought us a bottle of her homemade Limoncello!  Boy was that amazing!  Best we have ever had!  It was a lovely end to another fantastic day!  We are down to our last week!  We miss our puppy and our little store and our families, but this isn’t too bad!  Thanks for reading all these days worth of posts. We truly appreciate it. We are going to see some amazing stuff tomorrow, you won’t want to miss it!!  Till then, Bueno Notte!!

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