Ortigia (Sicily)

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Ortigia is the historical heart of Siracusa (a small island joined to main land with 3 bridges) where I spent more time than  Siracusa, partly because I lived there and I had less energy but also because I loved the atmosphere. I live at Lynette’s, an adoptive  Italian who left South Africa  are more than forty years ago. She lived in Florence for thirty years and came to settle in Sicily after the death of her husband, to be closer to the sea. She did not know where she wanted to live in Sicily, but as soon as she saw Ortigia, she knew it was where she would settle. I understand. What a nice mix of Greek and Italian history, architectural splendour and natural beauty! The  Baroque architecture which characterizes Siracusa and Ortigia was born from the reconstruction of the city after the earthquake that destroyed everything in 1693. The recent events in Italy recall the long history of Italy with natural disasters. The  remains of a Greek temple dedicated to Apollo, the only or rare example of Greek columns in one piece were uncovered. In Piazza Duomo, the cathedral has an  baroque front, but once inside,  the impressive columns of an ancient Greek temple dedicated to Athena are mind blowing.

There is also a lively market, but when I visited, my camera was playing  up and I could not take pictures, but it is a genuine market, where vegetables are imperfect and full of soi. I was later able to get some  pictures in the city, but it is not easy to capture the majesty of the buildings with a single lens that can not take very large angles. There are few tourists and Sicilians gather  in the many cafes after the siesta. It comes alive in the evenings.

Lynette loves Italy but  has the impression that the government abandoned this part of the world, which partly explained the poor state of public transport. She swims  every day with her dog George, a beautiful basset who has a bad temper.


9 thoughts on “Ortigia (Sicily)”

    1. Every time I use the camera I realise how wonderful eyes are : they can see very far, wide angles, they get rid of details they do not like. I would need several cameras to imitate them. The few things that cameras do well are : focusing more (I would not have been able to see some architectural details without it) and remember. I went to places in the past, Hong Kong and Sweden, among other places, where I am very unlikely to back again, without taking a single picture and as time passes, I realise that I have forgotten a lot of what I did. The camera cannot always capture a moment, but it can wake up the emotion that was felt when it was taken. Having said that, this trip makes me realise that I am anyway totally behind. These days, one needs one or two phones, two or three cameras and lenses, a tripod, a stick (I think this is how they are called), a hair and makeup artist and a huge suitcase to put the outfits that will match the photos. I must say it was, often, a huge source of entertainment.

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