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.