Siracusa is the only place that I’ve planned to spend two nights on this trip. The starting point for the whole adventure was buying a ticket for a concert here, and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss the show or the chance to see the local area, so had arrived a day early.
I had a moderately early breakfast in the hotel, during which I read assorted news reports about the extreme weather being experienced in parts of Italy. I have been relatively lucky so far, but read that the Italian government have set their highest level alerts for 15 cities, including Rome, Florence and Bologna, all places that are on my itinerary. For now, I will just monitor the situation, and avoid the sun/heat as best I can, but am formulating an “escape” plan should the needed arise.
Breakfast complete, I set off exploring again. This time I aimed for the side of the island that I had not seen before.
Everything here is a mix of old and new. On one side of the walkway the latest in multi-million pound yachts, on the other side an old aquarium. It all adds to the charm of the place, which has none of the attitude I’ve seen in some Mediterranean ports.
I noticed that the largest of all these craft had Douglas (Isle of Man) on the stern, as it’s registered port. I wonder how often it can be seen back there. My guess is not very often.
There is a fort at the end of the island, indeed there is evidence of historic defences all around the island. I didn’t go in as I wanted to see as much of the area as I could. It is well preserved and there is still a military presence nearby.
Returning through the maze of charming narrow streets, I came across the Piazza Archimede, where a rather odd fountain stands. I’m really not sure about the horse in the foreground! A number of the narrow streets had scaffolding or other structures, spanning the width of the street above head height. I suspect it was more about holding the walls up than doing any works.
I took lunch a late in a roadside cafe (excellent pasta with pesto) then after seeing out the hottest part of the day in my room, took another wander into town. As I looked down one of the side streets I saw what I first though was an apartment block that I’d not noticed before. it took me a moment to realise that it was a cruise ship; something which become more apparent from different angle.
I’d seen the Temple of Apollo in the dark last night, but it was good to see it by day as well. I never get over the thought that this is “normal” for Italy, but the rest of us can barely believe such things exist, let alone half ignored. I’d found a smaller structure in a side street that wasn’t even marked up.
Having walked all around the edge of the island I’d missed out parts of the middle, and realised that they was a rather nice piazza in front of the Cathedral. By now it was hotting up and time for me to head back to my room for a while, though plenty of locals were still messing about in boats.
I’d read comments online that the Greek theatre was covered over and nothing of the original remained visible. I’m not sure I’d put it quite like that. The stage and seating areas have been boarded to make them safer and more comfortable for performers and the audience during the current concert season, but nothing has been done that can’t and won’t be undone. It’s an impressive site anyway.
To see how it “normally” looks, go to the Neapolis Archaeological Park website.
The concert got under way at 21:30, by which time it was dark. It was a visual treat. A lot of thought had been given to the lighting and general stage set up, tailoring it to this lovely space.
I hugely enjoyed the show, which lasted just over two hours. It was themed around Sicilian life (Carmen Consoli is Sicilian) and although I have next to nothing of the language, I could pretty much follow the narrated sections, and know the songs well.
My one niggle would be that in order to be in front of the whole audience the performers need to be well back on the stage or the people at the sides would be looking at them from behind. That gap takes away a little of the intensity, though to be fair both performers and audience did a pretty good job of bridging that gap with their enthusiasm, it just made photos a bit more more difficult!
A really super evening and very definitely worth the long journey to get here. All being well I will see Carmen again in a few days time, in a very different setting, and with a completely different show, in Bologna. Never one to make it easy for herself she is doing multiple tours at the same time with different line-ups!