Trip Start Oct 03, 2006
Trip End Oct 18, 2006

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Flag of Italy  ,
Saturday, October 7, 2006

The Hotel del Santuario, next to the Cathedral. Our room was like a convent cell, or more like a hospital room. Our day began early with a trip to the historical and archeological park. It was amazing to be this close, really, we could have walked.

The theatre was well preserved. The caves at the top were interesting. Loved the water in them. We met our guide who gave us all the historical information.

The Romans built an arena as well. Smaller than the big arenas we tend to associate with the Romans.

We visited Dionysius' Ear. It is an opening in the quarry walls that once inside has amazing sound qualities. It is said one of the rulers would send his enemies in there to talk he would listen from high above and hear them perfectly. They hold concerts in there, just the musicians are inside, the audience is out in the quarry which is now a grove.

After this we traveled to the Castello Eurialo. The old fortress built by Dionysius the Elder (the tyrant) which was used to protect the city. The guide left us here and we continued on.

Then it was over to Ortigia Island, which is really Old Siracusa. There was a temple to Apollo there and we had our sandwiches in the shadow of the ruins. I tried yet another bank ATM without success. The Duomo piazza was beautiful, even if the Cathedral was covered in scaffolding. The Cathedral had been built over the ruins of the Temploe to Minerva which was built over the temple to Athena. This same building was also a mosque before it became the Baroque cathedral.

After wandering around for a bit, we headed back to our hotel for a free afternoon. Deb, Tom and I first went to some of the little souvenir stands right outside the hotel. Then we went over to the Cathedral right across from the hotel. The cathedral is a huge concert "tent" like structure. Dedicated to a weeping Madonna. There is always a mass at the Cathedral so I stayed for awhile and listened. The grounds of the cathedral are more archeological and some of the ruins of whatever was there are inside the actual church. It was an anniversary of the Madonna and the little chapels off the main church were decorated by various groups and areas. Quite interesting. As there was a mass I didn't take any pictures. They have a small museum inside the basement area. As my Italian wasn't good and I couldn't understand all the cards and signs, my interpretation was: The museum is filled with crutches, wheelchairs, and other items those who have been healed cast off. There are also christening clothes and wedding gowns of those who survived or were blessed with children. One of the more unusual churches we visited.

We walked down the way to the Tomb of Archimedes. This area was the old Necropoli Grotticelli and the largest tomb is known as Archimedes' as he was a native of Siracusa and one of the greatest scientists of the ancient world.

Some of the group went back to Ortigia to have dinner. Tom, Deb, and I opted to walk around the area and find something there.
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