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Another day on holiday, another day to visit the places of the pagan gods…

Syracusa is a nearly-3000 year old city on the south-east of Sicily, famous for being the birthplace of Archimedes, and for maintaining until modern times some rather spectacular ancient architecture.

It is also the home to pasta eating cats!

I’ve been putting off this post of a while because I’m not sure that the photos we took on the day really do the place justice, and I’m sadly lacking in the knowlege required to augment the story.

So, here is a bunch of poorly-captioned photos of the ruins we saw, in chronological order, but also in order of greatness: Archeological Park, The Amphitheatre and The Ear of Dionysius.

‘Ruins’ (From the 3rd century)

I call this one: ‘Mother, Inversed Height Relationship’

This one is: ‘An Ode to Lauren W’

‘There has to be a way into those tunnels’ (we could not find one)

‘Behold’ or ‘My Boyfriend is Much Better At Posing Than My Mother’

‘Trying To Be Small’


‘Spring Fluffy Spring!’

‘Roman Tango’

And so on…

Despite my rather horrible commentary, I hope you can appreciate how amazing this amphitheatre really is. Oh the size! Oh the preservation!
Personally, I’m imagining a night with Shakespeare, but if you’re more of a ‘lions and tigers and bears’ person, feel free to insert them into your imagined nights proceedings.

Behind the theatre is a row of little caves- perfect for the selling of newt ears, frog tongues and bat eyeballs (if Monty Python is anything to go by)

One of the caves had its own little waterfall:

Andy, who is a much better and more patient photographer than myself, took some lovely shots..

Right behind the theatre is ‘The Ear of Dionysius’, and awe-inspiring rock-cave.

This perhaps gives you a slightly fake understanding of how large the cave is- but perhaps you can see the tiny little people in to the bottom of the photo?

You follow the curve of the ‘ear’ …

.. and gradually lose all light..

Well worth a visit!
On the way back to town we visited the ‘Basilica Santuario Madonna delle Lacrime- a giant cement monstrosity visible from around the town.

(Not the church, but a rather awesome tree- does anyone know what it is?)

Inside, the church is rather magnificent, but in a slightly intimidating way, and also contains a touch of the ‘communist housing’ theme with all the cement and lack of light.

The nooks created by the star-like shape of the building contained little worship areas, dedicated to some saint or another.

One of the nooks instead contained a Museum ‘Ex Voto’, which held a seriously creepy collection of wedding dresses, and lots of old braces/crutches etc:

Our guess was that it had something to do with faith healing or miracles.

And the crowning glory of the church? The ‘Reliquary’, a goblet which contained (verified by scientific testing no less), the tears of the Virgin. Which I think is probably at least less creepy than the ‘hair’ or ‘fingernails’ of so-and-so that I remember scattered throughout Italy’s churches.

In the evening, we headed down to Ortigia- technically an island but in practice connected to the city mainland by multiple motorways/bridges. Andy is posing here in front of the Temple of Apollo, which was not particularly stunning after the days touring.

We wandered around the Island, through the main Piazzas, along the coast, and up and down the very narrow streets.

At some point, we managed to find some amazingly cheap and delicious arancini (little oranges), and some sort of bread-based pie product, containing tomato, ham, cheese and eggplant. Dinner itself later in the evening was fairly disappointing, so I’ll leave you instead with pictures of us pleasurably stuffing our faces with these delights.

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