More Baroque in Catania & Ortygia

I arrived in Catania by bus from Modica, met with the apartment host to get keys, and then headed to the airport to meet my dear friend Viveka as she arrived from Sweden!!

We have ten days to enjoy traveling together again! We met five years ago in Spain.

Since then we have had great trips together in Sweden (twice), Mexico (twice), Belize, Guatemala, and Albania.

Cathedral di Sant’Agata (Duomo) is the beautiful heart of Catania.

Morning coffee and pistachio cornottos in the Piazza Duomo

Fontana dell’Elefante (1736). The elephant is made of black lava from Mt Edna

There is huge and very famous fish market beside the Piazza Duomo. It sprawls and makes it difficult to capture it in a photo!

The fish market then transitions into a market of vegetables, fruit, cheese, cured and fresh meat that spreads across several streets.

This is the view from our apartment. As you can see, we won’t starve!

Fresh artichokes and roasted at the market

The Roman Amphitheatre, one of the largest in the Roman Empire. Built in the mid 1st century and enlarged around the mid 2nd century so it could seat over 15,000 spectators.

After the 1693 earthquake it was more and more covered by new construction, and only rediscovered in the early 1900’s. Only a part has been exposed.

The exterior of Chiesa di San Benedetto was nothing special but the interior was the most beautiful I’ve seen yet.

It was frescoed by the Mexican artist Giovanni Tuccari in only three years (1726 to 1729). The alter is inlaid with silver and gold.

Local golden boy composer Massimo Bellini

Teatro Massimo Bellini (Opera House)

Villa Bellini park

Another market

Castello Ursino built 1239-1250 and one of the few buildings to survive the 1693 earthquake

Our neighbourhood also has many places to eat – especially featuring seafood from the market next door.

Seafood risotto

Mixed seafood


Bucatini and clams

After a good lunch we were very happy to just enjoy an ‘apertivo’ instead of dinner!

When you order a pre dinner drink (Aperol Spritz in the photo), they supply complementary snacks.

And in the Piazzo Duomo it was fun to just people watch.

Next, Ortygia, a small island off the city of Siracusa.

It was supposed to be an uneventful 75 minute train ride. Viveka and stopped for breakfast as we had time to kill between check out and the train departure.

We got to the train platform and then discovered the train was cancelled. A replacement bus was coming but they had no idea when. It could be an hour.

So a mad scramble to get a refund for the train tickets and find the Interbus stop somewhere (with a vague wave) across the bus lot and down the street. But we made it!

Ortygia is very beautiful with it’s narrow windy streets and broad piazzas.

Duomo di Siracusa

Tempio di Apollo (6th century BC) is the oldest Doric temple in Sicily

Fontana di Diana

Castello Maniace with an art installation in the hall

Largo Porta Marina

Modern churches in Syracuse

Basilica Santuario Madonna della Lacrime (1957-1994)

Chiesa di San Tommaso al Pantheon

Sfincione, a type of Sicilian pizza

Wood fired pizza

More fish, and eggplant on its own and in Pasta alla Norma

Braised lamb shank

It’s been great! Viveka and I have walked, talked and shared wonderful food!

But tomorrow morning we head back to Catania to be close to the airport. Viveka flies Thursday morning and I leave for Malta on Friday.

Three weeks left….

5 thoughts on “More Baroque in Catania & Ortygia

  1. I’m intrigued with that cool art installation at Castello Maniace.
    It’s wonderful you girls can enjoy travelling together again. I see some delicious meals, drinks and friendship have been celebrated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The art installation was interesting! There was a video showing them rolling heavy stone balls across the glass to create broken paths. Felt a little fragile underfoot to start!


  2. Such great photos. You have seen wonderful things! So glad you had time with your friend. That is just great! Enjoy the rest of your trip. Will you remember everything ?

    Liked by 1 person

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