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
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.
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….