Summer escape to Ortigia, Sicily.
I’m sharing our trip to southern Sicily of our wonderful summer escape to Ortigia, Syracuse.
Our first trip to the gorgeous island of Ortigia. You can debate whether Ortigia is an island (because it is connected to Syracuse by two short bridges) or whether it is a peninsular of the main city (which it also is). To us it was a beautiful tiny Sicilian island bursting with history, natural beauty and charm.
Walking along the promenade in front of the sea, getting lost in the beautiful back streets and amazing architecture.
The stunning Cathedral located on Piazza Duomo, which by the way is one of the most beautiful squares I have seen. Watching the late golden sunlight on the cathedral facade is a must. Another great joy was to explore the road around the circumference of the island and the small back streets on the eastern side of the island. Here we discovered an open air ruined church to hidden18th century courtyards. Just stunning!
There are lots of other things to do in Ortigia. Just down the hill from the Piazza del Duomo, the Fonte Aretusa is a lovely spot, a freshwater spring which was a big factor in attracting the Greeks to settle on the island. It’s now planted with papyrus and is a popular stop on the evening stroll.
The main market in Ortigia- is a foodlovers paradise.
It’s a short walk down from Piazza Archimede which leads down to the large square Largo XXV Luglio, home to the remains of the Temple of Apollo and the fantastic Ortigia street market.
For me, markets are always a first stop in a new town, because it is in markets that you can immerse yourself in the community and how it lives.
The frenzy of the buying, selling and local venders calling out was a wonderful way to start our mornings. My photos could not fully capture the beauty and excitement of everything going.
Where to stay:
We stayed at a small B&B called B&B Five rooms- The location was perfect overlooking the fountain of Piazza Archimedes. Lovely little hotel with only a few rooms, which are decorated differently from one another. The service is friendly and every detail carefully thought out. Cosy breakfast area and my particular highlight, freshly prepared breakfast overlooking the back courtyard.
Other little boutique hotels:
Places to eat and drink:
Cortile Verga Ortigia- Lovely place for evening drinks in Ortigia! First, the setting is very romantic - in a beautiful countyard, tables are lit with candles, the ambience is stylish and relaxed.
Fatelli Burgio Ortigia
Fratelli Burgio, a quality grocer and producer of local specialities, selling bread, fresh ham, salami and cheese, as well as wine and packaged food. During the summer months a range of appetising snacks is on offer in front of the shop.
Antica Locanda Ortiga - Really good food and wonderful wines in a warm and atmospheric setting. The staff are also extremely friendly and helpful.
O'Scina Ortigia - This is in a small side street definitely well worth a visit.
Solari Vini & Liquoir - Great for a glass of wine and snack.
Places to shop in Ortigia:
Via Cavour, which winds north from Piazza Duomo, is lined with quirky shops
I think this is the perfect place if you want a summer escape for a few days away to explore the beautiful architecture, history and let yourself be charmed by the island.