[ Aug.2022 ] After a week of staying in Syracuse, a historic town in Sicily, Italy, we participated in a free walking tour.
Actually, it is more meaningful to participate in such tours as soon as you arrive at your destination.
In fact, even the guide looked embarrassed, saying, “If you were here for a week, you would have seen almost everything.”
All in all, though, I learned a lot and had a great time.
At 5:30, after the peak of the hot weather, we gathered in front of the Greek temple on Ortygia.
There were 11 applicants, but 6 people including us actually came.
This was an English tour and our guide was an old lady from Vienna named Eva.
My husband said “she must be one of those who have married a Sicilian by mistake” (what does that mean?).
First of all, from the Greek temple of the meeting place.
Although it was a temple that ordinary people were not allowed to enter, people were able to see the inside of the temple thanks to the light coming in from the entrance on the east side.
There is a pillar made of a single stone, which is rare for what remains now apparently.
At Piazza Archimede, we heard the story of Arethusa again.
The fountain here represents that story, with Artemis, whom Arethusa served, in the middle, Arethusa on the right, and Alpheios on the left.
The fountain is showing its back to the main street, Corsa Matteotti, because the street was built later.
Corsa Matteotti is a product of the fascist era.
Then she talked about the faces of the porcelain men and women found all over Sicily.
A Saracen prince and a Christian princess fell in love and eloped but were found and beheaded.
And it is said that flowers bloomed from the place where their heads were buried, and these souvenirs were created.
As for the Duomo, a wedding was held on this day as well.
According to Eva, bookings for a wedding at the Duomo must be made two years in advance.
And because of Covid crisis, many of them had to be postponed, so now the Duomo is very busy having weddings one after another.
I wonder many couples change their minds during the two years of the booking period, don’t they?
After listening to an explanation of the Duomo building made of limestone and the historical buildings surrounding the Duomo square, we went to a church in the former Jewish quarter.
I forgot the name, but it is a semi-outdoor church in the ruins and is thought to have originally been a synagogue.
Because to enter this church, you have to go down several steps instead of going up.
According to Eva, the synagogue had a fixed ceiling height and was built from a low place to obtain that height.
Alghero in Sardinia, which we visited two years before, was the same, but in the 15th century, this area was under Spanish rule, and since Spain expelled all non-Christians in 1492, Jews disappeared from Syracuse as well.
After this church, the tour went out to the seaside, looked at the castle from a distance, and finally we went to the Arethusa Fountain.
Just in time to see a spectacular sunset.
Ignoring Eva’s explanation, I continued to take pictures of beautiful scenery with small boats in silhouette.
Eva wasn’t a guide who left a lasting impression, but she was a nice person, so we tipped €20 for two of us.
Even though she was quite old, I was impressed with how she was energetic and working hard.
My husband often says that when young people are doing their best, he feels like supporting them, but I am more attracted to older people who are doing their best.
Maybe it’s because I’m close to their age.