ORTIGIA, SICILY: ITALY’S HIDDEN MAGICAL CITY

Ortigia, Sicily, spelled both Ortigia and Ortygia, is everything you imagine an ancient Sicilian town to be. It is a jumble of disparate cultural influences combining to create impressive architecture, a laid-back attitude, and food so good you want to stop strangers on the streets and induce them to try it.

Main church in Ortygia

Il Duomo of Ortygia, a large church in Plaza Minerva.

ORTIGIA, SICILY. MAGICAL ISLAND.

Siracusa is the main town but the little adjacent island of Ortigia which is the original settlement is a more enchanting place to stay.  This amazing little town made up for everything we may have missed anywhere else.  Just wandering its narrow alleyways was one of the trip highlights. It is a well-preserved medieval island with authentic trattorias and specialty shops selling home-made goods down every alley.  The colorful alleyways suddenly open up on spectacular plazas, brilliant fountains and ancient ruins.

I love places that have an incredible history. I love the Italian way of life. I love the food. I love the people. I love the attitudes of Italians. – Elton John Click To Tweet

 

I wondered how a place like this managed to remain below the radar. It was overwhelming. 

We got a recommendation for a good, typical Sicilian restaurant, L’Osteria da Seby, and headed out in a rainstorm that flooded the streets. The food there was on a par with the rest of the town, fantastic!  One of the dishes was so unusual and delicious it merits special mention.  It was a delicate fish wrapped in what looks like an edible brown paper bag. Definitely a culinary highlight!

NOTO, A BIG SURPRISE

Basking in the afterglow of Ortigia we headed to Noto not really expecting much.  That’s the charm of Noto.  It takes you by surprise. The main pedestrian street is lined with beautiful baroque palaces built with a golden color stone that shines in the sunlight. That seemed to be the only outstanding sight the town had, but it sure was enough.  

Ortigia, Sicily.  I will always remember it as the town whose charm took me by surprise. What destination has thoroughly taken you by surprise?

To read part one of this series, Seven Delicious Adventures in Southern Italy: Naples: Pizza and Erotica, click here.

To read part two of this series, Seven Delicious Adventures in Southern Italy: Matera and the Fairy Towns, click here.

To read part three of this series, Seven Delicious Adventures in Southern Italy: Taormina, Intro to Sicily, click here.

To read part five of this series, Seven Delicious Adventures in Southern Italy: Agrigento, Greek Ruins, click here.

To read part six of this series, Seven Delicious Adventures in Southern Italy: Monreale’s Architecture, click here.

To read part seven of this series, Seven Delicious Adventures in Southern Italy: Palermo Streets, click here.

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