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Syracuse| Siracusa

Updated: Apr 6

My husband's uncles often said “If you haven't been to Sicily, you haven't been to Italy”. Hence, our visit to the island. Our fifth stop was Syracuse, Siracusa, the birthplace of the Greek mathematician Archimedes. This ancient city features Greek ruins that date back to 500 bc. Rich in history, archaeological sites can be found throughout the city.

Syracuse is truly a city that juxtaposes the ancient with the modern. Ruins can be seen next to 21st century buildings and roads and they coexist quite beautifully.

Fishing is a way of life for many, and seafood is definitely a staple in the Sicilian diet.

Gelato, a frozen treat from the 16th century, can easily be found. Trust me, it is delicious.

The 20th century Basilica of  Santuario Madonna delle Lacrime is one of the first things you see when you approach Syracuse's Ortigia Island.

Ancient ruins next to less ancient buildings.

 Temple of Apollo
Temple of Apollo

The temple of Apollo was the first Western Greek temple to have a peristasis (περίστασις) made of stone, not wood. The peristasis (peristyle) columns surrounded the building and made the temple look the same from all four sides.

The structure that houses the Cathedral of Syracuse has ancient origins. At one time it was the Doric styled Temple of Athena and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Did you know that the first modern-style Tuk-Tuk, the  Piaggio Ape, which can be seen all over Asia, originated in Italy?

Located on the south eastern coast of Sicily there are many beautiful views of the Ionian sea,

There is no absence of color.

One of the things I miss when traveling anywhere, except for Greece, is green leafy vegetables. It seems as if most of the world has no idea how to serve them in a restaurant. When we walked past Viola bakery and saw two people enjoying a plate of greens, we decided to try to get some too. Unfortunately the option that looked and smelled fantastic was not available. We did get a vegetable calzone that was delicious.

Later we saw a restaurant with a vegan sign on the outside. It looked good. We went on-line and checked Tripadvisor. MOON was rated #13 out of 528 restaurants. We, well I, decided it was worth trying. It turned out to be one of the best restaurants I have visited.  My husband, a devout carnivore, of the “My entrée should have parents” school of thought,  thoroughly enjoyed his meal as well.

MOON menu | October 2022
MOON menu | October 2022

One of the surprising and impressive things that happened was that our server asked if we had any dietary restrictions.

The meal began with the hummus, non solo cecil. While hummus is standard vegan fare, there was nothing standard or boring about this plate. The palate of colors made it nice to look at and the beet, artichoke and sun dried tomato preparations were all equally good. A great start. 

For the main, I had the Carbonara del Moon Linguine with turmeric sauce and smoked tofu. While I am generally not a fan of smoked food, this was delightful.. My husband had the Scusa nonnai tagliatelle in a rich tempeh ragu sauce.

And if it could not get any better, we ordered a dessert package to go. Cannoli were once a favorite dessert of mine. I've had to sadly give them up because ricotta cheese has decided to be mean to me.  MOON makes their own vegan ricotta and the cannoli were as good or better as any I remembered. My husband, who was able to partake of the dairy version in Sicily, enjoyed the vegan option as well.

I wish that MOON was in the NY area. So good, actually, so amazing.

MOON | Move Ortigia Out of Normality
MOON | Move Ortigia Out of Normality

The famous Greek mathematician Achimedes has his own tiny island which you get to by walking over a little bridge. At night the harbor is lit up and it gives the statue of Archimedes a nice glow.

A short distance from the town of Syracuse is Catania and Mt Etna and so we took a day trip

When we rented our car we were so happy not to have a white fiat panda like everyone during our time in the Greek Isles. At least now our car was an uncommon color and really easy to find in the parking garage. Or so we thought. 

Not far from Syracuse is Europe's largest active volcano, Mt Etna

At Etna we headed to the caldera, taking a bus, then a van, and then walking with a guide. We were permitted there because the smoke was white. Had it been yellow or red or worse blue, "If da bluah show, its"a no go.”

Back to Siracusa where we were greeted by one of our favorite fountains in Sicily.

Invented in the Sicilian city of Palermo, the cannolo is popular all over the island. The best cannoli are said to be found in a small town called Piana degli Albanesi. We didn’t bother, but that's what we heard.

To see more photos of Syracuse, Sicily

To see more photographs of Sicily, please visit:

To continue reading about our recent trip to Sicily by way of Rome please look for our next segment - Taormina

If you missed Ragusa by way of  Villa Romana del Casale 2022, please go to:

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