On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Sicily, given its strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea, has a long, overlapping history of Greeks, Romans, Turks, Normans. During our short stay, we skimmed only a fraction of this history. After the olive harvest, we headed south to Siracusa.
We’d met a young Italian couple while on Sangat Island (in the Philippines) who told us where to stay and which beaches to visit. Our modest hotel was just across the bridge from the Island of Ortygia, the amazing historical center of Siracusa—full of crooked alleyways… Not shown in the photos below—we toured its catacombs, archaeological museum, two subterranean Jewish baths hidden & abandoned in 1492, during the purge by Spanish edict. Also, a hidden tunnel system connecting the churches and used as a bomb shelter during WWII—complete with graffiti from that time.
View southwest from the Necropolis of Pantalica, looking into the stream valley of the Anapo River. The necropolis contains thousands of rock-cut chamber tombs dating from the thirteenth to seventh centuries BC.
This theatre was originally built in the fifth century BC (rebuilt in the 3rd century BC and renovated again in the Roman period according to Wikipedia).
The Roman amphitheater is adjacent to the Greek theatre; built in the third century AD for gladiator fights.
Remnants of Chiesa di San Giovanni (Church of St John), built above the catacombs in the 6th century AD. Apostle John is thought to have stayed briefly in an underground grotto with fresco-covered walls within the catacombs (~61 AD).
View of Spiaggia di Calamosche, one of the beaches recommended by our Italian friends, within Riserva Naturale Oasi Faunistica Vendicari, south of Siracusa.
Fresh seafood in the open-air market on Ortygia, just across the bridge.
Spices in the open-air market on Ortygia.
What time of year was this? I live in Ohio and we have high standards for green. These Sicilian photos of countryside are so much greener than I would have expected. Probably just shows how little I know.
Dorothy A. Winsor
That Greek theater is gigantic. I love these places where ancient cultures crossed and left part of themselves
Love both the history and the open air market.
What wonderful pictures of places I never knew existed. When I was younger, I was always more interested in human history from more ancient times, the Paleolithic and even further back. I blame National Geographic and pictures of the Leakeys hunting ancient remains in Africa.
Only as I have gotten older have I become interested in the more recent periods of history including the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Nabataeans, Sumerians and so on. Thanks for showing us those interesting places.
This is awesome! I have a new place to dream about going now.
@sab: We were there in October. It didn’t rain while we were there, but the island is big enough and has enough relief for a variety of landscapes.
@cope: I must confess our travels are sort of ‘by-the-seat-of-our-pants’, so we stumble onto a lot of amazing places we didn’t know much about ahead of time… (Although we did manage to visit 5 of Sicily’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites.)
My first trip to Italy I visited a friend in the UW architecture program at the Palazzo Pio on Campo dei Fiori in the heart of Rome, an amazing city for stumbling upon antiquity. My friend had bern on a week long trip to Sicily which he described as far richer in the tangible evidence of ancient civilizations. Me, besotted with seeing remnants of ancient Roman streets 15 feet below current street grade (they didn’t haul all the stones away after each demolition), was intrigued. I believe Sicily has more ancient Greek ruins than Greece. And many famous Greeks lived in Sicily, especially Siracusa (Syracuse).
J R in WV
Fascinating photos. The Greek theater next to the Roman amphitheater, just great!
Especially like the food pics, as I love food. The bars in Spain and France had wonderful food, laid out on the bar for lunch, I would order by pointing at a platter and holding up 2 fingers, or 4, or 1 if I didn’t think Wife would like it…