days five, six and seven were spent in syracuse/ortygia, at the vendicari nature preserve, and briefly in noto (pictures for noto will be in part three). syracuse really has two primary areas to see, syracuse itself (which has greek ruins) and a tiny island off its coast called ortygia (which has pretty much everything else). syracuse has a tremendous history--it has been "occupied" by phoenecians, carthaginians, greeks, romans, arabs/moors/saracens, normans, and now italians. actually, that's the whole history of sicily, too--it's just more apparent in syracuse. homer wrote about it in "the iliad," which reminds me that i need to do some remedial reading soon...
la fontana di arethusa--an odd little freshwater ("acqua dolce" in italian, which i love) spring right next to the ionian sea
il duomo of syracuse...on ortygia
the piazza in front of the duomo--lovely baroque space
interior, il duomo--you can see the 5th c BC temple integrated into the structure
coast off of ortygia
massive temple structure on ortygia--i think it is the temple of apollo
back onto mainland syracuse: this is the greek theatre, still in use today
the vendicari! it is an incredibly beautiful place, and amazing because it exists--it is one of the only unspoiled, protected patches of pure coastline left in sicily
vendicari beach with old tuna cannery in the background--i have absolutely no idea what those plant-like, ball-shaped things are all over the beach, but unfortunately they were interspersed with a disturbing number of syringes. not sure if they washed up from north africa or another part of sicily.
the vendicari is a nature preserve that a large number of migratory birds pass through on their way back to africa--these are cormorants and egrets on the ruined house
ruin and clover at the vendicari
parts of the vendicari reminded me of new mexico--i think it's the prickly pear, which is an invasive species there
tilt-shift rock and prickly pear! i'm loving this effect.
the old tunnery, which i think is a word