Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
111Trip End Ongoing
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We dropped off our gear and headed out to explore the streets of Ortygia. The island is just packed with old buildings, churches, and even a few palaces
After our lovely breakfast in bed, we headed to the Neapolis-Parco Archeologico. The park holds an astonishing amount of historical sights to visit. The big-ticket item is the Teatro Greco. A massive 5th century BC Greek theatre that was carved entirely out of the stone in the ground on site. Only a few metres from that is an ear-shaped cave or grotto that Dionysius used to eavesdrop on his prisoners that he held there. Even the faintest noises are amplified to the outside. There is also a massive Roman Amphitheatre that is only rivaled by the Coliseums in Rome and Verona. Additionally there are countless grottos, a Roman pool, and a 2500-year-old altar built by the tyrant Heiron II. The altar is the largest in the world at 23 metres wide by 198 metres long. During the Feast of Elautheria, 450 bulls were killed, roasted and eaten by the participants on this altar. Siracusa has certainly seen its share of influence. What was most interesting was the fact that only the foundations of the Roman amphitheatre and the altar remain. This is because during the time of Spanish control (16th century) they took all of the stones that made up these structures to fortify the island of Ortygia. It is fascinating to see all of these buildings and structures that are made from, with, or on top of older monuments from the past. And it all happened in a city smaller than Guelph. Wow.
Off to the resort town of Taormina...