We left beautiful Taormina Saturday morning and drove down the coast to Syracuse, first stopping at the Archaeological Museum, where we saw some pottery and sculpture and discussed the history of Syracuse—overall a rather dull museum. We strolled through downtown Syracuse (not particularly attractive) and had lunch at a meat/sandwich shop (I could have gotten horse meat, but went with the ham and cheese) before continuing on to Ortigia (the island, and nicer, portion of the city) and our hotel, Grand Hotel Ortigia. We had the afternoon free, so I strolled around exploring the island. The views of the Bay of Syracuse and the Mediterranean are wonderful, and there are some nice squares and shops in the middle. For dinner at the hotel, we had, you guessed it, pasta pomodoro, veal scallopini with roasted potatoes, and fruit salad (good food, but getting repetitive). After dinner, we went out for a walk around the island, stopping for gelato (still no arancia rossa, but I did find another place with chocolate cinnamon) and seeing the Duomo and some shops.
Sunday morning we visited the Archaeological park north of the city, where we saw a theater (with stones mined by captive Athenians), the Ear of Dionysius (where the Athenians captured after the failed Sicilian expedition during the Peloponnesian War were forced to work), and a temple from the time of Hieron II (and a glimpse of a Roman amphitheater). We came back to Ortigia and visited the inside of the Duomo, built over an old temple of Athena and apparently called the “daughter of Peter.” We had pizza for lunch in the square, and then I came back to the hotel for a needed “riposte.” I then went out to enjoy the lovely weather and explore and wandered to the end of a huge breakwater with the Mediterranean crashing over it (very cool!) before visiting the mainland city for a bit. For dinner at the hotel, we had risotto with vegetables (very good), veal rolled with cheese and grilled zucchini & eggplant (very good), and a Sicilian cassata (an overly sweet creamy cake).