When trying to figure out where to go in Italy in January, I asked my Italian cousins, “What do you think of Puglia?” Yes, Puligia. You see, I have been obsessed with aseaside restaurant set inside of a cave这种情况发生在普里格州的一个叫巴厘岛的省份之一。Imaginebeing elegantly seated inside a vaulted limestone cave while looking outwards toward the sea and the setting sun. Include a glass of Arneis, crusty bread and some of Italy’s best olive oil and I am pretty sure the vision is straight from Dante’sParadiso。Who wouldn’t be a little obsessed!?
As logic would have it, the restaurant is closed during the cold winter months, so my cousins suggested Sicily. Brilliant! One call later to my Sicilian-lobbyist friend in D.C and I had my transportation routed and B&B booked. I was Siracusa, Sicily bound…specifically its historic center on the little island of Ortigia.
You know the saying, “Its not about the destination, but the journey.” Well, that couldn’t have been more true about this overnight experience to Siracusa.
I boarded my train at Rome’s Termini station at 10pm and made my way to my sleeping car. My little first class compartment was equipped with a sink and overnight necessities (toothbrush and slippers included). Before I tucked myself under the snug comforter and rested my head on the fluffy pillow**, m你的搬运工祝我晚安，掉一瓶闪闪发光的水。I was rocked to sleep by the sway of the train.
Seven hours later, the sound of scraping and clanking metal jolted me awake. When I looked outside I noticed our train – our whole train – was being loaded onto a ferry to cross from mainland Italy to the island of Sicily! INCREDIBLE! When I went out to further inquire, my porter suggested I go up to the decks to “enjoy the sail”…so I did! It was a marvelous 40 minutes watching the scenery and sunrise over Sicily…and I did it while enjoying two of the best cups of cappuccino I have ever had!
My train in the bowel of a ferry…who knew trains took ferry trips too!
Once safely unloaded, we took to the tracks again. The most majestic part of the next 2 1/2 hours in route to Siracusa was gazing upon Mount Etna. She is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and I enjoyed marveling at the smoke and steam bellowing up from her splendid snow-capped summit (just wish my pics of it weren’t so sh*t).
我的家在接下来的3晚 -La Via della Giudecca B&B。
B＆B从Siracusa的犹太区中获取它的名字。它是一个名叫，Piazza San Filippo的广场，靠近一切。我不能选择在Siracusa留下更舒适的住宿。
One thing I LOVE to do when traveling is to visit the local markets, and this daily one in Ortigia did not disappoint! Fresh fish, many kinds of oranges and lots of pecorino cheeses were amongst the fresh, local items found. The fish mongers yelled so loud it almost seemed hostile, but they were just trying to sell their goods. I wonder if that would work as well for me if I tried the same at atrunk show。
Caseificio Borderi– A must visit on Ortigia!
I went to this wonderful shop in the market my last day on the island to buy olive oil. My hotel bought all their breakfast cheeses and meats here and therefore recommended I went to them for the best Sicilian olive oil.
Exploring more of Ortigia – Fountain of Diana in the main square, Piazza Archimede.
And when I got hungry from all my exploring I indulged on island fare!
My Italian cousin, Susanna, sent me text that said,“In Sicily you must try “arancini” (balls of fried rice with meat&tomatoe sauce), and for breakfast “granita e brioche” (awesome brioche with granita, chopped ice with fruit flavor)…it’s a weird combo, but very tasty and sicilian!”
While I learned they don’t serve the latter in the winter months, I did scout out an arancini! I had it as a snack…but the size and mix of heavy ingredients (rice, meat and cheese) could easily make it a meal! It was delicious and I felt so Sicilian eating it! Thanks, Susanna, for the recommendation!
When the stomach was full it was always back to exploring…
While my time on Ortigia was indeed a lot of play, there was definitely work to be done too! One of my objectives was to find interesting, beautiful accessories formy shop。在看每个角落和裂缝（或商店前线）后，我成功地找到了Siracusa和Sicily必须提供的最独特的作品。我发现特别有才华的设计师使用局部钩编的元素来制作出色的耳环。钩针件由一群叫做“Chiercchierino., ” which translates to, “speak really fast” in Sicilian. The women gather to gossip and, in doing so, speak really fast and therefore, crochet really fast! The designer then takes these crocheted works and embellishes them with semi-precious stones or coral to create stunning works of wearable art!
The day I decided to visit the Greek ruins in Siracusa I picked up a side kick! His name was Gianni, and he was from Palermo (which he wouldn’t let me forget)! He proved quite helpful as a personal photographer and Sicilian history teacher!
我们的拳头站是狄俄尼索斯的耳朵。的mammoth cave (70 feet high and a depth of 213 feet) is thought to have been carved out during Greek/Roman times and used as a place to store water for Siracusa. Caravaggio coined its current name, and the story of it being a political dissent prison was perhaps made up by him as well. Gianni shared with me this “legend” as if it was fact. Clearly Caravaggio has lasting talents beyond paint and a brush!
After the archeological site visit, Gianni talked me into a little drive around Syracusa before dropping me back on my little island haven. His tour was wonderful, and we planned to meet for dinner that evening. He had nearly convinced me I was going to try a local favorite, sea anemone (ricci) and pasta….however, sometimes even the best laid plans don’t quite work out.
One more story before I sign off!
My last evening in Sicily I dined at a lovely restaurant recommended by my hotel. Once settled into my table and happy with pasta and wine in front of me, I sat back to enjoy the ambience. Moments later an accordion player entered the restaurant intent on charming us with his talent and tunes. During one of his enchanting songs he abruptly stopped. After a few seconds of silence he started to make a pawing motion with his foot. Then in the most clear and effortless tone belted out the best hee-haw donkey sound I have ever heard from a human. If I was blind I would have thought an actual donkey w像房间里一样！所有美国外国人都不确定动物声音的东西，特别是当他失去颂歌时。我交换了一个不舒服的笑容和“wtf”看着我面前的4个炸薯条。每次他做他的螺夜完美的Hee-Haw ......在那时，每次他都没有结束歌曲，我们重复一眼。
At the end of the entire performance (including a rendition of “La Vie en Rose” for my Frenchies), I tipped him and watched him walk out the door. Being curious I asked my blond waiter named Flavio (which happens to mean blond in Latin) what all the animal noises were about. He told me that they were part of a traditional Sicilian song. The song is about a Sicilian farmer whose donkey has died, and he sings the song in memory of this dead donkey. As part of the tribute he remembers how beautiful his voice was and re-enacts it lovingly. I couldn’t help but chuckle. Flavio then went on to tell me that the children love that song. So much so that when they hear it during his Sunday brunch they all start running around the restaurant like a “little army breaking things.” Again I chuckled and then for some reason said, “How wonderful.” To which he replied, “That is because you don’t work here.”
My final moments in Sicily while waiting for my bus to take me to the airport, I sat in a cafe, ordered a glass of wine and again appeared an array of savory snacks (in this case a small smorgasbord). As I relished the whole scene, I penned this letter to my home country:
I am still waiting for the response.