News from Syracuse

Blue Guide Sicily author Ellen Grady has some updates from Syracuse, where, on the island of Ortygia, the old city, there’s a useful new Tourist Infopoint just behind the cathedral, at Via Minerva 4. It has up-to-date information on opening hours of the museums and the archaeological sites in Syracuse and the area of Noto. There is also a shop offering local crafts.

While visiting Syracuse, don’t miss the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum. On the upper floor, a look at the Greek and Roman statuary in Section D is always worth your time. In Section F, the interesting Late Antique section is now complete, with a permanent and beautifully displayed exhibition of early Christian frescoes, epigraphs, reliefs and artefacts from the local catacombs. This surprisingly extensive system of underground tunnels and caves served as a place for burials, but also for practising the forbidden cult of Christianity.

If you’re in a car, head south from Syracuse to the charming fishing village of Marzamemi (an hour’s drive) for lunch or dinner at La Cialoma. Our recommended restaurant is now listed in the Michelin Guide for Italy. You can eat either in the square, or on the terrace overlooking the sea and the old tuna fishery. The fish dishes are always good, especially if accompanied by Lina’s organic house wine, which is cloudy, white and slightly fizzy. Local strawberries are perfect when in season, or you could try sheep’s milk ricotta with a sauce of vino cotto, reduced wine. La Cialoma is open daily for lunch and dinner from April to October; in winter for lunch only, except at weekends.

Fresco of a saint from Pantalica / Fried Mediterranean cod

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