Syracuse: Archaeological Park

Stephen & Anne
Fri 17 Aug 2012 13:33

37.03.525N 15.16.961E


We mentioned at the end of the last blog about the boats leaving the harbour wall in a hurray as the wind picked up. We managed to get a photo of the confusion


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The boat with the yellow funnel looked as if he had squashed 3 boats behind him, you can just see the masts. The boats in the foreground had managed to just get away. We think everything was OK as there didn’t appear to be any complaints.


Having mentioned no big fires here in Sicily, there was obviously a larger inland fire as one afternoon we heard a horn being used rather a lot. It was the Coast Guard patrol boat stopping the small leisure boats entering part of the bay. Shortly after two planes did a fly over, then circled round and filled up with water while on the move.


Plane filling up while being watched by a canoeist


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One of the planes taking off after loading up with water, with the Coast Guard trying to keep a leisure boat out of the way, we think the canoeist slipped through..



The fire was a reasonable distance away. The planes disappeared from sight and took about 5 minutes to reappear. They did quite a few circuits before finally disappearing..


As the month is progressing rapidly we decided it was time to do a bit more sightseeing. We headed off to the Archaeological park the other side of town. This being Italy, the place to buy the tickets wasn’t actually at the entrance to the park. So we had an extra walk to find the ticket office, which was by the main car park. Back at the park we had a quick look at the Roman Amphitheatre, which was a bit disappointing after the roman ruins we had seen in Tunisia. We went past “Ara di lerone”, which wasn’t at all photogenic, it is a large sacrificial alter which apparently enabled the sacrificing of 450 oxen at one time. Then we visted the Greek Theatre.


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The Greek theatre, which is still used for a festival in June.


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Next stop was the “Ear of Dionisio”


“Orecchio di  Dionisio” the ear of Dionysius. This is a tall cave, which has very good acoustic properties. A couple of tourists very kindly gave us a demonstration by singing in the cave, and even though they were at the back of the cave some 65m in, we could hear them perfectly even when outside. The cave gets it’s name due to the acoustic properties and the legend that says Dionysius used the cave to listen in to the conversations of the prisoners he kept in the cave, even if they whispered he could hear from the sweet spot outside the cave. Unfortunately it is no longer possible to listen in as the sweet spot of the acoustics is no longer accessible. Different guide books give different accounts of how the cave came to being, some say it is natural and some say it was carved out, maybe it’s a mixture of both!!


After our exploration of the park we headed back to town, thinking we would get a bit of shopping on the way. However all the shops were closed, we didn’t know why. When we got back to the boat we checked and found out it was a public holiday.


Later that evening we noticed a lot of activity on the harbour wall. Then at 7pm a largish boat set off across the bay, very slowly, followed by lots of leisure boats, all tooting their horns. We are still not sure if this was part of the celebrations for The Feast of the Assumption of Mary or due to a maritime festival that is held here sometime in August. I guess we’ll never know.


We were glad we weren’t arriving today, with the parade of boats crossing the entrance to the bay, it looked like a blockade.