Dates: 08/16/09 – 08/23/09
Distance: 30 NM
Grand Harbor in Siracusa — what a sight to see! Having had so few opportunities for anchoring in the Med, we were happy to find that Siracusa exceeded our expectations — many cruising friends had highly recommended it to us. The old city of Ortigia sits on a promontory which used to be an island and overlooks the large anchorage and the newer parts of the city. We found plenty of space to drop our hook among the 25-30 other cruising sailboats. Unlike many places we have been this summer, the cruisers outnumbered the charter and local boats in this port. We spent our first night onboard admiring the views, sipping sangrias, gobbling down eggs-a-bras for dinner and going to bed early after two days of sailing from Malta.
We stayed a week in Siracusa, although we considered it the bare minimum for such a great city and port. Every day we dinghied ashore to stroll through the old city of Ortigia, visit sites of interest, hang-out at one of the many streetside cafes, or gather provisions. The morning market near the Temple of Apollo was excellent — like Palermo’s but smaller and less hectic.
Here is a short video clip of having our fresh tuna prepared to order at the fish market in Siracusa:
We even found a wholesale wine distributor near the dinghy dock in the new town and just in time to restock our onboard supplies of Sicilian wines which were running low. We also enjoyed sunset views of the anchorage from the overlook at the Fountain of Aretusa.
The regional government of Sicily wisely located the archeological museum dedicated to the Greek era in Siracusa. The collection on display was rich with the finest artifacts from all of the other ancient Greek city-states throughout Sicily. We spent an afternoon browsing through the vast collections of artifacts on display and especially liked the 1:50 scale models of the Greek temples, since the actual sites have been severely damaged over time.
Here’s a photo gallery of Leg 4 of our cruise through Southern Italy and Sicily: