He made us a meal we couldn't refuse
15 November 2014    Sicily, Siracusa, Italy 
S   M   L
He made us a meal we couldn't refuse   
15 November 2014    Sicily, Siracusa, Italy   
 
 
 
 

We walk off-island tonight to eat a 18€ prix fixe meal at a small restaurant owned by butcher Ciccio and his friend Mauro. When we arrive at 8pm the place is empty. Since everything in Italy is closed from 1 to 4ish in the afternoon i guess 8 is early for dinner.

The waiter brings two hard-boiled eggs. Paul and I look at the eggs and the small bowl of salt and wonder why we have eggs. The waiter comes back to our table to indicate that we are to eat the eggs now. He does not speak English. We eat our eggs.

Next comes a large plate of antipasti, a bowl of beans, and a bowl with a soft cheese. Then bread, wine, and tripe. Then a selection of grilled meats: chicken, steak, sausage, bacon, and horse. Despite the amount - twice the food we need - we eat everything but the tripe. It is all very good, all except the tripe that is.

By 9 pm customers are waiting for tables and I feel like I'm in the middle of a Godfather movie. And I mean that in a good way. Everyone is well dressed, made up, talking Italian, and they all know each other. As customers come in to the restaurant they say ciao and talk and do the double kisses with those already seated. Paul and I are the only non-Sicilians in the place.

Let me back up a bit. We are in Siracusa, about two hours south of Taormina, on the southeast tip of Sicily. We are here because Siracusa is very old, a town with enough history for a hundred other towns.

We are staying at hotel Gargallo, a small place in the middle of the island of Ortigia. Ortigia's streets are narrow, crooked, and disorienting; it brings to mind Venice without the canals. The architecture is stunning. One old stone building after another, with beautiful details and crumbly textures that come alive at night.

The pictures accompanying this post are of a beautiful old church a few doors from our hotel, a courtyard also near our hotel, and, best of all, the magnificent Piazza del Duomo, about a block from the hotel. I'm pretty jaded when it comes to old churches but I found the interior of this Duomo among the most fascinating. You can see the evidence of its being built and re-built. A beautiful building inside  and out.

Ciao for now.

 
 
 
 
Siracusa church
     
The marble covered old town on Isola di Ortigia is very beautiful.
 
 
 
Siracusa church
     
The marble covered old town on Isola di Ortigia is very beautiful.
 
 
 
Siracusa church
     
The marble covered old town on Isola di Ortigia is very beautiful.
 
 
Siracusa
     
 
 
 
Siracusa
     
 
 
 
Siracusa
     
 
 
Siracusa
     
 
 
 
Siracusa
     
 
 
 
Siracusa
     
 
 
Isola di Ortigia
     
 
 
 
Isola di Ortigia
     
 
 
 
Isola di Ortigia