Ortigia: Athena, Paul & Pizza

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We have been so busy having fun that I haven’t had a chance to update the blog! Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Duomo & Santa Lucia

imageOur apartment is in the old section of Siracusa – Ortigia. One of Ortigia’s most famous piazzas – some say the prettiest in Italy – is the Piazza del Duomo. We agree! It is one of our favorite spots for gelato or apperitivo.

But yesterday we also toured the Duomo. It was built on the site of a Greek temple to Athena that dates back to the 5th century BC. When Saint Paul (from the Bible!) came to Siracusa, he helped convert the island of Ortigia to Christianity and build a new church. The pillars from the temple were still standing, so they built the church around them. So inside the church, you can see the frame of the Greek temple – very impressive.

The Duomo also has a chapel dedicated to Santa Lucia, the patron saint of Siracusa who was honored with a procession the other night. Her body lies in Venice (stolen by the doge, if you ask the Siracusans), but the city of Venice donated her arm back to Siracusa. So her chapel has a gold box containing her arm. It was actually very spiritual. Santa Lucia was a very independent woman and stood up for what she believed versus what culture dictated a woman’s role was at the time. So she is particularly meaningful for women. Enza and I took time to reflect and pray for all of our friends and family (especially women) back home.

& Pizza!

Another family dinner – this time with homemade pizza. Claudia and Ruggero (who made the snails the other night) invited us back for Claudia’s famous pizza. She has her very own pizza oven! Everyone here seems to have an indoor kitchen and outdoor kitchen. Claudia’s pizza oven is in her outdoor kitchen and comes with a long-handled spatula just like the real pizzeria. She made all kinds of pizzas – margherita, funghi (mushroom), riccola (rocket lettuce and cheese), potato, and spicy tomato. She even made apple strudel with pine nuts from the trees in their yard. Delicious!

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