Siracusa has a beautiful piazza surrounding its duomo – some say the prettiest in Europe. It is a wonderful place to sit out with a gelato and watch the world go by. At night, there are entertainers – musicians and even ballroom dancers.
But today, we decided to take a look at what is going on UNDERNEATH the piazza.
The Ipogeo di Piazza Duomo is a series of underground tunnels and water cisterns dating back centuries – carved into the rock.
We climbed down, down, down – avventura!
The tunnels were used as an air raid shelter during the Allied (US and England) bombing of Siracusa in 1943. They had pictures showing what it looked like during this time. How scary it must have been not knowing what was happening up above.
The exhibit said that the citizens escaped into the tunnels as the first bombs starting dropping. When they came out a few days later, their first sight was that the harbor was now full of enemy (to them) ships.
The tunnel let out at the Porto Grande – this time to the sight of very big yachts (check out the helicopter!). Enza tried to talk them into letting us take a look, but they said no.
The port is lined with outside cafes, where you can sit under umbrellas and watch the boats go by with an aperitivo. By the way, in Sicily, an aperitivo isn’t necessarily alcoholic. Our favorite non-alcoholic drink is crodino, which is a bitter orange drink. It comes in little bottles, and they serve it just like a cocktail, complete with an orange slice.
Soon – another interesting site, as the Greenpeace ship from their TV show “Sea Shepherd” appeared.
We watched them try their hand at Mediterranean Mooring (Frank and I can appreciate from our many times chartering in Europe – it is not always easy!). They had a pilot boat lead them in and took a very long time – at least 45 minutes.
I thought it was funny – the Greenpeace boat is a little dinged up, and the crew was a little raggedy, with t-shirts and tattoos (although, to their credit – they had been saving whales). The giant yachts around them are spit-spot, with uniformed crews. The Greenpeace boat had one tiny fender out as they backed in, while the big yachts were fully protected, all hands on deck.
You see a little bit of everything in Sicily!