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When It Rains in Siracusa…

October 4, 2017

On my penultimate day in Sicily, I really wanted to see the Teatro Greco, which is about a 30-minute walk away on the mainland. The weather forecast has been wrong most days, and as I left Ortigia, despite TWC saying it was raining, the sun was shining brightly in a blue sky.

About 20 minutes into my walk I saw dark purple clouds gathering; shortly thereafter the rain started. But it wasn’t terrible till I was just a few blocks away from my destination, when the heavens opened in a deluge. Taking shelter in the little bakery/café just outside the gates, I consoled myself with a caffè macchiato and a luscious ricotta-filled cannolo.

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But eventually I had to venture out, because at this point I couldn’t just give up. It just kept raining harder and harder, while I clumsily balanced my umbrella, camera, guidebook and audio guide. As a result, I took only a few shots.

Built in the 5th century B.C.E., it was enlarged 200 years later to eventually reach a capacity of 13,000 spectators, becoming the largest theater in Sicily and one of the biggest  in the Greek world. The Romans further put their mark on it during the period when they occupied the island. The theater is the centerpiece of the Archaeological Park of Neopolis, where there are other large artifacts from the era of the tyrants, including the Ear of Dionysis. This cave, with its perfect acoustics, was used as a prison for dissidents, and legend has it that it allowed the tyrant Dionysis to eavesdrop on his political enemies. I only wish I’d been able to see more of the park, history geek that I am.

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By this time I was pretty well drenched, and retreated to a tchotchke shop across the road to get one of those plastic rain ponchos, so my camera bag wouldn’t get any wetter. Then began the schlep home, dodging rooster tails as cars sped past, eventually getting swamped in a huge puddle as I tried to cross the street. The streets had turned to rivers, just like the morning I went to Taormina.  Tough I felt sorry for him, I got a chuckle out of this poor man’s plight…

Eighteen hours later, my socks are still not dry.

The rain had reduced to sprinkles by the time I went to dinner at Sicilia in Tavola, a tiny restaurant just a few blocks away from my house. Based on my meal, I would agree with reviewers who call it one of the best places to dine in Ortigia. My starter was a “purse” of burrata cheese nestled in a cold tomato-basil sauce, followed by maccheroncini (little macaroni) with small bites of swordfish, cherry tomatoes, capers and cheese. Delicioso!

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