Lane in Ortigia
I love these tiny lanes!
They have to be tiny in Ortigia, itself a tiny island stuck at the end of Siracusa. Ortigia is a mini suburb nowadays, but was once one of the greatest cities in the world.
When you walk in Ortigia, you walk in history!
Archimedes, a famed Siracusan, walked these streets. Or rather, he was steered along these streets by assistants who were no doubt bored witless by the great man’s wilful behaviour.
Archimedes seems to have spent most of his time closeted in a tiny room, being forcibly reminded to eat, and to wash. He was so busy puzzling out things of a geometrical nature and inventing horrific weapons of war that the normal activities of being alive eluded him.
There are houses down in these lanes.
People live here, going about their business and probably wondering what I find entrancing about their front doors.
As well as houses there are shops.
Lots of little shops, and offices for solicitors, doctors and opticians. Plus restaurants where the term ‘hole in the wall’ is literally true.
Down these diminutive lanes, many of which I can walk in with my outstretched hands touching both sides, are exciting dollhouse size discoveries.
In the following photo a flight of stone steps opens up from such a laneway.
A sign offered Informazioni per i visitatori, also written in English, German, French and what I think may have been Japanese.
So up I went.
I found myself in a lovely room, wood-panelled, low-ceilinged, with light fittings in the shape of candles set into sconces. There were numerous representations of Siracusa’s much-loved daughter, Santa Lucia, and a few photos of the Pope.
A young man rose from his carved wooden chair and greeted me with a beatific smile. Smiles are harder to come by, I’ve found, than in the small towns of Campania but, when a Sicilian smiles, it’s as if the sun has come bursting out from behind heavy storm clouds. Glorious!
He may have spoken German or possibly Japanese, but his English was limited and his French even more so. No matter, we got along really well.
I told him the room was beautiful.
Bella, I said, sweeping my arm to encompass the little room, Come la chiesa
He agreed that it was like a church. The building belonged to an organisation religioso. I didn’t ask what organisation nor which branch of religion. It definitely wasn’t Presbyterian.
There was also a little bar downstairs.
After exchanging pleasantries with the young man, I left with an armful of bus timetables.
The bar, sadly, was closed. I would have liked to sip a coffee in such a quiet little place.