Category Archives: Siracusa

They have peace, we have memories

“He has peace, we have memories.” (aged 42)

“Died in the cause of Humanity’s liberation, unforgotten by his family.” (aged 30)

“He died a hero, the dearest brother the world could hold, forever in our memory. Sister”. (aged 28)

“Not a day do we forget him, he is always near, we love him and miss him, as it dawns another year.” (aged 21)

“In this grave are buried forty members of the Indian Pioneer Corps
who were killed on 18th November 1943
and whose names are recorded on the adjacent headstones.”

“A soldier of the Second World War, known unto God.”

“A victim of the Second World War, known unto God.”

Above are just few of the epitaphs written on these tombs. Just reading them makes my heart cry for the lives cut short early, of these gallant men and women, soldiers and victims of both the First and the Second World Wars.

Today, 11/11/2014, as the world commemorates 100 years since the start of the First World War, let us take this opportunity to remind ourselves that their sacrifice, in order for us to achieve world peace and freedom, is truly worth it.

All Saints’ Day – Siracusa (Sicily) style

To commemorate All Saints’ Day today, I went to visit the cemetery of the town where I (currently) live. Not only to pay respect to the dearly departed of Siracusa, I also wanted to find out how the locals observe their Festa dei Morti (literally Day of the Dead) and hopefully to capture some of their traditions and idiosincracies…

I thought I should take a taxi to the cimetero but the fare of 15euros for a mere 3km distance is totally absurd so I decided to take a walk. Passing through the bus station I curiously asked a Controller and he directed me to the shuttle bus which ferries passengers to and fro the cemetery for Free, just for today only! How lucky could I get!


The Monumental Cemetery of Syracusa was built in 800 following an order declaring that the dead were no longer to be placed in churches hence, it was decided to create a special cemetery with family chapels  for aristocratic families or religious orders, or tomb designs ranging from the simple to the elaborate.  The  cemetery shape is inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, bordered by a colonnade entrance and small upper dome) around which there are the monumental tombs and chapels in the neoclassical,  Art Nouveau or of various architectural styles.

So I started my photowalk around and here are my snaps and observations:

He was once a football passionate.

Lamentation going on……….

Together… forever….

The cemetery is carpeted with flowers today…

Freshening them up so they last longer

Cemetery walls

One or two are still available, or it looks like it was recently “vacated”

At least he enjoyed his life…

Cypress trees are very commonly found in cemeteries, particularly in Italy, because the wood emits a heavenly scent, freshening up the air. Also, the roots grow straight down and will not disturb anything around it.

This is not a network of apartments…rather, a network of cemetery walls.

The mere sight of its size and multiple floors almost knocked me down!

All year round, these cemetery walls, as in the traditional graves, are always bedecked with flowers – only in Italy.

here, stepladders are a necessity.

Son: Mamma, be careful

What is this building doing in the cemetery?

One would think it is the financial district of the town….

But it’s actually a high-rise cemetery! It’s the building for the dearly cremated.

I counted the floors, there are five in all – several washing sinks on each level

and an altar in every corner, on each floor

There’s a great view from the top floor, the sea can be seen in the background

the mausoleum village

Back on flat land, I saw this strange mausoleum – was he a horse lover?

more grandiose tombs

But in the midst of those grandiose tombs, there are some that are crumbling down….


A very busy man’s birthday wishes are granted

He works to solve the problems of global organizations and that involves living in a suitcase all the time, he deals with problematic management where deadlines, cutting down budgets and troubleshooting are the name of the game, he lives a life of stress and endless travelling, and now that he is celebrating a landmark birthday, he only wishes the simple things in life….and he got them.

Happy birthday, my dear H! May you have long, long years of healthy life … so we can keep on travelling and enjoying the beauty of this world together.

Communion with nature and having a good time with friends

– re-discovering the science of Archimedes, a Siracusan by birth

– getting to know again the creatures of the ocean

– delighting in simple but great food and wine

– touring Ortigia, the old town where we live, by boat

In Siracusa, Summer is……

Imagine the constant feeling of holidaying in our own place of residence!

We don’t need to travel far, we don’t have to spend a fortune, a simple drink or even a glorious meal becomes much more enjoyable because it doesn’t cost so much. And the people are just the nicest we have ever met in all our travels. They all have interesting stories to tell! They just love life to the fullest! And it is darn infectious!

We live in paradise…

…the time when pleasure boats are put in the water..

….when the authorities build swimming platforms for the locals to enjoy

..this is another swimming platform we tried yesterday. It’s next to the harbour.

– Are there a lot of fish?
– No, I’m catching some crabs! I’m going to use them for catching octopus! (Then he lead us to his car and showed his catch of crabs.)
– Wow! Are the octopus for your dinner?
– No, I sell them in the market.
– How much do they weigh usually?
– Well, depends on the season. In the winter, the octopus could weigh up to 3 kilos but in the summer, only 300grams,
– How much they sell for?
– Sometimes 30euros for a 3kg octopus…

(Wow! so in this island, you won’t starve, you just have to learn how to fish for food .. or for money!)

– Great catch! How many have you caught so far?
– Two! (and he showed us his bag containing the other fish.)
– Do you fish everyday?
– Yes, every morning! I’m here around 10am.
– How long do you have to wait before you can catch one?
– Four minutes..
– Okay, we’ll be back in four minutes! (Maria joking)

…when every passeggiata hour (evening promenade where the locals parade with their best clothes), even the pets join in the traditional walk..

…. when you have to hydrate yourself due to the heat, so listening to Health Digest’ advice, I’ve been making healthy and refreshing drink every day!

…when evening programs such as this are held very often!

..and jazz concerts

..and other ones that are held in amazing venues.
This one is in Latomia dei Capuccini, the remains of a quarry that was used since 6th century B.C.
to build the homes and monuments of Siracusa.

…. the time to go bar hopping for apperitivi! With lots of them spread all over town, we have to start finding the best spots!

And so far, this is the winner! With all this buffet of fingerfoods plus a drink, it only costs 3euros per person!

…when you make daily afternoon trips to the granita bar…this is Granita di Limone

And ever since I introduced it to H, he has become a convert!

Man #1: I love August!
Man #2: Me too! it’s the only month each year when I am excused to just sit and do nothing and the wifey never complains!

… when the supply and demand of mussels reach unprecedented heights!

….when in the midst of exploring places, we get to stumble upon marvelous spots like this one!
This is like a natural pool, we have to try it!, I cried.
So next week, we are spending the whole day here, can’t wait!

So temptingly good!

….It’s the time when prickly pears start to ripen..

…..when swimming in the sea is paradise, never mind the sunburnt skin..

…’s when talented street artists become the center of attraction…

…when stage platforms like the one on the left are built all over the town.
This one in the harbour becomes a hive of (show) activities every weekend nights…