A Walking Tour of Ortigia

Ortigia is the ancient heart of Siracusa, an intensely beautiful island with three thousand years of history that is one of the most resonant places on earth. It possesses the oldest Greek temple known outside of Greece, plus many narrow canyon streets of Spanish baroque buildings, Norman churches, and a Byzantine Jewish ritual bath. We find echoes of the island’s favorite son, Archimedes, and of the ancient Greek nymph Arethusa, who spoke with Demeter as the goddess passed through Ortigia in search of her daughter Persephone.

An Afternoon Boat Ride through the Plemmirio

The Plemmirio is a pristine, protected, marine area surrounding Ortigia, a natural paradise of underwater caves and coral, a rich biodiversity of sea life, and a rocky coast filled with palm groves, agave, prickly pear cactus, and myrtle, lizards and migratory birds.  We’ll spend our afternoon break on a boat ride in the Bay, delighting in the Sicilian landscape and seascape, under the glorious Mediterranean sun.

Stories of the Giufà:
An Afternoon Lecture with Mr. DiMaria

Giufà is a character of Italian folklore whose stories have been retold and memorized through the centuries, and absorbed into the Sicilian oral tradition during the time of Islamic rule of the island. The anecdotes from his life mainly take place in southern Italy and Sicily, but his character traits are visible in the folklore of many Mediterranean cultures. Most often recognized as the “village fool,” his origins seem to have deep roots in Turkey and were subsequently spread around the Mediterranean with the Jewish diaspora. In many countries of the Middle East or Central Asia, he is known as Nasreddin Khoja. According to Sufi tradition, his tales can be understood on seven levels of interpretation.