The Taste of Ortigia

The small Baroque island of Ortigia, the historic center of Syracuse, is widely considered one of the most beautiful destinations in Sicily. Inhabited for over 3,000 years and renowned for its Greek heritage, it is a UNESCO landmark for its “remarkable testimony of the Mediterranean cultures over the centuries” and makes for a perfect weekend escape in any season. Dotted with impressive church facades, outdoor restaurants, elegant piazzas and surrounded by a crystalline sea, Ortigia is more manicured than Catania, less overrun that Taormina and as delicious as Palermo. Once on the island, you should make the bustling Mercato di Ortigia your first and most important stop. It’s filled with colorful fruit, vegetable stands, fish vendors and stalls selling spices of all types. Be sure to pick up a few local specialties for your pantry, including pistachios from Bronte, almonds from Avola, sun-dried tomatoes from Pachino and capers from Pantelleria. Then grab a bite to eat at Fratelli Burgio, a buzzing deli and wine bar that assembles mouthwatering meat and cheese boards, fish platters and sandwiches stuffed with marinated vegetables. And of course, eat the oysters! After all that goodness, we strolled around the place, enjoying the gorgeous Ortigian views…

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.
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