Entry #17 June 4, 2011
Another early start (probably to beat the tourist crowds). We walked from our hotel to the bus and then were driven off to the Archaeological Park. The major structure is another Greek theater that was hewn from the hillside by slave labor in the 5th Century BC. This theater was host to many premiers of Greek tragedies and comedies. Today it still has performances of these timeless plays. Around the back of the theater is the gigantic stone quarry which forms the "Ear of Dionysius" that is a cave in the shape of an ear that is 75 feet high. Stone from this site was used in local construction and as more was extracted, the cave took shape. An aqueduct flows over the cave. In another part of of park is the Altar of Hieron II who duped the citizens into thinking he was a god by having a huge sacrifice where he ate the slaughtered and burned (Bar-B-Q) cows. At the Paolo Orsi Museum we left the group to discover on our own and be fascinated by the ancient civilization displays. No photographs were allowed in the museum, but Tom snuck one on his iPhone of ancient coins.
The bus brought us back to Ortigia, the island just across a wide river from Siracusa. We had the afternoon off, and since it was our 45th Wedding Anniversary, we found a shop, bought some wine, cheese, proshutto, melon, crackers and had an "at home" lunch in our spacious hotel room.
That evening before dinner with the group we all were treated to a traditional puppet show. The family is from a long line of puppeteers and while they all make the puppets perform in the show, each member has a specialty like making the costumes, building the puppets, and selecting/recording the music. This is almost a lost art and it was great to see the performance although we could not understand one word of the Italian dialogue. Dinner was at a nearby restaurant and Anne and Tom were presented with an anniversary cake and a "happy anniversary" song by the entire group. (see video)