Where To Wander | Sunrise in Ortigia, Sicily

The sunrise over Ortigia, Sicily, is as close to heaven as the gates themselves. With the city’s patron saint Santa Lucia playing Peter, those she welcomes to her whimsical world enjoy all the splendors of the gods.

Ortigia, Syracuse, Sicily. Where to begin. Yes, you should vacation here. It should be at the very top of your list of travel destinations. But I won’t be able to do justice to the wonder and awe of this little Sicilian town in one single blog post. Ortigia, the historical center of the ancient city of Syracuse, is the most important place I’ve ever known. I got married here. I will spend my summer here. I want to raise my kids here. I want to grow old here. Ortigia is the place I feel most home. I’ll write a series of blog posts about Ortigia, what to do, where to stay, what to eat, etc., but for today, let’s start at sunrise.


I like to run early in the morning when I visit Ortigia so I can take in its magnificent sunrise. And without fail, at some point I stop and stare.

“…On the sixth day,
God accomplished His work
And, pleased with all the beauty
He had created,

He took the Earth in His hands,
And kissed it.
There, where He put His lips,
That’s Sicily.

Renzino Barbera, 1923 – 2009, poet, writer, artist, actor


The sunrise over Ortigia, Sicily, is as close to heaven as the gates themselves. With the city’s patron saint Santa Lucia playing Peter, those she welcomes to her whimsical world enjoy all the splendors of the gods.

As vibrant shades of pink, purple, and orange dance across the Ortigia morning sky, you’re sure Michelangelo must have stood at the top of Castello Maniace when he dreamed the Sistine Chapel.

Then the island perfume. The scent of salty sea water gives way to the freshest bouquet. First the bergamot, orange blossom, even lime. And as a wave passes in the distance, it carries the unmistakable sweetness of geranium and lavender to shore. Finally, when white water crashes on the rocky island walls, so too does a finish of Sicilian jasmine and neroli. In that moment you’re misted by the finest incense in the Mediterranean, if not the world, even the heavens.

Ortigia is an island of myth and magic. She boasts riches beyond our wildest dreams. Colors new to sight. Fragrance new to smell. You can imagine the Madonna and Hera finger painting the skies as they split a bottle of Nero d’Avola and trade secrets of this island they share.

And it’s still only sunrise in Sicily.

3 thoughts on “Where To Wander | Sunrise in Ortigia, Sicily

    1. Sicily is fantastic! I’ve lived and traveled throughout the Italy and every region, even from city to city, is truly unique. Venice is a wonderful place (one of my absolute favorites). Sicily as a region boasts a significantly larger Greek/Mediterranean footprint. The cuisine, architecture, language, all very different than that of say Venice (or anywhere else really). It just depends on what your looking for and I’m positive somewhere in Italy, probably even within Sicily, has got it.

      Liked by 1 person

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