Monday, 3 August 2015

Honeymoon Day 4: Noto, Palazzolo Acreide and Syracuse

Noto's cathedral
On our final morning in Noto we checked out of the hotel and took our bags out to the car. The car park where we'd left the car the night before was looking suspiciously empty and if my basic understanding of the signs were correct, the car park had been closed for the flower festival. Fearing we'd get a ticket we decided to move the car, and despite a comedy seven point turn when I went the wrong way, we found a parking space not too far away in one of the side streets.

We decided to climb one of the church towers to get an aerial view of town. There are a couple to choose from and, for not particular reason, we decide to climb Chiesa Santa Chiara and it was an excellent way to spend €2. We started the climb at the back of the church, emerging on a terrace which over looked the valley below. From their we walked along a passage to the front of the church and into a room which had a fantastic view of the church below.

We climbed up another level to a room filled with information boards about the church and then finally it was onto the roof for a spectacular view of Noto! We enjoyed the view in the blazing sun before retreating inside and back down to ground level.

We had some lovely ice cream before waving goodbye to Noto.

San Sabastian church in Palazzolo Acreidi
For the remainder of our holiday we'd booked to stay in the coastal town of Syracuse. As it was only 45mins away we decided to visit Palazzolo Acreidi on the way, another baroque town but one which gets only the briefest mention in the guide books.

Arriving in town we followed signs to the car park, only to arrive in a huge, empty wasteland surround by unattractive tower blocks and no obvious signage to the centre of town. Fearing the car might not be there when we got back we decided that we'd try and find another spot to park. We beached the car outside a museum, unsure of whether we were allowed to park there, and headed into town.
Notting Hill meets Palazzolo Acreide
I'm really surprised that Palazzolo Acreide isn't feature more prominently in the guide books as we had a wonderful afternoon there drifting round. We started with lunch in a little cafĂ© called V'incanto just of the main square. Unbelievably we didn't take any photos of the food, but we both enjoyed our sandwiches in the courtyard looking at the baroque buildings surrounding us.

After lunch we headed across town the castle ruins that we'd seen on our map. Situated at the top of town with sweeping views of the valley below, the castle was deserted and we had it completely to ourselves for the half an hour or so that we were there. At some point there must have spent a bit of money stabilising the ruins and putting in walkways. I was quite surprised that there were no information boards giving details on the history of the castle as I am complete clueless as the origins of the place.
Castle ruins
On leaving the castle we headed back into town to collect the car and drove to the Akrai Greek Theatre which is located on the outskirts of town. In contrast to the castle, there was an office selling tickets and a whole six other people looking round the complex!

We started with the Greek theatre which is in very good condition (more through good fortune I think) and had been set up with a stage for some performances.
Teatro Grecco outside Palazzolo Acreidi
After the theatre we drifted round the rest of the, relatively extensive, site. We saw the below carving which was totally open to the elements and slowly weathering away. They obviously don't believe in preserving the carvings!

The site seems to be mainly a burial ground and there were several necropolises in caves (natural and hand carved around the site). I was also a fan of the Greek road that we saw.

Greek road
After around an hour looking round the site we jumped back into the car and headed for Syracuse. The drive to Syracuse was full of unnecessarily complicated road junctions and roundabouts. They do seem to love spending as much EU funding as possible on road junctions...

At one point we came up behind a cyclist who was doing close to 60 kph on his bike! We also passed through a police speed trap, but the oncoming cars had been madly flashing to warn us the speed trap was coming up. There is obviously no love lost with speed cameras!

I'd been worried about driving into Syracuse and finding a parking spot on the crowded island of Ortega where we were staying. Thankfully we navigated straight to the hotel and got a park spot just down the road from the hotel. The only excitement was going the wrong way down a one way street. We shouldn't have followed the hotel directions verbatim!

1 comment:

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