… and I am happy to think that I now
carry in my soul a picture of Sicily, that unique and beautiful island, which
is clear, authentic and complete…


Giardini Naxos, Sicily

From the first step I took on this hauntingly beautiful
island, from my very first breath, I was completely enamored of her. And there
has not been one day in my life since then that she hasn’t crept into my

Taormina, Sicily

The screensaver on the inside of my eyelids runs a slideshow of
spectacular Sicilian vistas when I go to sleep, and sometimes the all
encompassing need to get back there
defies reason and dominates all thought.

Castelmola, Sicily

This largest island in the Mediterranean is truly unique. It
is like a giant mosaic made up of thousands of vibrant and exceptionally hued
tiles, impossible to put together, yet alone each is magnificent, complex, and

Taormina, Sicily

View from Forza D’Agro, Sicily

Visually astounding, her shores are lapped by the bluest of
seas – the Mediterranean, the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian. 

Lida copacabana, Letojanni, Sicily


 The architecture and the cuisine have been
layered by a history of being conquered. The Greeks, the Carthaginians, Roman,
Arabs, Norman and Spaniards all ruled Sicily over the millennia and left their
mark, their flavor, their influence, weaving a rich and brilliant tapestry that
is equally beautiful and brutal.


Ortygia. Sicily

Sicilians have a hard history. The rich were magnificently
rich while the poor toiled in abject poverty. They were repeatedly heavily
taxed to pay for someone else’s wars, throughout time their men drafted to
fight the ruling country’s battles. Although since the unification they are
Italian, they are first and foremost and to their collective core, Sicilian. As
a people they have pride and resilience, are at times stoic, in some ways isolated
from the mainland, theirs is a Sicilitudine

 Castelmola, Sicily

Yet invariably Sicilians smile the deepest of smiles.

At times more North Africa than Southern Italy, Sicily is
maddeningly beautiful, a culinary dream, it is mysterious and moody, incredibly
sexy, and feels vaguely dangerous with it’s rumbling volcano and it’s air of


Sicily is everything.

To take on this magical island all you need is a good map
and a sense of adventure…

Sunday Morning In Ortygia, The Glam Italia Tour

“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Italian Journey (1786-1788)

I’m not quite sure what Goethe was up to here.
Sicily and Italy were not unified until 1861.
And each stands alone, completely magnificent.
But I love the quote.

Sicily is my obsession. Since the very first time I ever set foot on this magical island I have not gone one day without thinking about it. It is always on my mind.
Despite the incredibly long travel day to get here from Phoenix, it was the logical place to start the Glam Italia Tour. (as in start our beach time before our waistlines have a chance to register that we are eating pasta…) 

Sunday morning in Ortygia

Ortygia is a little island connected to the city of Siracusa.

The history here is astounding.


The remains of Apollo’s temple, built in 732 BC are surrounded by apartments built over the centuries. Some incredibly old, some rebuilt after WWII. Can you imagine looking out your bedroom window at this??



Waiting outside church on Ortygia, Sicily. I just loved her pants. I want a pair!


Walking through the streets of Ortygia






Locals catching some sunshine on the breakwater outside the walls of Ortygia


This little boy sat on the steps of the Duomo in the spectacular Piazza Del Duomo, in the searingly bright sunshine, playing the sounds of the soul of Sicily.
The Duomo is a must see. The original Siculi built a temple to the deities here, the in the 5th century BC The Greeks built a temple around it, and since then in has been added to over the centuries. The current facade is Baroque, but as you walk through you see thousands of years of history


These columns were built in the 5th century BC. Running your fingers over their crenellations you feel 2500 years of history beneath your skin.


Sicilian Obsession ~ Ortygia

Sicily may just be my favorite place in the world.

streets of Ortygia

I had no idea that I would love it so much. From the incredible ruins and historical sites, to the fabulous beaches, from the incredible views to the completely outstanding local cuisine, from the spectacular local wines to the ever smiling, friendly people, Sicily has it all.

One of the (many) places I loved visiting was Ortygia, the island part of the ancient city of Siracusa.

on the street in Ortygia

Ortygia is tiny – only 1km x500m, and the best way to see it is on foot. You can’t get lost walking through the narrow streets and alleyways, as walking far enough in any direction leads you back to the sea.

Every which way you turn you are enveloped in 2500+ years of history.

From Apollo’s temple built in the 7th century BC

Apollo’s Temple, Ortygia Sicily

to the Duomo, who’s bottom most excavations have unearthed remnants from the ancient Siculi, followed by the Greeks in the 5th century BC, then the Christians added to it in the 7th century AD and finally its baroque facade which was erected in the 18th century,

columns in the Ortygia Duomo, dating back to 500 BC

to  the castle fortress built by Frederick II in 1194, Ortygia is an historical gem. Every building, every alley is fascinating.

acordian player in Piazza Del Duomo, Ortygia Sicily

The heart of Ortygia is no doubt the beautiful, baroque Piazza del Duomo, the perfect spot to stop for lunch.

piazza del duomo, Ortygia Sicily

Glaringly bright white, offset by the incredibly blue sky, this is Sicily as I had always imagined it.

Piazza Del Duomo, Ortygia Sicily

salad for lunch in Ortygia

Before leaving the island, a quick stop at the morning market is a must. Fresh fruits and vegetables and fish – everything you need to make a delicious dinner with a local flair.

Ortygia Fish Market

Ortygia market, image Lonelyplanet

 Private yachts moored off the island

boat in Ortygia
locals mix with tourists

Sunbathers lie out on the rocks

sunbathing in Ortygia

I can’t wait to go back….