Day 6: Syracuse
Halfway through the trip and we were having the best time. Today we started off with seeing the famous "bikini girl" mosaics. Later on in the day when we visited the Baronessa, we ate the best pasta we had on our trip.
Villa Romana del Casale
In this one of a kind villa, you will find the most intricate Roman mosaics in every room. The mosaics range from depicting the four seasons, the "bikini girls" or an intricate design, you will be blown away by the range found here. When you visit the villa you will go up a few stairs and the villa is setup so you are up high overlooking the floor of different rooms. My Dad, Jeff, and I really enjoyed taking our time in each room and admiring all of the small details to make these grand large scale mosaics. This part of the trip my sister, Katie, really enjoyed exploring as well.
What are the "Bikini Girls"?
This mosaic was quite modern for its time as it depicts 10 women playing sports and wearing what may look like a bikini. This attire was meant to be sportswear during that period of time.
The amount of detail and time spent on these mosaics is remarkable.
Lunch at the Baronessa's
This lunch was a great example of how cool the Rick Steves' Travel experience is.
When we drove up to the Baronessa's villa she was so graciously waiting outside for our tour bus to welcome us. Nancy, our guide, had us practice some Italian before we got off the bus to thank her for having us.
The food, specifically, the lemon pasta, that she and amazing team served us was out of this world incredible! I wish I could go back to Sicily right now to have this perfect pasta dish again. When we got back from the trip, this is the dish have tried to replicate.
When we got off the bus, we enjoyed a beautiful spread of cheeses, meats, bruschetta, vegetables, and house wines. After we enjoyed that refreshment we were invited into her rustic villa to sit down for lunch. Our guide Nancy told us beforehand that the villa was rustic and that her family no longer lives there. I was unsure of what that meant. The villa while gorgeous, does not have the modern amenities like we are accustomed to having now.
While most of us could not speak Italian and the Baronessa does not speak English, this was a case where language was not a barrier. With smiles, gestures, and body language we were able to communicate. It was such a happy lunch, and I enjoyed every moment of it. The Baronessa's warmth and hospitality is a feeling I have not forgotten.
Best Pasta & a WOW moment
The Simmons-Owens family with the Baronessa
If Jeff and I could move anywhere in Sicily, Sycrausa - the Island of Ortygia, is where we would want to live. For us it was the perfect blend of a vibrant city, but not too chaotic either. Rick Steves' Tours did a great job of providing us with lodging that was in a great location and was an enjoyable place to stay. When we arrived per usual, we checked-in to our room and then met Nancy for our orientation walk. During the orientation walk my sister, Katie, met a handsome Italian man who welcomed us all to Syracusa as we were passing by.
Similar to the Moor's head, something you will see all over Sicily are ceramic pinecones. The pinecones are used as decorative items, but also incorporated into architectural elements as well. You will find them everywhere!
What do the pinecones symbolize?
The pinecones are a symbol of fertility, wellness, and good fortune.