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Syracuse – Sicily



Syracuse  is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse.

The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes.


This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in ancient times,

when it was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean world.

Syracuse is located in the southeast corner of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Syracuse next to the Ionian Sea.


The city was founded by Ancient Greek Corinthians and Teneans and became a very powerful city-state.

Syracuse was allied with Sparta and Corinth, exerting influence over the entire Magna Graecia area of which it was the most important city.

Once described by Cicero as “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all”, it later became part of the Roman Republic and Byzantine Empire.

Our trek to Malta took us to this enchanted city for only a brief time…

on our way we passed by Mount Etna,  the tallest active volcano on the European continent, 10,922 feet high.

It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps.

Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity, which was quite amazing to watch…

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We had met a lovely couple in Messina, who suggested a stop in Syracusa to visit the Piazza Duomo

We stayed in the Hotel Roma which is actually part of the Temple of Athena, now the Syracuse Cathedral….

We arrived at night and the city was magical……with all sorts of promises for daybreak….

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We stayed in the Hotel Roma…….which was once part of the Temple of Athena..

in one section of the hotel you could look though the glass floor and gaze upon the Altar of Atena….quite literally walking on history!

Our room had a marvelous balcony with views of the Piazza Duomo …

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In the morning we dashed off around the corner to see what treasures were hidden at the back of the hotel…

There it was the Temple of Athena, now the Syracusa Cathedral…..

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The charm of this construction of a modern place of worship upon a much more  ancient one is heightened by the fact that some of the columns “trapped” within  the walls have been tilted and twisted by earthquakes that the cathedral has endured  during its history.

In these deformities one can see “frozen” in time the awesome  force of nature that shook Syracuse in its ancient history.

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The temple of Athena in Doric style was erected in the fifth century BC the tyrant Gelo after the victory against the Carthaginians in the Battle of Imera.

The Athenaion had six columns in front, with 14 columns along the sides. Part of the temple is currently visible on the left side of the cathedral…

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In the seventh century the temple was converted into a church by the bishop of the city Zos.

The church, of Byzantine style, was dedicated to the Nativity of Mary.

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The floor dates from the fifteenth century and in 1518 the nave was covered with the wooden ceiling still preserved.

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In the sixteenth century was also erected the bell tower. In 1728 the façade was reconstructed.

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We found being in this structure that survived so many years and served so many people in different capacities so very interesting…

Now off to the markets……..

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The city is brimming with beauty….

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We come upon the Fountain of Diana……

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……so this Siracusa, known to English speakers as Syracuse, was a wonder to behold…..

One of the great ancient capitals of Western civilization, founded in 734 BC by Greek colonists from Corinth which soon grew to rival, and even surpass, Athens in splendor and power.

This magical place became the largest, wealthiest city-state in the West and a bulwark of Greek civilization.

Rulers such as Dionysius filled the courts with Greeks of the highest cultural stature—among them the playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides, and the philosopher Plato

We are left, sitting on the Piazza Duomo, sipping our cappuccino, preparing for the next leg of our journey……

…..suddenly the air if filled with beautiful music…..and there he is…

a young boy sitting on the steps of the Temple of Athena with his accordion….

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……….like a dream, I say…………..like a dream…….


Strange Superstitions about Death


It’s Death again – He’s always there –

Watching, waiting – e’er the stare!

Every time I look behind

Or reach to pull the window blind,

I catch a glimpse of grubby hood –

A little clue to where he stood;

The glint of light that caught the scythe.

Perhaps if I could pay a tithe….

But O! no use, he’ll never go.

The adamant phantom; don’t you know

He will but wait until it’s time

For me to hear His fateful chime?-

The toll that claims my destiny,

To Hail: ‘You’re next, it has to be…’

Mark R. Slaughter – 2009

Want to read about the Moden Day Grim Reaper ……… check out this wonderful post by FASAB…..CLICK HERE

We can’t help it…………..we are intrigued……..there is fear in our hearts………

…..so through the generations we have created all sorts of superstitions about Death…

I thought it would be fun to look behind the satin curtain of the funerary and see what lies in the shadows……

A bird in the house is a sign of death. 

Light candles on the night after November first. One for each deceased relative.

They should be placed in the window in the room where the death occurred.

Should you ever be driving by this house on the aforementioned night, I suggest you not stop……..looks unlucky!

If a clock which has not been working suddenly chimes, there will be a death in the family!

If a dead person’s eyes are left open, he’ll find someone to take with him…..

Mirrors in a house with a corpse should be covered or the person who sees himself will die next!!!

A person who dies on Good Friday will go right to Heaven. 

A person who dies at midnight on Christmas Eve will go straight to Heaven…

because the gates to heaven are left unlocked and open at that time…..

……guess these are St. Peter’s paid Holidays!!???!!

The lady in the picture below did not hit on either Good Friday or Christmas Eve…….

…as Shirley McLain would say……”Better Luck next time!”

You must hold your breath while going past a cemetery or you will breathe in the spirit of someone who has recently died..

It is bad luck to count the cars in a funeral cortege (even if the funeral is in poor taste!)

If the person buried lived a good life, flowers will grow on the grave…

if the person as evil, weeds will grow…. (here is the sign I had made to put next to my grave!)

If a mirror in the house falls and breaks, by itself, someone in the house will soon die…….


A White Moth inside the house or trying to enter the house means death..

If 13 people gather at a table to eat, one of them will die before the year is over…

Dropping an umbrella on the floor means that there will be a murder in the house…

 Thunder following a funeral means that the dead person’s soul has reached heaven…

….all windows should be opened at the moment of death, so that the soul can leave…

………..hope you enjoyed some of these strange and morbid tidbits……..

This post is dedicated to the memory of Jonathan Frid, the original Barnabas Collins;

who inspired all sorts of wild imagings in the twisted metal mind of the young Tin Man….(would that be Tin Boy??!!?!)

More about the Master, Jonathan Frid,  CLICK HERE