Italy
Ciane

Here you’ll find travel reports about Ciane. Discover travel destinations in Italy of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

16 travelers at this place:

  • Day4

    On arrival at the ferry terminal at San Giovanni, there was no need to disembark - the train rolled on to the ferry in two halves - one of the few places where this actually happens. It was exciting to watch, with the train rolling on, then our half reversing off and then travelling back on to lie parallel with the front half. We were able to leave our belongings and go up on deck as we crossed the Straits of Messina to one of Sicily’s main cities, Messina. It was good to get some fresh air and a walk about. The crossing only took about 30 minutes, just like going to Bute, although Messina had a bit more life about it and a good deal more sunshine than Rothesay usually does.

    The train reunited, we journeyed down Sicily’s east coast, passing the lovely Taormina and the shadow of Mount Etna, the most active volcano in the world, apparently - I think I’ll just stay on the train. Olive and orange trees and giant cacti lined the tracks here. As we pulled into our final destination I felt, like that Rodgers and Hart musical, one of ‘The Boys from Syracuse’.
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  • Day4

    Sleeper to Sicily

    June 7 in Italy

    At 20.10 last night, I boarded the overnight sleeper train from Milan all the way to Sicily. A marathon journey of some 19 hours 38 minutes. And if I was expecting a luxurious travel experience, I was about to be sorely disappointed - the Venice Simplon Orient Express this was not. The train resembled the kind of graffiti-decorated transport that you might expect of Italian railways on a short local journey from Roma Termini to San Pietro. My 2 berth 1st class compartment had certainly seen better days with little by way of creature comforts. Unlike the meticulously uniformed crews of the Polish and Russian trains last year, with their peaked caps and efficient welcome, this train attendant resembled an overweight and unkempt Reg Varney from On the Buses. With an ill-fitting uniform and grubby shirt which was too tight to fasten, he sported at least two days of grey stubble.

    And if I had expected fine dining in the restaurant car washed down with a glass of Valpolicella, again it was not to be. Not a buffet car nor even a trolley appeared to exist - and on a journey which was to take the best part of 20 hours. How glad was I that I had had that McD’s earlier when accessing their free WiFi. All that was left for dinner was a half eaten packet of crisps, a bag of Mint Imperials and a bottle of water so warm I could have easily have made a cup of tea with it - if only I had a tea bag.

    My travelling roomie embarked at Genoa. He was a tall, bearded Italian who spent some time rearranging our tiny space, with a great deal of moving luggage, ladders, toiletries etc, while parading around (if one can parade in such a tiny space) in his briefs - why have Italian men never heard of boxers?

    Our Trenitalia ‘Welcome Pack’ included amongst other bits and pieces, an eye mask. After being dazzled by the evening lights outside our blind-less window, I decided to make use of them to get to sleep. The underside of the bunk above me was covered in a full-length mirror, and when I awoke I was startled to see who looked like Lady Isobel Barnett from ‘What’s My Line’ staring down at me.

    In spite of this, my lower berth was remarkably comfortable and I got a reasonable night’s sleep. After devouring the last of the Mint Imperials for breakfast, I was amazed to discover by accident that refreshments were available from a cubbyhole at the end of the compartment. A long-life apricot croissant and an espresso later and I began to feel human again. Even Reg Varney came up trumps in converting our two berths into a relatively pleasant sitting area with a few clicks and pulls of levers.

    My Italian friend disembarked at Rosarno in Calabria at 10.00, and I had the compartment to myself for the remaining leg of the trip. The train hugged the coast all the way with terrific views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This wasn’t so bad after all.
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  • Day420

    Syracuse/Ortigia

    June 9 in Italy

    Lovely anchorage in Syracuse bay looking at the old town of Ortigia, far enough away for the music to be pleasant background only, but close enough to get there by dinghy. Ortigia is an island accessed via 2bridges from the mainland. It has lots of old buildings but also lots of open piazzas and we spent a great day wandering around the streets, always on the shaded side! Temperature 30c between 12and 5.Read more

  • Day421

    Syracuse ruins

    June 10 in Italy

    We visited the ruins of the Greek theatre, the Roman amphitheatre, the Ear of Dionysus and quarry, Sanctuary of Madonna and a museum dedicated to the works of Archimedes and Leonardo. The Greek Theatre is from 5th century BC and could accommodate 15,000. It is used during May and June for the production of Greek tragedies when they cover a lot of it with wood so it can used without destroying the ruins. Amphitheater the arena is one of largest of its kind built 2nd century AD unlike Greek one this was for entertainment not elevation of men’s minds. The Ear is part of the quarries that served as prisons for defeated Athenians but acoustics are incredible you can whisper at back of the Ear and its easily heard outside. The Sanctuary is a very modern church built in the 1960s of concrete, it is a ribbed cone of 2levels, the crypt which looks to me much like a church with the usual little chapels or are they called naves around the edge, and the main church very modern and open we had to scurry out quickly as a service started as we were wandering round. In the photos you will see one of very pretty pasta options and a plate of fruit. Anyone one recognise the blackberry looking things, they were lovely but weren’t blackberrys.Read more

  • Day366

    Day 367: Down to Syracuse

    February 16 in Italy

    Up and out early again, farewelling Messina, we hardly knew ye. Walked to the train station where we managed to catch the surprisingly-infrequent train southwards to Catania, the main city on the eastern coast of Sicily. This took a couple of hours and we had great views of Mount Etna basically the whole way, since it dominates this side of the island.

    Found the airport bus here in Catania and headed out to the car hire place here, where we picked up our car for the next 10 days or so. We'd arrived about 45 minutes early so the guy refused to help me until it was the "right" time which didn't impress me, and then I didn't listen super carefully while he said he'd give us a Mercedes.

    When we eventually got out into the parking lot, the Mercedes was a large minivan with 12 seats!! Supposedly it was the only auto transmission car they had at the moment, but I made my feelings known to a nice lady who seemed to be a manager of sorts and she managed to find me a Ford Fiesta that had just been returned. It hadn't been cleaned, but after all the waiting around I wasn't that bothered! It's also a pretty crap car - no Bluetooth, reversing beeps or screen, but it's at least got USB so that'll do. But it's got an auto gearbox and nothing else really matters.

    So we finally drove off from Catania airport, heading southwards to Syracuse. It was mostly freeway and fairly unexciting, though the countryside is quite rugged and covered in citrus trees, reminding us both of Andalusia - a nice flashback considering where we were 12 months ago.

    More driving in the shadow of Etna before we eventually arrived in Syracuse. It's quite a decent sized town - not a city, but still fairly populous. I didn't realise, but Sicily is actually home to 5 million people, making it the fourth most populous region in Italy (behind Latium/Rome, Lombardy/Milan, Campania/Naples). Syracuse is an ancient Greek city around 2500 years old, and I'm looking forward to exploring it tomorrow.

    But that'll have to wait, because after another 5 hours of travelling today neither of us felt like going out to explore! We settled for staying home and working on various things, while Shandos drew the short straw and went to the supermarket for supplies.
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  • Day367

    Day 368: Exploring Syracuse

    February 17 in Italy

    Full day of exploration today! We headed out fairly early and made our way down to the waterfront area of the city. Syracuse is almost on the south-eastern tip of Sicily, and the oldest part is actually an island known as Ortygia, just slightly off the mainland. It was founded by Greek colonists around 500 BC and was one of their most important cities. Home to Plato and Archimedes, we couldn't wait to get started.

    We walked over to Ortygia and had a look around - lots of narrow streets, old churches and the like. A couple of Greek ruins here and there, including a nice temple, but mostly just Italian stuff. There was a devastating earthquake that hit Sicily in 1693, which resulted in a lot of the buildings being rebuilt in contemporary baroque style, so we enjoyed looking at that too.

    Checked out the fortress on the waterfront, but that was a bit of a let down as large areas were closed off for restoration. Acted on a good tip from a friend for lunch to visit a particular panini shop in a market, but realised the queue was going to be several hours so bailed and headed to the place next door.

    By the time we'd been seated, ordered, eaten our paninis, paid the bill and got ready to depart, we would've been maybe halfway through the original queue. It was a good idea, but oh well.

    Departing Ortygia, we headed back up through the city to the archaeological park. Both the Greeks and Romans left a strong legacy here of buildings, and these are now slowly coming to light. There's a large amphitheatre from Roman times, very reminiscent of the Colosseum in Rome (though I suppose they all are in a way!), a couple of temples, and a huge Greek theatre as well which was quite magnificent. The Greeks had a way of building theatres in spectacular locations because the crowd's panoramic view was as much of the performance as the actors, so this had great views down across town and to the sea as well.

    Pretty great condition too, and only a couple of groups so if you dodged them it was mostly to ourselves. Fairly exhausted and by now late in the day, we headed back home. Stayed in again, with more home-cooked pasta.
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  • Day3

    Syracusa

    June 17, 2017 in Italy

    Ausflug nach Syracusa auf die Altstadt Insel Ortygia. Die Fahrt ist beschwerlich und die Strasse teilweise sehr schlecht. An den Fahrstil im Stadtbereich muss man sich auch erstmal gewöhnen. Der Dom ist imposant, auch wegen der Säulen des integrierten griechischen Tempels.
    Auf dem Markt gibt es sogar frischen Fisch, leider merkt man in den Restaurants davon nicht so viel. Unter dem Domplatz liegen alte Keller, schön kühl im Vergleich zu den 32° draußen.
    Im archäologischen Park gibt es ein griechisches Amphitheater aus dem 3 Jahrhundert vor Christi, allerdings heute Abend wegen einer Aufführung (antike griechische Tragödie) ziemlich abgedeckt mit Holzsitzbänken.
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  • Day6

    To Siracusa by pizza prosecco and Peroni

    September 24, 2017 in Italy

    We drove to Siracusa via numerous rough back roads and a quick detour to the hill town of Ragusa.

    Happy to return our Smart Car (a product of the Notso Company?), we found our digs on the island of Ortigia, closely attached by bridge to Siracusa proper, and the heart of the old town.

    Ortigia has a famous cathedral, a fortress, a small swimming beach and oodles of atmosphere in its narrow cobbled streets, and reminded us a little of Trogir (of which we have very fond memories). We enjoyed wandering around, climbed up and through the Fortress Maniace on the outermost tip of the island, and generally became part of the tourist population.

    Being in Sicily, there are naturally some Greek ruins as well, so we walked up the hill for a look at the amphitheatre.

    We enjoyed being out and about in the evening for dinner, too, and were lucky our hotel had a small terrace overlooking the sea that was perfect for a pre-dinner drink or four.

    Sad to be leaving Siracusa, our next stop will be Catania.
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  • Day5

    Siracusa

    June 1, 2017 in Italy

    Vandaag naar de tweede B&B gereisd in Siracusa en de oude stad (ortigia) verkend. Hectisch verkeer maar we worden het bijna gewoon. Ortigia is eilandje van vierkante km met smalle straatjes en kerkjes. Ook oude archeologische site bezocht met amfitheater en Grieks theater. Is van 5de eeuw voor Christus.. Oude steentjes dus.

  • Day13

    Syrakus

    April 15, 2017 in Italy

    Vendredi-Saint, 14 avril 2017
    Nous partons à la découverte de Syracusa en transports publics. Tout une aventure! Nous prévoyons large pour ne pas rater le bus, il n'y en a que tous les 90minutes, et avons déjà presque abandonné quand il arrivera à 9.20h (au lieu de 9h). Il y a deux grandes centres d'intérêt à visiter à Syracusa: le parc archéologique avec ses théâtres grec et romain et le centre historique sur l'île de Ortygia. Nous visitons la vielle ville avec ses églises et palais. Les restes du temple d'Apollon nous accueillent en premier. Le marché coloré et odorant tient toutes ses promesses. La plupart des églises sont fermées, mais nous restons bouche-bée devant le Duomo. Il est construit dans un temple grec, les immenses colonnes se voient encore. Nous ne pouvons pas laisser de côté la Chiesa Santa Lucia, dédiée à la sainte patronne de la ville. Notre ballade nous mène aux belles places et à tout bout de rue il y a la mer en toile de fond. La Fonte Aretusa est une source d'eau douce à qq mètres de la mer. Le bassin héberge des poissons et des canards. C'est évidemment très touristique mais en s'écartant un petit peu nous avons trouvé l'Osteria da Seby où nous avons fort bien dîné. Le soleil cogne pour la première fois aujourd'hui. Nous rentrons donc volontiers au camping.Read more

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Ciane

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