The island of Ortigia

Our Bed & amp; Breakfast is located in the heart of Siracusa, which is named The island of Ortigia .

The Ottiggia, in dialect Syracuse, Ortygia, Ὀρτυγία in ancient greek, which means quail is the name of the island which constitutes Part oldest of the Syracuse . Its size does not exceed 1 km².

The island has always been the heart of the city, witness the fact that right from ‘ age of ancient bronze to be inhabited, and also testify remains of circular huts of the XIV century BC referable to the culture of Thapsos.

In Greek times , Ortigia was the political and religious center of the city; as demonstrated by the fact that the island was built the sacred road (which currently falls in the axis urban street Dione and the second section of the Via Roma), or the way which contained important temples of the gods, as the Artemision and the ‘Athenaion (now Cathedral of Syracuse).

During the tyranny of Dionysius I of Syracuse (also called “Dionysius the Elder” and “Dionysius the Great”) on the island was built the Palace of Tyrants with high walls autonomous and the most intimate part of abode of Dionysius, constituted by a small island, was separated from the rest of the building by a canal with a drawbridge, raised or lowered by the same tyrant, to find themselves completely safe. (Cicero, Tusculanae, 5, 59).

This building was later destroyed by Timoleon, the Corinthian commander and one of the few democratic rulers who had the Greek Syracuse. (Plutarch, Timoleon Life, 21). The dwelling of the tyrants was rebuilt in the most sumptuous forms Agatocle (Diodorus XVI 85).

The island took part in many of the city’s defenses, it was also surrounded by the mponenti Dionysian walls that stretched as far as Mount Epipoli, near the Eurialo Castle .

During the siege of the Roman in 212 BC, it became the last of Syracuse Ortigia district falling into the hands of Rome. During the siege, its port was of fundamental importance for the fate of the battles, because it was from there that Carthage, allied with Syracuse, was sending food supplies, so the food and the strength to withstand the siege. In fact, with the help of the Carthaginian ships and the brilliant war machines of Archimedes , the Syracusans resisted to the bitter end to the Roman army that could do nothing but stand outside of aretusee walls. Cicero, the famous Roman philosopher, called to defend the Sicilians citizens from the depredations made by the notorious Roman magistrate Verres, testified that many treasures of the temples and homes were stolen Syracuse.

Syracuse became the seat of the Roman governors of Sicily, they were living in what was once the palace of the tyrant, they became praetorium (headquarters of the Roman magistrates).

In medieval times , Ortigia became increasingly important, given that the population of Syracuse following the major wars (the end of the Roman Empire, the conquest of the Franks and Vandals) decreased to shrink almost entirely up area of ​​Siracusa, depopulating the remaining quartieri.L’isola was further strengthened when the city was named “ Capital Roman Empire ” (also known as the “Capital of ‘Eastern Roman Empire), thus becoming the seat of the Byzantine emperor, Constans II. Later the island faces one of the sieges suffered more, the Arabic 878 AD, which will reduce the population to starvation and force him to surrender after months and months of suffering. the city will be stripped from the title of “Capital of Sicily” and Ortigia will go into Arab hands, becoming part of the Kingdom of Muslim Sicily. the most obvious evidence of medieval and grandiose in or Tigia is definitely the href=”” Castello Maniace initially fortress built by Giorgio Maniace later became a castle at the behest of ‘Norman-Swabian emperor Frederick II, who gave the building the name “Maniace”, in memory of the historic general conqueror of Syracuse in Arabic time.

In the Spanish era , the city changed radically its urban aspect, and therefore also its cultural image, arriving in a way that still shows it. It was in fact the architects took the governors of Castile and Aragon to give the island the baroque facade, with palaces and the Catalan fantasies mix between the Sicilian art and Spanish art, which in modern times have been praise and the pride of the island, giving her the title of ‘ center of the Sicilian baroque “, comparable to the most renowned baroque, on the subject, Noto . Ortigia became the hub of trade with the Spaniards and was also home to the Camera Reginale : a governmental body from Spain but established in the territory, which gave his office a kind of legal title of “State in the state, “it was established by Frederick III of Aragon as gift to his wife, Eleanor of Anjou. Since then, the House passed the queen reigning queen of Castile and Aragon, was finally abolished by Charles V in 1536. The critical issues came as Spain became an empire, and Sicily he made a full part, becoming, in the emperors projects Spanish, to defend the outpost in the wars against the Turks, Austrians and other enemies of the crown. In particular, the Emperor Charles V transformed the island of Ortigia in one of the most fortified strongholds Europe with walls and drawbridges. The island was accessible by only one big door, the Port Ligny , a rich architectural work. The door was torn down, like all the other historic fortifications of the Spanish era, the Unification of Italy.

The ‘ 600,’ 700 and ‘800 were very difficult times for the island of Ortigia, became a military fortress was the Austrian attacks, the defense of the Turkish coast, the various stages of power up reaching the Treaty of Utrecht with which Spain declared ahead of Europe to give up Sicily, passing well in Austrian hands with the ruling house of Habsburg. Then came the Savoy from Piedmont but their monarchy in Sicily lasted very little since neither Spain nor Austria were willing to give up the largest island in the Mediterranean. After several disputes Syracuse, along with Sicily he returned to the Bourbons and was united to the Kingdom of Naples. Then with the advent of Garibaldi’s mission gave the start to the unification of Italy that will be obtained in 1861. The Savoy time will come down in Sicily island by monarchs become Italian.

Ortigia is now the historical, cultural and modano of Syracuse, inspirational destination for many directors who choose . In the streets of Ortigia island it was shot M Alena , 2000 film directed by Giuseppe Tornatore.

In its streets and its palaces were filmed scenes of national television series known as the Inspector Montalbano , written by Andrea Camilleri and starring Luca Zingaretti, but also fiction like The honor and respect , played by Gabriel Garko. Noteworthy are also filming the movie The life of Caravaggio , shot in 2007 and directed by Angelo Longoni; significant occasions since Caravaggio was really in Syracuse in his life, and the city has preserved its famous painting: the Burial of Saint Lucia .

But Ortigia is not just cinema, destination for Italian actors and directors, is also known abroad for its views, its monuments, its flavor and Mediterranean climate. For example you have filmed scenes of their film Sicily , the two filmmakers Straub and Danièle Huillet, or even here there was also Margarethe von Trotta, winner of the Federico Fellini and the Golden Lion at best his film with Years , shot in Syracuse. And the fiction love ballads , directed by Argentine filmmaker Roberto Luis Garay, who repeatedly chose Syracuse for its filming.