We started our walking tour by crossing over a bridge to Ortigia, a small island connected to Siracusa (by that bridge). We stopped by the ruins of a Greek temple and saw a famous statue of Archimedes, and the Fountain of Diana. The Piazza Duomo’s magnificent buildings reflect the various groups who had conquered Sicily. The Cathedral, in fact began its life as a Greek temple.
At the end of the tour Francine treated us all to either a lemon or almond granita, our new favorite drink in hot weather! We then had free time. Jorge and Ellen walked back to the ship but returned later in the day to wander around on our own to explore some shops and have another granita.
Later in the afternoon back on the ship we had two speakers with first hand knowledge of the Mafia. They talked to us about their experiences and then candidly answered our questions. They were both from Corleone, Sicily, where it is reputed that the Mafia was born.
One gentleman, Gino Felicetti (an expert on the Mafia), was the son a a tailor who provided free suits to a town doctor and high-ranking Mafia member. The father thought the free suits would secure him a better job. However, when the father saw the dead body of a close friend the family fled to England.
The other speaker’s father worked for the town’s rival mafia leader and rose up through the ranks to be a Mafia boss. The father was always on the run but made it clear that his family was not to be touched. The son and his brother grew up wealthy but always in hiding. They never went to school nor played with other children. To this day the family name still carries a stigma. Whenever he meets people for the first time, they always react to the name.
People asked why he didn’t leave the country and establish a new identity. He stayed in Sicily because that is his home and he knows people there. He also loved his father but hated what he did.
That night we had more musicians on board. This time it was an accordion player and a violin player. They entertained us with Sicilian music.