From Catania to Syracuse

by Aldo Torrisi, 29/05/2015

The city of Catania is Sicily second large after Palermo, with its 350,000 inhabitants. Overshadowed by the Etna Mount we notice reminders of this territory in the dark color of most monuments and buildings. Historically the city was founded by the earliest colonizers from ancient Greece in the 8th century BC. The first settlement was probably from prehistoric origin and its first name was Aetna because of the mountain with its perpetual eruptions on the backdrop of the city. Then on the 4th century BC it took again the name of Katane nowadays Catania. Greek domination ruled for three hundred years till Roman dominion gained the upper hand. This dominion is reflected in numerous buildings such as the Amphitheater dating from 2nd century AD. The medieval town plan established by the Norman and Swabian invaders has been almost completely wiped out by earthquakes and eruptions of the volcano. The 17th century was particularly catastrophic for Catania. On 1669 a huge Etna’s eruption with devastating lava river flowed into the city and over form 1,5km inside the sea covering all the port area and the surroundings of Castel Ursino. Few decades later in 1693 an earthquake razed it to the ground. It followed a sumptuous reconstruction, the main protagonist being the architect Giovanni Battista Vaccarini (1702-1768) who designed the most prestigious buildings. The baroque covered nearly every ruined specimen of the past with gorgeous decoration on churches and noble palaces with characteristic grotesque masks and putti. In the nineteenth century Catania took a leading part in the Risorgimento struggles that culminated in the rebellion of Garibaldi. Seriously damaged during the Second World War, nowadays town is substantially modern and dynamic in appearance and preserves abundant evidence of its Baroque restoration. The city has a fortunate situation, in a district of increasing importance in tourist trade, not far from well-known resorts on the coast. It also possesses a very active port and is equipped for extensive and diversified commercial, industrial and services activities. It was home to such great artists as the composer Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835) and the writer Giovanni Verga (1840-1922). A great, very longed-for celebration takes place every year from 3 to 5 February in honor of Saint Agatha, when a huge crowd of believers process in typical white dress through the city’s historical center celebrating their beloved Patron Saint. The event draws thousands of visitors from all Sicily and beyond.

Brucoli is a seaside resort in the province of Siracusa, standing few kilometers from Augusta.  Flanked by a channel which runs along its side like a natural underlining, this village has planted its roots during the Neolithic Era. A river has always existed in the traditions and history of this village, the Pocarià stream was the first disembarking area (as well as portal) of Greeks from Megara, who have founded the ancient village, then invaded the inlands to conquer new territories. The history of Brucoli is intertwined with this channel, which has determined its social and economic outcome during different realms that succeeded through time. Thanks to its channel port, the Aragonesi annexed the village to the Chamber of the Aragonese Queens, then built the castle in order to protect the stores which contained export merchandise. Until now, the channel port at the mouth of Porcarià is alive and it allows navigation only for small ships, as it becomes shallower through time. The recent past of the village was also marked by the 1990 earthquake, which destroyed a big part of the most important church in town, the XVIII century San Nicola church, totally opened again in 2005. Dedicated to the patron saint it holds a small legend which tells the story of a troupe of navigators in the middle of a storm who prayed to the saint and found shelter by the channel of Brucoli; as a sign of gratitude, they have surrendered an unfinished painting of the saint. On the first Sunday after March 19, it celebrates the characteristic auction of San Giuseppe, with the sale of the gifts brought by families to the patron saint of Providence, including a typical local pizza called cuddurùni. The festivity during the last Sunday of July, features a long parade of ships on the sea, held every other year, with the placing of a crown in memory of those who died in the sea.

Visiting Syracuse is like taking a journey back in time. The city lies on the eastern coast of Sicily situated in one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful bays. Founded in 734 BC  by Corinthian colons the first settlements were on the island of Ortigia which preserve ruins of the first Temple dedicated to Apollo. The colony- grew rapidly in prosperity and military strength and soon became a magnetic center of power for the whole Mediterranean area. After various vicissitudes, the city was taken during the Second Punic Wars by the Romans in 212 BC. During the siege Archimedes used the famous burning glasses. When the power of Rome declined, Syracuse suffered repeated attacks by Franks, Vandals and Goths, then united with the Byzantine Empire it housed the court of Constants II. In medieval times, the arrival of Arabs and Normans brought changes to the town’s layout enriched it economically and culturally. The 1693 earthquake was terrible for the whole province and led to reconstruction on a vast scale, making Syracuse into an important capital of the Baroque style in Europe. This city not only has an extremely rich cultural past, it is set in breathtaking beautiful natural surroundings: the peaceful bay of Porto Grande with the Maddalena Peninsula, and in the background the magic Monti Iblei with Etna. The Syracuse of today is a city of art and great archaeological interest. In the charming and picturesque Island of Ortygia you’re surrounded by clean white buildings, Medieval and Baroque architecture with the imposing presence of ancient vestiges and ruins. Many famous contributors to culture and learning have been born in Syracuse: Archimedes one of the greatest scientists of the ancient world, Salvatore Quasimodo poet, and Elio Vittorini writer and journalist. An important cultural event in Syracuse is the performance of the classical Greek tragedies represented in the Greek Theater every year from May to July.

We invite you to select your suitable boat to enjoy this itinerary
All selected boat have 2 crew member, regular licenses, security amenities and comfort.

Once you’ve selected the boat that meet your expectation ask for booking availability on your suitable date.
Available timing for this tour only Full day from 09.30 am. to 6.30 pm.
Boarding point: Port of Catania
Our boat tour refers to a private and exclusive rental of the whole boat for the indicated itinerary and conditions. Our boat tours are inclusive of: Skipper and hostess, fuel for the displayed itinerary, port delivery and boarding service, open bar, beach towels, insurances and taxes.
Extra lunch with following solutions:
– Catering on board with seafood menu
– Local restaurant reservation for à la carte menu

Deposit requirements: Once confirmed availability of the boat we ask for 30% deposit of the total balance prior to confirm any reservations. These deposits may be refundable based on the hereafter description of weather conditions. Final payment:  Balance must be paid by bank transfer 15 days prior departure
In case of short reservation period, balance on departure day by credit card or bank money transfer.

The adverse weather conditions that prevent a safe and enjoyable navigation are the following :
MOTOR BOATS :                              Wind speed up to 20 knots – Sea waves 4-5 Douglas rate
SAILING BOATS AND GULLET:   Wind speed up to 20 knots – Sea waves 3-4 Douglas rate

In case of adverse sea conditions as listed before, we will previously inform guests and ask for another available day according to their permanence in Sicily to guarantee the booked boat tour.
If sea conditions are safe and acceptable departure is guaranteed ” Rain or Sun .”
The cancellation policy are as follows:
– 30% of total reservation is not refundable 15 days before departure.
– 50% of total reservation is not refundable from 14 days to 7 days before departure.
– 80% of total reservation is not refundable from 6 days  to 24 hours before departure.
– No refund for no show.

All listed boats are equipped with regular navigation licenses and qualified staff in possession of nautical licenses and rescue courses as required by regional and Italian laws.
All listed boats have regular insurance policy for damages to persons transported due to extraordinary events (boat collision, shipwreck) and subordinate to the negligence of the master and / or staff on board.
Once on board we always inform about rules and behavior instructions for a safe navigation. All accidents occurred on board for non-observance of these rules won’t be covered by insurance contract policy.

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  • marina di ragusa maps We’ve selected this boat itinerary to unveil the coastline between Catania constructed with dark lava stone and Syracuse’s characteristics white-yellow colors of limestone, from Ulysses legends and the Etna breath to the cradle of Greek Sicilian culture. Boarding and departure will be from Porto dell’Etna in Riposto or Porto di Catania. We navigate on south direction from rocky bays to long sandy beaches. We stop in the bay of Brucoli for a swimming time on crystal waters. Then we continue to Augusta a commercial port with an ancient medieval tower standing by the sea, Capo S.Crose and its lighthouse and finally Ortigia the characteristic island of Syracuse with the Spanish fortification walls, Castel Maniace and the fountain of Arethusa legendary connections between our territory and the Greek motherland.