The Sicilian Expedition Travel Journal – Day 13

17th May 2015

After a blissful daytrip visiting Noto yesterday from Syracuse, I’d returned to Catania in the evening for the final hotel.

I’d planned to wake early today and ascend Mount Etna, but I feel horrifically nauseous and tired. I desperately hope I’m not falling ill… Besides, the weather has taken a turn for the worse and even if I make it up the volcano, I won’t be able to see anything more than three feet in front of me. After attempting to sleep in for a while longer I’m loathe to waste and entire day, so I venture tentatively out into rainy Catania to sample some ancient delights.

The Roman amphitheatre is largely covered by urban sprawl, but at least I can see some of it which is more than I managed in Syracuse. There is a sign that suggests that it’s possible to go down onto the arena floor, but the chain and padlocks on the gates indictae that once again Sicily has thwarted me. Still, what’s left does give an impressive hint at what the 16,000 seater amphitheatre would have looked like.

IMG_5098 IMG_5093 IMG_5101 IMG_5104 There is also a theatre. It’s thought to be originally Greek, but the Romans renovated it in the 2ndC AD. It survived by the gradual covering of medieval houses that used the seating as foundations. They’ve since been slowly removed.

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Looking sideways at the staging area, the remains of the skene (backdrop building) on the left

The aditus (in Greek) or vomitorium (in Latin,) - the entrance tunnels for the audience to reach the seating in the cavea

The aditus (in Greek) or vomitorium (in Latin,) – the entrance tunnels for the audience to reach the seating in the cavea

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I don’t know if the orchestra area dries out in high summer, but I’m rather pleased to see it partially submerged like this. It’s definitely atmospheric!

The weather worsens and I’m forced to retreat to my hotel before the skies open. Just as well, I have a ridiculously early morning wake up call for tomorrow, my last full day, and I am still feeling strangely peaky. An early night will have me feeling better, surely…

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