If you want to stay in Siracusa, Sicily, check out the Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel in the center of Ortigia, a tiny island connected to Siracusa via a causeway. The hotel is hidden in a narrow lane lined with centuries-old buildings. Just a few steps away is the picturesque coastline. The most remarkable feature of the Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel is the ancient Jewish mikva (ritual bath), estimated to have been built in the 6th century AD, located in deep beneath the foundations of the building. The mikva was abandoned and covered up in 1492 when the Jews were expelled from all of the lands belonging to the Spanish king, which included Sicily. The mikva was discovered recently when the hotel’s owners began renovating the building and its foundations. You can join a guided visit that takes place almost every hour (reservations permitted), with the purchase of a ticket for 5 euros, from Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on holidays only in the morning at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and noon, otherwise by reservation. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because the mikva area is slippery and dimly lit.
The Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel has 30 rooms filled with beautiful antique furniture, colourful tiles and richly decorated ceilings—all with a Sicilian flair. There are four different types of rooms: the deluxe spa, junior suite, double classic and single classic. Some have views onto the sea, while others look out to a cozy courtyard. Apartments are also an option for guests desiring more independence and space. They are decorated in the same style and the staff is available via telephone. And one apartment even has a terrace overlooking the sea with a Jacuzzi! They are about ten minutes walking distance from the hotel and can be rented for a minimum of three nights.
Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel recently opened restaurant that offers fresh, Mediterranean cuisine. The hotel employees pride themselves on using food that isn’t frozen or preserved, and much of it is local. The menu changes each season and every day offers a new special of the menu. The wine list is 100 percent Sicilian.
Visitors to the island typically visit such sites as the Galleria Regionale di Palazzao Bellomo, a gallery filled with mostly religious art; the Duomo, offering intriguing relics and wonderful architecture; and the Fonte Aretusa, a fresh-water spring with ties back to the first Greeks to inhabit the island. Underground tunnels are also an option for those looking for an adventure, but Ortigia also offers marvelous shopping at its market where items such as clothing and items for the home can be found. But the best part about the local market is the food. You will find fresh fish, local cheeses, and fruit.
Guests looking for a relaxing, Sicilian experience will feel right at home on Ortigia in this historic hotel.
NOTE: If you are arriving by car, make sure you ask the hotel in advance where to park. Ortigia has a medieval layout (narrow streets, no parking). There’s a lot of parking at the harbour, only a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel
Via Vittorio Veneto 93
I-96100 Siracusa, Italy
+39 0931 465186