The apartment owner Stefano is a great guy. He gave us a lift between the bus station and the apartment (about 1 mile apart) with all our luggage on arrival and departure.
His English is very limited, but his willingness to help more than compensated.
The complimentary bottle of chilled prosecco and bowl of fruit on arrival was much appreciated, as was his assistance with the wifi and the cooker in the apartment. Thank you Stefano!
Access to the apartment is up a flight of 15 stairs. Once you've climbed these, the private apartment is all on one floor.
The apartment is recently refurbished, the decoration is nice, and it's well equipped with wifi, a two ring induction stove plus cooking equipment, a fridge-freezer, electric shower, entry intercom, big TV, cable channels, and a hi fi which will play from a USB device.
Plenty of linen and towels, plus miniature toiletries provided for our week's stay.
The rooms have high ceilings, which make them wonderfully airy on hot days. I suspect these are centuries old - they all have an unusual arched ceiling. The airiness is helped by the full length windows in the kitchen, bedroom and lounge, which all go out onto small balconies. There's plenty of natural light and fresh air, and the bedroom and lounger were spacious. The bathroom and kitchen are small. All the windows have wooden shutters outside, for privacy and to block out the intense direct sunlight.
There is a large double bedroom, which also contained a cot for our baby, and an air-conditioning unit.
There's also a double bed/settee in the lounge. Note that this room has no air-conditioning and has a full-length window opening onto the main road outside, which is noisy even with the window and shutters closed.
The location will not suit everyone.
The apartment is directly on the 2-lane main road which goes around the island of Ortigia, as the road comes back to the main Talete public car park for Ortigia.
This is good if you need to park in Talete car park. There also appeared to be a few free parking spaces on the road on the quieter side of the apartment, but check with the owner.
Most traffic appears to be workers arriving or leaving Ortigia at rush hour, or happy families parking at Talete and arriving for an evening meal. It's not a quiet location.
It's about 45 minutes walk to the train and bus stations (30 minutes if you walk very fast when it's cooler in the evening!)
Traffic noise is constant at rush hour, mostly with workers arriving or leaving Ortigia from the mainland. Mopeds are particularly noisy, and there are a couple of loose manholes in the road outside the apartment, which clank as vehicles go over them. Noise is louder in the lounge than the bedroom, which does not have a window on the road side.
There was also a bar next door to the apartment, which was quiet most nights, then bizarrely decided to put loudspeakers on the pavement on our last Friday night until around 11:15pm for a birthday party! Hopefully this was a one-off, but it was very loud, you couldn't escape the noise anywhere in the apartment, it was echoing off the seawall.
The seawall itself appears to be quite old, and has archways through which the traffic passes. Unfortunately it comes very close to the kitchen and bedroom windows, which mean you have to close the shutters if you want privacy from the pedestrians walking on top of it above your windows. However, you also get the breeze directly off the sea, which is nice.
One big bonus is how close you are to the daily market. It's only 2 blocks back towards the main bridges, you can walk there in 5 minutes. Walk at the side of the main road for a couple of blocks, and you'll see all the stalls on your left. Get down there in the morning for your all your fresh food, you can make an amazing day's picnic. The seafood is also fantastic and locally caught, if you fancy cooking it for yourself.
It's also only one minute's walk into the twisty old medieval alleyways of the Jewish quarter, which is by far the most interesting way to walk to the Temple of Apollo, or uphill to the cathedral area.
There are plenty of restaurants and trattorias nearby, go walking and find them, ,the island of Ortigia is not large. Most specialise in local dishes (as you would expect.)
Aside from the wonderful daily market, the closest shop is a small 'hole in the wall' local shop 1 minute from the apartment, selling bread, milk, basic provisions. Go out of the apartment, turn left. Walk along the pavement then cross the small road to the other side. Now follow it to the left, keeping a careful look for the shop doorway on your right-hand side. It has no signs and no window, so it's easy to miss. The lady there doesn't speak English, but you can point to whatever you're buying.
One another note - Ortigia and Siracusa do not have traditional sandy family-friendly beaches. There is a tiny sandy beach (about 10m long) near Fontane Aretusa, but it's gets very crowded with any more than 10 people on it. There's also a couple of rocky areas where you can swim, accessed down long metal staircases, only suitable for adults or old children. If you want big sandy beaches day after day, stay in one of the resorts south of Siracusa, the taxi only costs 20 Euros from Siracusa.
You will also struggle for things to do after 3 days in Ortigia, you may wish to rent a car and explore further afield. Interbus were very good for longer journeys, but the local buses were always crowded, catch them from the bus station if you really need a seat, as we saw people being turned away at bus stops.
Check your return bus/ train times carefully before leaving Siracusa, as they often finish in the early afternoon, and you'll need to get a taxi back if you get stranded.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay here.