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A Local's Guide to Siracusa, Sicily

Describe who you are in 3 sentences:
I’m Denise, I’m 25 years old and I have now lived in Copenhagen for the past 6 years. I am originally Italian, more precisely from Siracusa. My favorite things in the world are sunsets at the beach, singing at concerts like there is no tomorrow, traveling and training training training! I work in Fashion PR and I really enjoy being around people but I absolutely love and need my 'me time'. I am a former dancer and now I box and shoot to keep fit and release stress.

What is your relation to this city?
I was born in Siracusa, from an Italian dad and Maltese mum. I lived in Siracusa most of my childhood and teenage life before I moved between Paris and Copenhagen.

Best experience?
Ferragosto al mare! Ferragosto is a public holiday we celebrate in Italy on the 15th August and traditionally we gather with friends at one of our favorite beaches, make a bonfire, set a tent, play guitars, sing and party all night. If you are brave enough you will also take a night swim before laying on the coast, hoping to see a shooting star.

Weirdest experience?
You get approached a lot in the streets in Italy if you have blonde hair and look slightly non-Italian. I never thought it was an issue, until I moved to Denmark and when I go back I need to remind myself that is very normal here :D it always end up in a laugh when I reply back in Italian. But heads up for the Scandi’s out there.

Your top 3 hangout spots?
1) Ortigia – Piazza Duomo.
2) Via della Giudecca – I love walking around the characteristic streets.
3) Home in my beautiful and peaceful garden

Favourite restaurants?
"Trattoria O´Scina" and "Scialai" for typical Italian cusine. Both are owned by a lovely Sicilian family who are known for creating delicious menus and attentive service.
My favorite pizza is definitely from "Le Sacre Pietre", you will need a car to get there as it is quite lost in the mountains, but definitely worth the drive. Simply delicious!
Oh and finally, the ice creams at "Bianca" are a must try!

Best date place?
Ortigia. Walk around the little island which is filled with historical remains, cocktail bars, restaurant and little streets full of character. It really makes you get lost in its magic!

Best Sunday spot?
Walk along the Lungomare Alfeo, it’s the seafront that starts from the fountain Aretusa and ends in the mediaval fortification of Maniace Castle. If you want to grab a bite or a drink and enjoy the sun and the beautiful seafront view, stop at the “Zefiro”.

If you were to live in another place, where would that be and why?
I would say Paris or South Africa. I lived in Paris before, both for studies and work, I have always loved the magic this city emanates. It sparks a mix of mystery, architectural beauty and artistic engagement, no matter if I am reading book at a cafe, walking on the Pont des Arts or sipping wine at a brasserie. If I would have to live a different life, South Africa would be my choice, I miss the sun every day in Denmark and I am a fruit and health freak so the idea of living again by the ocean, surfing and make a big change again, makes me want to pack my bags right away!

Where is your escape place from this city?
I always go to Ognina if I want some peace and quiet from everything. Whenever I travel back, I make sure to go there and sit on the rocks. I simply love the sound and smell of the sea; it just makes me think about everything and the nostalgia mixes with the relaxing surroundings and it feels like inhaling positive energy. For me it’s like a yoga session or reading a good book.

Best 5 local advices?
1. Experience Ortigia. Both in the morning and by night.
2. We don’t eat at McDonald's after a night out, Italians eat a panino. The best in Siracusa is at “Panino da Antonio” and you need to try it. It is known in the whole Sicilian island for being the best panino chef! 
3. Visit the “Mercato of Ortigia”, it is a food market and everything is just so fresh and delicious!
4. Try a 'granita con la brioche'.
5. April/May or September are the best times to travel to Sicily, it is warm but not too hot.
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