“Shipshape B&B on the waterfront of Ortigia, the seagirt historic centre of Siracusa, with charming owners and roof terrace”
The eight light-flooded and high-ceilinged rooms, set on 2 floors, have polished parquet floors, wood-beamed ceilings, whitewashed walls, ensuite bathrooms with walk-in showers, and matching striped upholstery on bedspread and curtains that adds a nautical touch. The fabric in each room is different, with colour schemes ranging from blue and olive, or restrained stone and slate, to jaunty egg-yolk yellow and scarlet in the attic room, where we stayed. Unusually for Sicily, a kettle and a selection of teas are provided.
The most spacious room is room 4, on the corner of the building with 2 balconies; but rooms 2, 3 and 5, each of which has a little balcony, are also a good size. Rooms 2 and 3 overlook a tree-lined street; rooms 4 and 5 have sea views - and these are the ones to go for if possible. Rooms 1 & 6 have a courtyard view; the cheapest rooms are 7 & 8, the two attic doubles with a skylight window and no view.
Breakfast is served in the glass-fronted breakfast room which overlooks the bay. In summer you can also take breakfast on the small roof terrace alongside. Every morning Fiora, a member of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina (and whose traditional recipes have graced cookbooks), makes a cake or crostata (a tart filled with fruit or jam), while Gianmarco buys fresh bread and pastries from a local bakery. Add hams and cheese, yoghurt, cereal, pancakes with maple syrup, hard-boiled eggs, and an array of fresh fruit, and you may not need lunch. Scrambled eggs can be cooked to order. Drinks include fresh coffee and tea, we had thick hot chocolate and you can also squeeze your own orange juice. On Sundays tuck into cannoli, tubes of crisp deep-fried pastry filled with fresh, sweetened ricotta.
Lunches and dinners cooked by Fiora are available on request, and offer a chance to sample typical dishes such as caponata, parmigiana and sarde a beccafico. True foodies should book one of her Sicilian cooking courses which include a trip to the market and learning about local wines.
Otherwise, ask for recommendations and try one of the many fish restaurants and traditional trattorie in Ortigia: Al Mazari near the Piazza Duomo is a favourite, we liked Dassena next door. Fiora's other son, Friedrich, has opened a charcoal grill & pizza restaurant, Piano B in the 'new town' across the bridge.
Children of all ages are welcome, and parents will appreciate the relaxed ambiance. There's nothing at the hotel for kids so it's best for a short stay for the sights of Siracusa (which children will enjoy). Note that only one room category (the two Attic Doubles) can take an extra bed or baby cot and that there are no bathtubs.
The Attic Doubles, numbers 7 & 8, are large enough to take an extra bed or baby cot. These rooms only have skylights. You can also take numbers 6 (courtyard view) & 7 (attic) together as these are opposite each other with an extra door for more privacy.
Babysitting is available by arrangement, see Rates.
There's plenty of options at breakfast to satisfy the fussiest of eaters - fruit, yoghurt, cereal, pastries, cake, hard-boiled eggs and hams.