The thriving metropolis of Magna Grecia, Siracusa was one of the most important cities in the Western world for over a thousand years.The spiritual heart of the city still lies in the island of Ortigia, today joined to the mainland by two bridges. Occupying an old fisherman’s house overlooking the sea on the north east corner of the island, the delightful Gutkowski makes a great base for exploring and is a refreshing change from sometimes heavy-handed traditional Sicilian style. It is painted sea blue (the only blue building on the island) with white trim around the tall windows; inside, the same summer colours prevail and all is fresh, clean and airy. The breakfast room has a pretty tiled floor while a fire burns in the sitting room in cool weather. Reports praise the ‘fabulous’ breakfast which features home made almond granita in summer plus all sorts of home made jams, preserves and cakes served on fine china.The bedrooms are quite spartan yet stylish and comfortable. Again, natural colours dominate, enhanced by the sun filtering through filmy white curtains; the five at the front of the house have small balconies overlooking the sea. Eleven rooms in an annexe have been added, though perhaps the word ‘annexe’ is not appropriate – it is now really a hotel with two main buildings.