We have selected some restaurants or similar from the 574 open in Syracuse, in our opinion, among the best for taste, location, fair price or elegance.
A riot of freshness and taste to try among the local products: watermelon, white melon, yellow melon, strawberries, peaches, grapes, lousies, oranges, lemons, almonds, pistachios, plums, apricots,, pomegranates, fig and more
Syracusan cuisine already famous in ancient Greece for its fish sprinkled with flavored cheese, wheat pastes, sweets made with Honey from Iblei Mountain and its muscat at the time called "Polio" was synonymous of abundance and sophistication: the proverb "like a Syracusan banquet ' was used to indicate particularly rich and elaborate canteens. Plato criticized the lifestyle of the Syracusan and their cuisine: they, said the Athenian, have lunch twice a day and corrupt with their cuisine the soul and body of the Greek warrior. Since then that jubilation of flavors has become a unique product with quality brands :
DOC: Controlled Denomination of Origin
DOP: Protected Designation of Origin
IGP: Protected Geographical Indication
PAT: Traditional Italian food Product.
MANDORLA DI AVOLA PAT (ALMOND FROM AVOLA)
FEMMINELLO LEMON FROM SYRACUSE IGP
TOMATO FROM PACHINO IGP
MELON FROM PACHINO PAT
NOVELLA POTATOES FROM SYRACUSE PAT
STRAWBERRY FROM CASSIBILE PAT
WATERMELON FROM SIRACUSA PAT
BITTER ORANGE MARMALADE, APPLE TREES MARMALADE, SPINELLI IBLEE PEARS MARMALADE PAT
HONEY FROM IBLEI MOUNTS & SORTINO:THYME, CITRUS, CAROB TREE, WILDFLOWERS, PAT
OIL FROM IBLEI MOUNTS DOP
GELATINE & SAUSAGE FROM IBLEI MOUNTS PAT
BREAD FROM LENTINI PAT
RED SHRIMP & PURPLE SHRIMP FROM SYRACUSE DOP (Recognition in progress)
TUNA BOTTARGA (SALTY DRIED EGGS) & SMOKED FISH
RED ORANGE FROM SICILY IGP
SICILIAN PECORINO(CHEES FROM SHEEP) DOP
RICOTTA CHEESE ,PROVOLA CHEESE & CAPRINO CHEESE (GOAT) PAT
As seaside town Syracuse has a long list of dishes and courses based on fish ,the important thing is obviously the freshness of the product used,FOR A SYRACUSAN THE FISH IS GOOD WHEN IT HAS THE TESTS OF SEA WATER, especially the white meat grilled fish is consumed with a drizzle of extra virgin iblei oil and NOTHING ELSE. To get a taste experience is therefore to prefer a dish with local fish even less "noble" to more "precious" imported and frozen fish.
In the NOT list we have: SEA BREAM & SEA BASS FROM FARM; SHRIMPS,SQUIDS,SWORD FISH & TUNA FISH WHEN THEY ARE FROZEN.
In the YES list we have:
MUSSELS: dishes prepared with MUSSELS have an intense and delicious taste. The queen is the pepper of mussels prepared with pepper and white wine.
Local SHELLFISHES including SHRIMPS, RED AND VIOLET KING PRAWNS, SCAMPI, LOBSTERS, MANTIS SHRIMPS are a real treat, the price can be high depending on the period but it's really worth to have it;
SEA URCHIN: collected by local fishermen, for whom their sale has become a form of sustenance, are a real delicacy and nevertheless have a moderate cost (a dish with sea urchin is around €15). In May and June it is forbidden to fish and consume sea urchin, penalty of salty fines. You can buy them directly from the street vendors at the cost of (10-15 euros per glass) and consume them at home simply on top of a bruschetta (toasted bread).
BEST BLUEFISH with a dark blue back and silver belly, is rich in Omega 3, has a more intense and wild taste than "white" fish and costs less; excluding the sword and tuna that might be imported, it is always FRESH.
MACKEREL, HORSE MACKEREL, NEEDLE FISH AND MORE
THE EXQUISITE WHITE MEAT FISH with a delicate taste, little fat and very digestible: excellent roast or cooked into salt shell, scorpionfish is exquisite in soup, red mullet and small cod are amazing fried. It is a bit more expensive than blue fish.
COD, TURBOT, SOLE, HAKE.
THE 10 RULES TO RECOGNIZE FRESH FISH
1)At the restaurant ask to see the available fish.
2)The fresh fish is compact, tense, if very fresh can even be curved;
3)The skin must be firm, smooth,brilliant not wrinkled and not flaccid.
4)The belly must be adherent and not leaning.
5)The eye is domed outwards (convex), the cornea must be transparent and the pupil bright black;
6)The gills are bright red and mucus-free. The smell of gills (and abdominal cavity) is of seaweed;
7)The slice of tuna should not be flabby (pressing NOT must remain the imprint of the finger), the smell pleasant, deep red blood colour in case of bluefin tuna (defrosted bluefin tuna has a dull red color). Yellowfin tuna although less valuable and less red is good too.
THE 10 RULES TO RECOGNIZE FRESH FISH
8) The swordfish slice should not be flabby (Same proof of the imprint), it must have a color between white and glossy pink and not opaque (+pink = +exquisite)
9) Imported squid are perfect, compact skin, same size, no defects. Local squid are peeled, have different sizes and are more expensive. Putting your finger inside you have to see it (Raw).
10) Fresh shrimp has the head darker than the body. The imported shrimp is red-orange because of the sulphites used to store them.
RAW FISH MUST BE FLASH FROZEN BEFORE BEING EATEN.
MUSSELS MUST BE ALWAYS COOKED being filters may contain harmful bacteria. The mussels already open before cooking and those left closed after cooking are DIED MUSSELS and should not be eaten.
SPAGHETTI WITH SEA URCHIN
SPAGHETTI ALLO SCOGLIO with mussels, clams, shrimps, squids
SPAGHETTI ALLA SIRACUSANA (From Syracuse) anchovies garlic breadcrumbs oil
PASTA AI BROCCOLI 'ARRIMINATI pasta with broccoli and 3 cheeses
PASTA AL SUGO SIRACUSANA sweet peppers, aubergine, tomatoes, anchovies, black olives, capers, basil, pecorino cheese
HOMEMADE CAVATEDDI AL SUGO Tomato,aubergine,salted cottage cheese
RAVIOLI STUFFED WITH RICOTTA CHEESE SERVED WITH TOMATO SAUCE COOKED WITH PORK FROM IBLEI
MUSSELS SOUP boiled with tomato or pepper parsley wine and garlic.
PARANZA FISH FRY small cods, mullets, squids, shrimps.
CERNIA (GROUPER) ALLA MATALOTTA sliced, cooked with tomato sauce and seasoned with :olives, capers, garlic, basil and parsley.
PUPPETTI RI MUCCU (BALLS OF NEWBORN FISH ) the baby fish (Muccu) is mixed with egg, breadcrumbs, parsley, Sicilian cheese and then fried.
TONNINA (TUNA) ALLA SIRACUSANA fried tuna enriched with fried peppers vinegar and onions.
BOILED OCTOPUS served with lemon, parsley and olive oil .
CRASTUNA (SNAILS) stewed with tomato, onion, vinegar and peppers or cooked with wine and nutmeg.
CAPONATA cooked potatoes, peppers, onion, tomato, black olives and capers used as side dish.
RED ORANGE SALAD with oranges, salt, oil, parsley, fennel and onion.
PIZZOLO OF SORTINO double layer pizza invention made in Sortino in the 90s.
Among the good things about Sicily its pastry definitely occupies the top position, great variety of choice between cannoli ice cream cakes , all yummy, a ranking would be subjective so we just list the sweets worth to be tryed:
CANNOLI STUFFED WITH SWEET RICOTTA CHEESE OR CHOCOLATE, BIGNE' (CREAM PUFF) STUFFED WITH WHITE CREAM OR CHOCOLATE, ALMOND PASTRIES , SICILIAN CASSATA (CAKE), PISTACCHIO AND CIOCCOLATO PIE, GRANITA (CRUSHED ICE) OF PISTACHIO, MULBERRY ,MALMOND, LEMON , COFFE' CHOCOLATE .
St. John's Basilica
S. Marciano's Crypt
The Crypta’s byzantine art
The most ancient crib in the world
The 6th century basilica was destroyed by the Saracens and rebuilt by the Normans in the 12th century, it became Syracusa’s cathedral until the earthquake in 1693. The cathedral was rebuilt in the 17th century with baroque influences and recycled parts of the 4th Century and then left to ruin after the earthquake of 1908.
On the Cathedral’s site, during the classical age, there was a quarry which was used as a pottery workshop in the Hellenistic age. The Cathedral became a Christian cemetery in the late imperial age and remained as such until 423.
The Church has three single naves divided by twelve doric columns (in reference to the apostles) which were removed from a nearby pagan temple in byzantine times.
The Church was built on St. Martian’s crypt so that the Saint’s burial was on the same level as the altar which was in the centre of the nave. ⤏
In 878 A.D. during the Arab siege of Syracuse, the captain Giafar Ibn Muhammad used the church as the headquarters of his settlement .
The southern facade of the Church, which was destroyed by the earthquake in 1693, has 4th century elements of gothic-catalan style with rich floral decorations, twisted columns and spiral pillars from using materials that were already there.
The left facade of the Church was built by the Normans, featuring the rose window and the decorated portal.
St. Martian, who was a disciple of St. Peter’s from Antioch, was sent by the latter in 39. A.D. to preach the Gospel and establish the first Christian community of the western world.
Martian is therefore considered the first western bishop because he arrived in Sicily when St. Peter the apostle was still in Antioch.
The hypogean crypt, following the Christian tradition, was built where St. Martian was buried, after being stoned to death because of his work in evangelizing Christianity.
It is very likely that St. Paul the apostle, who was visiting Syracuse for three days in 61 A.D., preached in the same crypt.
Inside the crypt is St. Martian’s tomb stone and in the centre there is an altar which is surrounded by four columns, also used by St. Paul the apostle.
The martyr’s body remained in the crypt for eight centuries until the Arabs conquered Syracuse in 878.
In order to secure the protobishop’s body, the inhabitants of Syracuse had the body moved to Greece, to the basilica of St. Theodore of Perasso in Achaia.
Today the Saint’s resting place is in Gaeta.
Four columns with shrines on which had been engraved the symbols of the evangelists and inscriptions from the Gospel were erected in Norman times.
Byzantine Art inside the crypt
|St. John the Evangelist||St. Lucy|
|St. John the Baptist||St. Martian’s fresco with the two figures of St. Martian and St. Lucy|
|Fresco’s that illustrate St. Lucy, St. Martian, St. John the Baptist, St. Peter and St. Paul.||The remains of the flooring in opus sectile|
|One of the column’s capitals portraying the four evangelists built by the Normans.|
The Catacombe’s galleries are fascinating and mysterious and are shaped into the limestone forming a labyrinth. The burial sites are a precious shrine full of relics, sarcophagi, engravings, architectural designs and tell us about ancient times and rituals.
From the main gallery, called Decumanus Maximus, ten secondary galleries called Cardines branch off at right angles.
These galleries lead to an equal number of roundabouts which are circular shaped chapels which were derived from ancient reservoirs for collecting water and later on were used for burying famous people.
Detailed map of the Catacombes
There are three types of burials that can be traced inside the Catacombes :
Loculo, a rectangular cavity which is closed with tiles, pieces of marble or stone and which have an inscription.
Arcosolio, a more refined type of burial place composed of an arch engraved in the rock and horizontally closed by a tabula or table which is surmounted by an arched niche.
Forma, a tomb dug into the flooring of the galleries for the lack of space or financial resources.
A Peculiarity: The refrigerium
The most important element of the sarcophagus is its refined decoration, there are scenes from the old and the new testament, the highlight being the Nativity which is considered the “oldest crib in the world”.
The tombstone’s cover
1. Scenes from Mary’s life.
There follows a scene of the preparation of Mary’s wedding while being assisted by two maids.Finally, in the last scene, one can see the Virgin coated lavishly, while sitting on the throne surrounded by other women ." (Source L'Osservatore Romano)
Some scholars have identified the Balerius with the Lucius Valerius Arcadius Proculus Populonius, consularis Siciliae in the years 325-330, considered, moreover, owner of the splendid villa of Piazza Armerina. In the ark was found the body of Adelfia alone, carefully placed on a slab of lead, perhaps to slow down the decomposition." (Source L'Osservatore Romano)
3. The oldest crib in the world
“On the left of the crib one can see the Wise Men who are carrying the gifts for the Baby, who is lying in a wicker basket in a shelter and warmed by the presence of a bull and a donkey. On the right one can see a shepherd to whom an Angel announces Christ’s birth. ( Luke 2 , 4 - 19) while the Virgin Mary is sitting on a jutting rock which is covered in straw." (Source L'Osservatore Romano)
4.Imposition of work to Adam and Eve ( Genesis 3 , 16 - 19)
5. St. Peter’s denial ( Matthew, 26 , 34 ; Mark , 14 , 30 ; Luke , 22 , 34 ; John 13 , 38);
6. The healing of the hemorrhaging woman(from hemorroids) ( Mark , 5 , 25 - 35)
7. Moses receiving the Tables of Law (Exodus , 19)
8. Carved seashell - shaped medallion with the spouses Adelphia and Valerio
9. Abraham sacrificing Isaac ( Genesis, 22, 1- 4);
10. The healing of the blind ( John, 9 , 1 - 41);
11. The multiplication of bread and fish ( Matthew, 14 , 19; Mark , 6, 41; Luke , 9 , 16 ; John , 6 , 1);
12. The resurrection of the son of the widow from Nain ( Luke, 7, 12 – 15)
13. The three young hebrews from Babylon ( Daniel , 3)
14. The wedding feast at Cana ( John, 2 , 2- 11)
15. The adoration of the Magi ( Matthew , 2 , 1 – 12)
16. The original sin ( Genesis , 3 , 1);
17. Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem ( Matthew , 21 , 1 -11)
The building represents one of the most significant examples of Gothic-Chiaramontana achitecture and, at the same time, Aragonese-Catalan architecture of the city and, at least in the prospectus, has maintained the original structure.
Located above the portal, inside a newsstand decorated in Gothic style, it is possible to read the inscription in Latin that mentions the noble Mergulese as the promoter of the construction of the palace in 1397.
We know that the Mergulese house later passed to the Montalto family.
The existence of the palace in the Spirduta district testifies to the significant construction of domus magnae between the 14th and 15th centuries, a century of clear Aragonese-Catalan inspiration and that Aragonese phase that involved all the urban fabric of Ortigia.
The cladding of the facade consists of limestone tans.
Notable traces of subsequent remakes. The entrance portal is framed by a series of fan-arranged blocks, tied together by a cordoned-off arch ending with two turns to the extreme parts inscribed in a circle pattern.
The main floor is marked by the plan line, characterized by a garnish of decorated pawns and emphasizes the compositional richness of the windows above:
a single-hole (which became such at a later stage), a three-light window and a two-light window.
In the background of the central window is located the star of David (the Montalto family would be of Jewish origin) , in the left one a quadrilobate tunnel, in the right one a cruciform pattern.
The house Mergulese-Montalto is configured just as a large housing unit in the modest neighborhood that was the Jewish dyers.
Located between the districts Mastra Rua dei Catalani and the Turba, it was a logistical point of meeting and trading, symbolically representing the emergence of the new bourgeois class.
The symbolism of the decorative elements of the windows, star of David, quadrilobe and cross, could indicate the opening of the owner to all components, even religious, of the Syracuse of the time.
The palace can be visited only from the outside
The coastline of Plemmirio, which has been declared a natural protected marine reserve, presents a fascinating rocky coastline with crystal clear water and a magnificent seabed.
The marine reserve is perfect for whoever loves nature, coastline trekking, snorkeling and diving.
Many rocky beaches along the coastline of Plemmirio are charming and give one a sense of freedom and a feeling of relaxation.
|Due to street works the terminal bus may be changed, please ask to reception where the actual one is.
BUS AST N°.23 Syracuse Terminal Bus, Punta del Pero, Pillirina (Access 34, 35), Plemmirio, Costa Bianca (Access 28,27,26,25,23), Tonnara (Access 21), Terrauzza (Access from 20 to 12) Costa del Sole, P.le Lido Arenella, Syracuse.
From Syracuse (7/7) 6:45 - 8:30 - 10:00 - 11:30 - 13:00 - 14:30 - 16:00 - 17:30 - 19:00 - 20:30
Return from Lido Arenella (7/7) : 7:20 - 9:10 - 10:40 - 12:10 - 13:40 - 15:10 - 16:40 - 18:10 - 19:40 - 21:10
€1.20 / 120 min
Daily € 2.50
Weekly € 12
Purchase on board: +40 Cents.
TELL THE DRIVER YOUR DESTINATION, HE WILL BE HAPPY TO INFORM YOURSELF WHERE TO GET OFF.
The most Evocative
Accesses of the Plemmirio
🕐 9-7 ☞ Updated Schedule
Info & booking +39 331 956 6696
€25/30 2 sunbeds + umbrella in July, June -€5 , August+ €5.
🚍 Bus AST No.23. Bus stop: Plemmirio Varco 23 (Ask the driver to stop) 50 meters.
Plemmirio "Via dei Diamanti" Access 25 & 26 SR-12km.
Rough sea with sustained wind from south, southeast.
Handles present at Varco 25 for access to the natural pool, accessible via a rather steep descent of about 50 meters.
In the "Via dei Diamanti street" the two Accesses 25 & 26 offer a rocky shoreline on which to lie down as long as you have a sponge towel : graceful the natural pool of the Varco 25 suitable for those who have children, 100 meters down, the Access 26 offers a deep blue backdrop opposite to the white of the rocks, from which the name Costa Bianca (white coast) derives , which are in the depths. Around midday the sun's rays create plays of light under the surface of the sea creating a gorgeous scenario.
DON'T FORGET SNORKLING MASK.
🚍 Bus AST No.23. Bus stop: Plemmirio Via dei Diamanti (Ask the driver to stop) 300 meters.
Varco 27 Cala Zaffiro access SR-12km
4,3 334 Google reviews
Quite relaxing lido normally frequented by adults 30-50, risto-bar and aperitifs at sunset.
Rough seas with sustained wind from south, southeast, the descent to the sea is protected by a tongue of rocks that allows access in the water even in rough sea conditions.
Description of the owner: Unique and unforgettable backdrops, the excitement of discovery in a marine protected area, well-being. A cove sheltered by the force of the sea. A simple and refined environment where to enjoy the Sicilian sun. All this is Cala Zaffiro.
🕐 9-20 ☞ Updated
Info & Booking +39 328 159 0707
€ 30/35 2 sunbeds + umbrella in July & August. June € 20.
🚍 Bus AST No.23. Bus stop :Plemmirio Cala Zaffiro (Ask the driver to stop 300 meters.)
Varco 28 Geronimio access SR-12km
Youthful environment, diving, climbing, snorkeling, hidden cave.
Dangerous sea with sustained wind from south, southeast. If the sea is rough avoid bathing because it is difficult to climb because of the waves.
Varco 28 is located about 100 meters ahead of Varco 27; it is locally called Geronimo because of the exclamation used while jumping from the quite high rocks; it offers a beautiful cove with clear and immediately deep water , there are no services, high walls to do diving or climbing hands-free and a hidden cave visible swimming about 50 meters on the right (looking at the sea). It is not suitable for young children. It is the closest gate to zone A of the reserve.
🚍 Bus AST N°23. Bus stop : Plemmirio Varco 28 (Ask the driver to stop 400 meters.)
Varco-32 Punta Tavernara SR-12km
5 6 Google reviews
Open sea accesses, not crowded because you have to walk to reach them and access in the water is inconvenient. Recommended for good swimmers, beware sea currents. Good for snorkeling.
Impracticable sea with sustained wind from the east, south-east, northeast. Avoid bathing with rough sea , it is difficult to climb due to the waves and sea currents lead offshore.
Accesses 32 & 33 can be reached on foot from the Lighthouse of Murro di Porco (2.5 km), from Pillirina (Punta Mola) (4.5 km) , from Via di Capo Passero (1 km)
🚍 Bus AST No.23. Bus stop :Plemmirio Varco 32/33 (Ask the driver to stop near Via Capo Passero street 500 meters. access trail at the end of the paved road, then 1.5 km to reach the sea spots)
Coastal rave of particular beauty, ok for snorkeling with clear water, partial shade after 2 pm. DANGER : Areas close to the walls are disrupted due to possible landslides.
The innermost cove is sheltered by rocks so always accessible in the summer; the seabed is more transparent with winds from west and southwest. Rough seas with sustained wind from north, northeast.
The area called "Pillirina" is a natural oasis with small beaches, rocky coves and seabed rich in flora and marine fauna.
🚍 Bus AST N° 23. Bus stop Via Isola (800 meters ask the driver to stop near the beach)
As one dives into the water it is easy to find coral reefs full of shellfish which are an indication of an excellent quality of the waters.
In the sea around the Murro di Porco Promontary there are large pelagic fish, the most common being: tuna, kingfish, jackfish and also sea mammals like dolphins and sometimes various types of whales.
A group of killer whales were very recently spotted, on the 22nd of May 2020, near the lighthouse.
Rocks are not as comfortable as sand but once you dive into the deep blue sea of Plemmirio it is a spectacular experience.
Diving and snorkeling spots
Photo: © www.plemmirio.eu
There are “ ten points of access” to deep sea diving at Plemmirio, all thrilling experiences for an expert diver.
The “A” zone, which is the most protected and subjected to restrictions, can be accessed by expert divers to visit the Formaggio Grottoes, the Cape Grotto, the Secca del Capo Grotto, the Three Anchor’s Grotto and the Giant’s Tongue Grotto.
From the “B” zone one can have access to visit the Grottoes of The Archi, the Meli Cape Ridge, the Stalactites, the Corvine and the more recent Geronimo Grotto .
Each name evoques an unforgettable scenery of the sea, a new perspective of the sea world, attractions created by man and then modelled by nature, like the Mermaid which is an imposing bronze sculpture in memory of Rossana Maiorca, or Our Lady in plaster, built to protect the sea.
One can dive into shoals of barracudas, seabreams, dogfish and kingfish, placid groupers of all types and sizes, shoals of meagres and for the big time lovers, very colourful nudibranchi and madrepore. ( Source: Web portal of Protected Marine Area of Plemmirio, www.plemmirio.eu ).
Photo: © www.plemmirio.eu
the excavations which were carried out by the Bristol University in the ‘80s, under Parker’s direction,
the explorations of Kapitan in the sixties and the more systematic ones which involved the “ Aquarius “ Cooperative, directed by Doctor Freschi, from 1986 to 1989.
Among the most interesting discoveries were the remains of the so-called Plemmyrion [A1] situated near the Giant’s Point.⤏
the discovery of a group of bronze sculptures now kept at the Syracusan Museum, the remains of a shipwreck called Plemmyrion which contained many pieces of amphorae, mostly probably belonging to the African IIA and African I types , including one Mauritanian amphora dated between 180 and 250 A.D.
and also fragments of Byzantine amphorae which appear to come from different shipwrecks found on this sight and of which the various relics have got mixed up.
And again the relics of another shipwreck, identified as Plemmyrion C, belonging to the Greek period, in which were found ceramic fragments belonging to the Corynthian A and B types dated between the end of the 6th and the beginning of the 5th century A.D.
Thanks to the works of the M.A.P., all the sights concerned with archeological discoveries have been revised and the relics identified and geographically recorded, and inserted within the territorial informative system of the Protected Marine Area of Plemmirio.
 G. Kapitan, Neue archaologische Unterwasserforschunqen vor den Kusten Ostsiziliens, in Delphin 1963, 2, p. 1688; 3, p. 1711.
 D. J. Gibbins – A. J. Parker, The roman wreck of c. AD 200 at Plemmirio, near Siracusa ( Sicily ) : interim report, in International Journal of Nautical Archeology, 15.4 1986, pp. 267- 304. ( Source:www.plemmirio.eu ).
The Odissey’s Mermaids
Photo: © www.plemmirio.eu
In the 12th book, between the verses 39-46, Homer describes the song of the Mermaid’s living on an island full of putrefacting bodies:You shall come before us, the Mermaids, who enchant all men who are drawn to our sound.
He, who unaware, approaches us, the Mermaids, feeling at home, and listening to our voice, shall never see his wife or children again.
We, the Mermaids, spread out on green meadows, enchant with the limpid sound of our voices,
All around are a bunch of bones, shrivelled and putrefacting human bodies.
Here is the passage from the Odissey, verses 184-188:
Reach out to us Odysseus, greatest glory of the Acheians, halt your vessel and listen to our voices.
No one has ever crossed us, with his dark vessel, without stopping to listen to the sound of honey in our voices and infact leaving afterwards replenished with joy and knowledge.
The statue which is on the seabed of plemmirio represents the freediving world champion Rossana Maiorca who died prematurely.
The spectacular Geyser
The starry sky illuminated by the lighthouse
The reserve’s inhabitants
|• The Sicilian lizard is 25 cm. long, it has an olive-green or brownish-green back, depending on the season.|
|• The common Kestrel is a bird of prey like the hawk, it eats sparrows and the sound of its call is a strong|
|• The Whip snake, “Scussuni” in Sicilian, is a non poisnous snake 120 – 130 cm long, rarely reaching 2 mt.|
|• The Red fox lives in couples, it mainly eats rodents, birds, reptiles and once in a while fruit and vegetables.|
|• The Weasel is a small sized animal with a long back, cylinder-shaped and short-legged; it is carnivorous and prefers hares, rabbits, mice and little birds.|
|• The hedgehog, amusing and friendly, defends himself with his 6000 quills which change colour depending on the season. It is insectiverous, a great sleeper and in winter it hibernates. -|
|•The wild rabbit eats grass, dry leaves, roots and bark.|
The vegetation along the route
The Dwarf palm , there are very few places in the Mediterranean where there is such a concentrated amount, and which is a unique aspect of the Reserve.
Wild fennel: the terminology infinocchiare derives from using the plant as an appetizer to cover the taste of a poor quality wine.
It is used a lot as a herbal medicine and in food. Fennel is an excellent digestive because It helps to burn fat; it helps digestion, is acid-resistant, has antifermentative properties, is an anti- spasmodic, an expectorant, an antiemetic and an invigorating agent.
Prickly asparagus The beneficial effects of the asparagus to the kidneys are known since ancient times. An infusion in wine is supposed to have beneficial effects for tooth ache -
Laurel is used commonly to relieve kidney colics, stomach disorders, to help digestion, and help expel gases from the gastrointestinal tract troubled by flatulence. In cooking it adds flavour to meat, venison, legumes, fish, crustaceans and big fish like salmon. -
Tree Germander in herbal medicine its leaves are used for infusions as a diuretic and a detoxifier.
The glaucous glasswort called the asparagus of the sea, it is an edible plant rich in vitamin C, iodine and Bromine; it is used as a natural sedative, detoxifier and immunostimulant.
Big Sage: a spontaneous plant considered an absolute rarity, its essential oil is used for mouth ulcers stomatites, halitosis, alopecia, angina, cronic bronchitis, infants diarrhoea, digestive problems, menopause, scarse urination, eczemas, scarse or painful mensruations, in preparation for childbirth, low pressure, wasp stings, fatigue, night or excessive sweating. It is also used as a flavouring agent in foods and as an environmental disinfectant.
The Prasium majus can also be used for cooking and is considered a plant with a high percentage of alfa tocopherol ( vitamin E ) and is a good antioxidant.
The Limonium, a herbal plant commonly known as the paper flower, if you touch the petals you will understand why, it is used for ornamentary purposes because of the vivacious colours of its purple flowers.
Shrub thyme: it is known for its antiseptic, digestive, aromatic and expectorant qualities and also as a food flavouring. It is a honey-producing plant with a strong attraction for bees. -
Thorny Burnet: a rare species, once used as a fence to keep the pigs away; It is actually believed that Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns originated from this plant. It is effective against high blood pressure and irregular heart beat. -
The Thorny broom has cardiotonic and diuretic capacities even though its green parts can cause vomit and diarrhea and its seeds are toxic. Its beneficial function on the heart is due to a substance called sparteine, which functions as a cardiotonic. -
The Restharrow: from its dried roots one can make infusions which are used for gargling and to cure inflammations of the mouth and the throat. The restharrow is also part of the composition of wheatgrass tea which is recognized by the National Galenic Formulary, and is one of the special registered medicines.
End of our visit of Syracuse.
We hope to have made this a pleasant visit for you.
Bus No.23 to reach point A: Ask the driver to stop. On the way back wait for the bus and nod as soon as you see it, beware there is no shade for waiting and the bus can delay cause row cars! The alternative is to rent a bike (not for children , busy road), it's 4 km from south exit of Syracuse .
From the starting point A the 2.5 km itinerary runs along the river to the first source, known as Pismotta.
However, the body of water is inaccessible due to thick vegetation.
From here a 1.2 km path leads to the other source called the Cyane spring, the place of the rape of the Roman Proserpine, known as Persephone in Greek mythology.
The Cyane river (Kyanòs, Κυανός in ancient Greek) is a short stream that runs from the springs of Pisma and Pismotta,at the foot of Cozzo Pantano, into the Great Harbour of Syracuse after a short journey.
It is a perennial river where water flow also in summer and papyrus grows up to 4 meters in height shading its banks.
The area was formerly a vast swamp called Syraka, unhealthy by malaria or miasmas erasing from rotting vegetation.
Here, during the siege of Syracuse by the Athenians in 414 BC, the army commanded by Nicias was affected by malaria.
The Carthaginians suffered the same fate in 395 BC when they camped near the swamp.
Taking advantage from this situation, the tyrant Dionysios left that area without any fortification, unlike the rest of the Pentapolis
B Ciane Source
- The gateway to the Underworld, where Hades carried Persephone off beneath the depths of the Earth -
The spring is inside the Nature reserve of Cyane River and the saltpans of Syracuse.
It has an elliptical shape and it is 16 meter wide, 33 meters long and 7 meters deep.
From the starting point B a path of about 1.2 km leads to the source called Pismotta.
From there you can walk back along the riverside for about 2km and half to the starting point A.
By walking along the river and the asphalt road, you arrive at the mouth of the river, 500 mt further after crossing the state road.
The source is on the left side of the mirror of water visible from the road and it can be reached by a wooden walkway .
The salt marshes were an economic resource of great interest since the 17th century; they remained in business until the 1980s and were abandoned shortly afterwards, due to the crisis in the sector.p>The area is an interesting stopover and nest site for various species of migrant birds.
Reachable by car or bike
|Great crested grebe
| The ferruginous duck
| Little egret
| Pied avocet
| Eurasian teal
The Eleusinian Mysteries
|Statue found by the river, probably the nymph Cyane. P. Orsi Museum|
|Demeter, the goddess of agriculture ,(known as the Roman Ceres), mother of Persephone; P. Orsi Museum|
|Persephone, (the equivalent Proserpina for the Romans) also referred to as Kore, maiden, the queen of the Underworld. P.Orsi Museum|
|Hades (Pluto for the Romans) the king of the Underworld: Aidone Museum|
|Anapos; the river-god, lover of the nymph Cyane.|
|Hermes (the Roman Mercury) the messenger of the Gods. He brought Persephone back to her mother: Ancient Agora Museum, Athens|
Photo: The rape of Proserpina. Gian Lorenzo Bernini Carrara marble, 1621-22 Borghese Art Gallery, Rome
Saturdays only from 8.30am to 1.30pm.
The Roman Gymnasium
Entering the site, you find yourself in a courtyard surrounded by a four-sided portico, but unfortunately, only the north section still remains.
The porticoes were constructed 1.80 m above the ground and each of them measured more than 50 m.
A staircase led to the entrance.
Accessing from the west side you will arrive near the cavea of a small theater with a diameter of 18.90 m, originally covered with marble slabs.
The orchestra section is often flooded, due to a water table below.
The modest size scene is positioned behind an Italic-style temple preceded by an altar, surrounded by Corinthian columns.⤏
Togate Roman Statues, c/o P.Orsi Museum
The original structure of this monumental complex offered the visitor an amazing view: going up from the walkway path, one could have seen the temple located in the central area with a very rich sculptural apparatus.
The portico was enriched and decorated with many sculptures, as reported by rediscovered ancient sources. Along the east side it is still possible to see the bases of three statues while others are exhibited at the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum.
The so-called "gymnasium" dates back to the Hellenistic and the Roman periods (end of the 2nd century BC / early 1st century BC - second half of the 1st century AD).
The existence of sculptures is ascertained by the famous tradition of placing Roman magistrates statues in temples dedicated to the god Serapis.
Because of the architectural elements which compose it – the temple on podium, the elevated portico,the theater – it is also possible to think the building complex was originally a temple dedicated to oriental divinities.
Today , despite the area is industrialized, 216 species of birds have been recorded.
In 2008 the reserve won the national award "Most Beautiful Oasis of Italy" of the birdwatching association EBN Italy.
There is a beautiful beach equipped with shores and the nearby peninsula of Manghisi (500 meters) is an ancient prehistoric settlement of the Thapsos civilization.
The Reserve, an oasis among industries.
A civilization called Thapsos
(Photo: Salvo Cannizzaro).
The reserve is a resting area, nesting and wintering for a large number of bird species:
more than half of the species in Sicily and about 40% of those found in Italy have been observed.
The birds varies depending on the seasons:
In the summer-autumn period, the reserve is the resting place of numerous migratory species with populations of a few thousand specimens,
while in winter the reserve is the wintering site of several other species.
it is a shy bird that walks through the aquatic vegetation giving tail strokes at every step it takes.
The sultan swims well and often climbs trees, looking for food or to pass the night.
|Great crested grebe
| The ferruginous duck
| Little egret
| Pied avocet
| Eurasian teal
and the eponymous center for the so-called Thapsos Culture that in Sicily is identified as the middle Bronze Age. (14th century BC)
The site was ideal as a landing place from the sea due to the presence of two gulfs to the north and south of the isthm, immediately becoming an important trading center of the Mediterranean and with exchanges with polis such as Micene.
Thapsos is particularly well known for the finds of finds of Aegean origin (micenea and Cypriot in particular) that demonstrate commercial relations between the Aegean and Sicily.
Findings of the culture of Borg in-Nadur also testify the relations with the Maltese archipelago.
The exhibits from the Thapsos excavations are on display at the "P. Orsi" Museum in Syracuse.
Also at Thapsos, the Athenian army camped out before besieging Syracuse during the Peloponnesian War (415-413 BC) and fortifying the landing.
The bodies were buried with their funeral kit, the graves excavated a few meters from the coast and facing the sea, near the lighthouse of Magnisi,
they have a channel for the outflow of water that inevitably, during the strong storm surges, ended up lapping or covering the burial plate (in stone or wood) at the closure of the same tomb.
This is probably the most important feature of the coastal necropolis of thapsos. The channels are still visible.
In the central area of the peninsula was found a necropolis with burials called "enchytrismòs" where the inhumts were placed without kit in corded ovoid vessels (pithoi) and placed in natural concaviousness of the rock.
Excavations have identified the foundations of buildings belonging to two different phases.
The oldest of the 14th-13th century. B.C. with large circular huts built on the base by dry stone walls and then supported by roofs and walls of wood, straw and clay.
In the next phase the buildings became rectangular often collected from wings around cobbled courtyards.
The village was defended by a fortification with semi-circular towers with a diameter of 5 m arranged at regular intervals.
The design of Thapsos
From the necropolis and from the hut comes the typical gray ceramic with shapes such as cups on high foot, faired tub cups and basins with triangular plate.
Engraved geometric patterns decorate the surfaces, in some cases enlivened by the insertion of representations of birds and fish, by the accurate naturalistic yield.
Biansato globular vase decorated with engravings with bird figure. Facies by Thapsos XV-XIII century BC
The grandiose careted basin elevated on very high tubular foot and provided with a large loop with a plate
Thapsos culture's ceramics
Sketches of the finds of the archaeologist Luigi Bernabò Brera , Edition: Sicily before the Greeks, 1960.
Magnisi Hammer Tower
The tower is part of the "Hammer Towers" type, inspired by circular fortresses, part of the great Genoa defensive system at Cape of the Mortelles in Corsica.
The British were impressed by the effectiveness of the towers against their most modern warships and copied the design. The name of the tower, due to a spelling error, changed from "Mortella" to "Hammer".
Since the 15th century such towers have been built at strategic points on the coast of Corsica to protect coastal villages and maritime traffic from North African pirates.
They were composed of one or two floors and had a diameter of about twelve to fifteen meters, with a single entrance located five meters from the ground reachable via a removable staircase.
The outpost was tasked with signaling the approach of unknown ships by lighting a fire on the top of the tower.
According to the ancient historians, the Latomìe were used as prison. . After the victory of Syracuse over the Athenian troops, the captured soldiers were locked up and left to die inside the quarries.
Here is the description of Tucidides:
"In the stone quarries the treatment imposed in the early days by the Syracusans was very harsh:
the crowd , crammed among the walls of that cramped quarry in the open air , in the beginning suffered the lash of the burning sun and the hot flashes that took the breath away.
Then on the contrary happened the cold autumn nights which with their passage of climate caused new exhaustion and more serious ailments.
For narrowness of space they were obliged to meet their needs in that same quarry bottom,
Moreover the piles of corpses growing up there thrown in bulk on each other, those who bled out of the sores, those crushed by the swings of the season, those killed by other such causes, spread an intolerable stench.
And they were plagued by the torment of hunger and thirst
(since in the first eight months the Syracusans threw them a bowl of water and two of wheat as a daily ration each).
To conclude, no respite was granted to them from any of the sufferings to which people buried in such a chasm go.
For about seventy days they were in that frightful crush.
Then, excluding the Athenian and the Siceliote troops who had direct responsibility for the expedition,all the others ended up on the slave market.
The Rope-makers cave
It is still covered and, thanks to its depth and the presence of water , was a perfect place for the art of rope making.
The vault is still supported by pillars shaped by the stone cutters and huge well-squared blocks can be seen hanging from the ceiling like enormous stalactites
The Ear of Dionysius
He was hosted by his friend Mario Minniti, a Syracusan painter who had worked with him in Rome. Minniti obtained the contract for The Burial of Saint Lucia for Caravaggio and also introduced him to an excellent guide for a private tour of the archaeological sites of Siracusa :
Vincenzo Mirabella, a well-known archaeologist of the time.
Mirabella led the artist to the historical places of Syracuse, including the Latomia del Paradiso,
When Caravaggio, a connoisseur of human anatomy, found himself in front of this cavern, its unusual and sinuous shape combined with its acoustic properties, brought the image of the human ear canal to his mind.
Caravaggio heard from Mirabella about the use of the quarries as prisons and the legend about the tyrant Dionysius of Syracuse who reigned between the 5th and 4th C. B.C.
The archaeologist Mirabella recounted the stories told by Cicero concerning Dionysius’ paranoia.
The tyrant was so bad, cruel and bloodthirsty that he did not trust anyone.
For example, his slaves had to taste his meals before he ate so as to avoid being poisoned and he trained his daughters to shave his beard for fear of having his throat cut by a barber ⤏
He imagined that the tyrant ordered his slaves to carve out the cave in such a way that it could be used as a spy system for its excellent acoustic.
According to this legend, Dionysius stood over the cave to eavesdrop on his prisoners’ plots against him , from a small hole that still exists, just above it .
Thus, we owe to Caravaggio the fame/celebrity of the grotto which is well-known all over the world today.
This story aside, a trapezoidal opening can be noticed when looking at the top right of the entrance to the Ear of Dionysius. It is the evidence of a pre-existing water drainage canal from the theatre, chiseled by the Greeks.
As water passed through this canal for a long time, a particularly soft vein of rock formed on this side of the quarry.
The Sicilians disconnected the aqueduct, preferring to exploit the vein of rock: they started the extraction of limestone from the base of the old canal ,proceeding from the top down and in depth.
They chiseled the sinuous shape of the cave day by day and its resemblance to a human ear and its acoustic properties came out by sheer chance.
When you enter the Ear, if you look up you will notice the S-shape line which is the roof of the pre-existing water drainage canal .
The cave is 23-30m high, and 67m long and the chisels’ marks in the walls are clearly visible.
If you stop against the right side of the wall almost at the end, and look up, it is possible to see the little hole through which Dionysius was said to have overheard his prisoners’ plots.
It is, in fact, one of the wells of the water system.
Although this empire was technically a constitutional republic, in fact it was the first Greek empire which was in effect a monarchy; in this, Dionysius foreshadowed the accomplishments of Alexander the Great and beyond him of Augustus.
He also foreshadowed these later rulers in being one of the first Greek rulers to be given divine honors during his lifetime, and he made innovations in military technique, such as siege engines, which became a standard feature of warfare under Alexander the Great and later generals.
The Sword of Damocles
Sword of Damocles by Richard Westall ,1812
According to the story, Damocles was pandering to Dionysius, his king, and exclaimed to him that Dionysius was truly fortunate as a great man of power and authority, surrounded by magnificence.
In response, Dionysius offered to switch places with Damocles for one day so that Damocles could taste that very fortune firsthand.
Damocles quickly and eagerly accepted the king's proposal.
Damocles sat down in the king's throne surrounded by every luxury, but Dionysius, who had made many enemies during his reign, arranged that a huge sword should hang above the throne, held at the pommel only by a single hair of a horse's tail to evoke the sense of what it is like to be king:
Though having much fortune, always having to watch in fear and anxiety against dangers that might try to overtake him.
Damocles finally begged the king that he be allowed to depart because he no longer wanted to be so fortunate, realizing that with great fortune and power comes also great danger. Source: wikipedia.org
Damon and Pythias
In the 4th century B.C., Damon and Pythias, two dear friends and followers of the philosopher Pythagoras, travel to Syracuse;
here, Pythias disputes the tyrannical rule of Dionysius the Younger, and is then sentenced to death.
Accepting his sentence, Pythias asked to be allowed to return home one last time to settle his affairs and bid his family farewell.
Not wanting to be taken for a fool, the king refused, believing that, once released, Pythias would flee and never return. Damon offered himself as a hostage in Pythias' absence, and when the king insisted that, should Pythias not return by an appointed time, Damon would be executed in his stead, Damon agreed and Pythias was released.
Dionysius was convinced that Pythias would never return, and as the day Pythias promised to return came and went, he called for Damon's execution—but just as the executioner was about to kill Damon, Pythias returned.
Apologizing to his friend for the delay, Pythias explained that on the passage back to Syracuse pirates had captured his ship and thrown him overboard, but that he swam to shore and made his way back to Syracuse as quickly as possible, arriving just in time to save his friend.
So astonished by and pleased with their friendship, Dionysius pardoned both men. It was also said that the tyrant then sought to become their third friend.
The black broth was the most representative dish of the Spartan cuisine.
As the Syracusan tyrant knew how proud his Peloponnesian allies were about their culinary specialty, one day Dionysius wanted to taste it.
So he called a Spartan chef at his court to have it prepared.
As soon as he brought a spoonful to his mouth, Dionysius pushed it away and showed his disappointment to the Spartan cook behind the stove;
the latter candidly replied that he could not fully appreciate that dish without bathing in the Eurota river first, hunting and suffering from thirst and hunger as all Spartans often do with enthusiasm .
The Syracusan cuisine was too elaborate and comfortable, as Plato defined it, to enjoy the simple and poor dishes of the heroic Greek tradition .
Plato and Dionysius
Dionysius is also remembered for his famous attempt to sell Plato as a slave after meeting him several times .
Survived to this misadventure with the help of Archythas, a friend with both of them, Plato returned to Athens. He received a letter from Dionysius where he asked him not to speak badly about him.
Diogenes Laertius refers about the dialogue occurred between them :
“ About tyrannies, Plato claimed that the right of the strongest was valid only if he had also excelled in virtues .
The tyrant was offended and angrily exclaimed : “ Your words are worthy of an old person” . Plato replied: “but yours are words of a tyrant“
Dionysius once said to Plato he would have cut off his head, Xenocrates, who was present, replied: “No one will slit Plato’s throat before they cut mine”
The bees and the horse
Cicero tells that when Dionysius was not yet in command, one day he had an accident on horseback ;
He could not emerge from the mud in which they both had ended up so after various efforts, he abandoned the animal.
On his way he heard a whimper and turning around he saw his horse coming vigorous and surrounded by a swarm of bees on its mane.
Bees represented his fortune. Infact shortly after his reign began.
Claudio Eliano adds that when he mounted his horse, the bees crowned over his hand: a sign they interpreted as an imminent rise to power.
He would soon become an absolute monarch.
How to get there: Get out of the archaeological park from the highest part of the area, cross the road and travel via Augustus (in front of ArcheoPark's exit) to the next intersection.
Cross the intersection and turn left, the Bus n°25's stop is just a few meters away, next to the Mercury hotel.
On Sundays bus n° 25 is replaced by bus n°11.
Bus: SR d'amare Bus - Open Tour bus stop: Greek Theatre.
Théatre de Syracuse, end sec. 18th
The Greek Theater started to spark interest since the 16th century, when it was used for the creation of several water mills, built under the Spanish domination.
In the 18th and 19th centuries it was the subject for the paintings of many foreigner travelers.
The first excavation essays were carried out in the mid-18th century and continued into the following century. The first excavation tests were carried out in the mid-eighteenth century until the following century.
The Greek Theater of Syracuse is one of the largest in the world.
The most striking thing is the technique used to build it: the cavea still visible today, was chiseled in the midst of the soft Miocene limestone along an ancient south-facing shore.
The construction, based on the project of the architect Damòkopos, was carried out by highly specialized workers by using hammer and chisel, creating that particular and intimate combination between natural and monumental elements, typical of Greek architecture.
The existence of a theater in Syracuse is already attested by the end of the 5th century BC by the mime author Sophron, who mentions the name of the architect Damòkopos, called "Myrilla" because he used to rub ointments, such as myrrh, at the inauguration of monuments as a good luck ritual.
The Theatre's structure
When the theater was built, it could host up to 15,000 spectators.
The cavea consists of 9 sectors with 8 vertical ladders and a diàzoma, a pathway that divides it into two parts. The shape is specially designed to preserve acoustics, perfect in all Greek theaters.
At the opposite side, to the west, we can read the names of Hieron, Queen Philistis (wife of Hieron), Queen Nereid (daughter of Pyrrhus and daughter-in-law of Hieron). Thanks to the mentioned names it is possible to date the inscriptions between 238 and 215 BC.
Inscriptions were probably made to facilitate the access of the spectators and to indicate the actual Hellenistic phase of the theater .
Recent archaeological investigations have shown it was probably built at the end of the 5th century BC. -
In the stage we can only see the foundations of the scenic building standing on the two pillars on the left and right side.
On the sides there are two access corridors for the actors, dug in the open air.
The actors stood in front of the scene building while the chorus had reserved space: the orchestra (coming from the Greek verb orkeomai, meaning “to dance”) where the choreutans danced, sang and played musical instruments.
|The Caryatids (decorative columns) supported the weight of the logheion, the raised stage of the Greek Theater of Syracuse. (P. Orsi Museum) .|
For this reason, two L-shaped galleries were opened under the first two sectors of the theater.
The Romans modified the structure making it more suitable for their comedies.
They must have also placed a tank on the orchestra, using for water games with crocodiles and amphibian animals.
The theater is a precious monument of extraordinary archaeological, artistic and cultural value and it has been used since 1914.
After two thousand five hundred years, the magic of classical perfomances is still alive, thanks to the National Institute of Ancient Drama (I.N.D.A).
Every year from May to June you can come to the Greek Theatre in Syracuse and witness tragedies and comedies of universal significance, for which theater companies of declared fame are engaged.
The Nympheus cave
At the entrance of the cave, there were statues dedicated to the Muses, three of which (dated to the 2nd century BC) are exhibited at the Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum.
Next to the entrance wall there are votive niches (Pìnakes) used in the practice of Hero Cults.
The Syracusan Nymphaeum is thought to have been the ancient seat of the Mouseion (the sanctuary of the muses), the seat of the guild of artists, where the Syracusan actors used to gather before going down to the theater to perform their comedies or tragedies at the time of Epicarmos and Aeschylus .
Women washing clothes, By Jean Hoüel , Grand Tour XVII Century.
The road of sepulchres
By walking through the road, is possible to see the high rocky walls surrounding it on both sides and the votive shrines that have been dug out along the way, dedicated to the "Heroes",or rather "Deceased".
Those who had distinguished themselves in life, deserved to be "heroized", honored and revered as mortal heroes used to be venerated.
It was a real open-air art gallery.
At the end of the Via dei Sepolcri there is an hollow considered of great value: it represents the cult of the Dioscuri (Zeu's sons) on horseback and Triptolemus (King of Eleusis) on the chariot pulled by snakes.
In the Via dei Sepolcri we can also see hypogea dating from the Byzantine period : that reveals what the site was used for even after the Siceliot era.
The deep grooves left by the wagons while going to the water mills built in the Spanish period, show how much this road must have been popular in different periods over the centuries.
Dionysus and the origin of theatre
The Youth Of Bacchus, By William-adolphe Bouguereau.
The origin of the Greek theatre should be rooted in the rituals to honor Dionysus, in which dance and music played an essential role.
According to Aristotle, the tragedy originated from "dithyramb", a choral song in honor of Dionysus performed under the inspiration of wine, which was sung by a group of dancing satyrs led by a corypheus (head of the choir), to worship the god.
In the orgiastic cult of Dionysus, the God was worshipped through compulsive dithyrambic dances, in order to reach an ecstatic state, overcoming the individual self to connect to the true self, where vital impulse originates.
The dithyramb was a choral poetic composition, where poetry, music and dance were mixed together.
The orgiastic dances were performed in a circle by dancers crowned with garlands, through rythmic and ecstatic movements.
The coryphaeus represented Dionysus himself, while the chorutians (choristers) accompanied him with lamentations and jubilant songs.
According to the tradition the figure of the actor singing in the dithyramb (originated in the 7th century BC in Corinth area) created a more intense atmosphere.
The theatrical representation, as we know it today, must have been originated from it.
Fresco from the House of Masks - Solunto Sicily- I Cent. BC.
The mask had a "magical" function: it transformed the one who wore it into another being.
The masks had very strong facial features: weeping in dramas and smiling in comedies.
They served to represent the character the actor was playing, hiding therefore his individuality.
Having to play multiple roles, including female ones, the actor needed to wear the mask in order to be able to impersonate a character at best allowing, at the same time, the spectators to easily recognize the different characters.
The mask had the purpose to amplify the actor's voice functioning as a megaphone.
|The mask of Silenus : mythological figure and minor deity of the woods, connected with the Centaurs, he had a wild nature and was also called Papposileno.|
|Terracotta Comedy Mask (4th century), Agora Museum in Athens.|
|Dionysium Mask, Louvre Museum|
|Tragedy Mask from Megara, Greece|
|Mask from Megara, Sicily: The city that host the Syracusan poet Epicharmus, originator of the Athenian comedy.|
|Theatrical mask representing the first slave in the new Comedy (2nd century B.C.) , Archeological National Museum , Athens. 2nd centuryBC. , National Archaeological Museum of Athens|
|Comic Mask, Terme Museum, Rome|
|The perfect Young Man [pánchrestos neanìskos] is reddish, sporty, quite tanned, his hair have the shape of a crown and his eyebrows are raised.|
5th Century BC - Today
Every year, from May to July, I.N.D.A. selects classical plays of the most famous playwrights and tragendians:
☞ INDA interprets the most famous classical works of great playwrights and tragediographers:
SOPHOCLES ESCHYLUSE EURIPIDE
ARISTOPHANES SENECA SOPHOCLES
|MEDEA by SENECA|
Medea, in Greek mythology, an enchantress who helped Jason, leader of the Argonauts, to obtain the Golden Fleece from her father, King Aeëtes of Colchis.
She was of divine descent and had the gift of prophecy. She married Jason and used her magic powers and advice to help him.
In one version, when they fled and were pursued by Aeëtes, Jason, in conspiracy with Medea, cut her brother Apsyrtus to pieces and threw him into the sea to delay the pursuit.
The Medea of Euripides takes up the story at a later stage, after Jason and Medea had fled Colchis with the fleece and had been driven out of Iolcos because of the vengeance taken by Medea on King Pelias of Iolcos (who had sent Jason to fetch the fleece).
The play is set during the time that the pair lived in Corinth, when Jason deserted Medea for the daughter of King Creon of Corinth; in revenge, Medea murdered Creon, his daughter, and her own two sons by Jason and took refuge with King Aegeus of Athens, having escaped from Corinth in a cart drawn by dragons sent by her grandfather Helios.
|OEDIPUS REX by SOPHOCLES|
(Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica)
|THE ORESTEIA by AESCHYLUS|
Populus duas tantum res anxius opt
panem et circenses.
There was a Latin saying in Ancient Rome:“ the people have only two wishes: bread and circus games”.
The quotation belongs to the latin poet Decimo Giunio Giovenale, Ist. century. A.D.
|Octavian Augustus- P.Orsi Museum- The emperor to whom is attributed the amphitheatre.|
The widely used technique of limestone chiselling, the wall covering in opus reticulatum (little pyramid shaped blocks wedged in with the point facing downwards which form a criss-cross shape) used on certain walls, the wedging technique used for covering the vaulted ceilings made of opus coementicium (concrete which is a mixture of stones brick and mortar) confirms this historical transition.
Description of the amphitheatre built into the rock- F.Corni.
The amphitheatre has an external diameter of 141 mt. and an internal one of 118,50 mt. ; the ring is 69,30 mt. x 39,20 mt. The amphitheatre was probably 30 mt. high and it could seat 15,000 spectators.
The word amphitheatre (from the greek word amphithéatron) can be interpreted as the spectator’s space (théatron) that runs around (amphi) the sand ring, which is the space for the gladiatorial games, thus called because it was covered by sand (arena).
The Romans used both the word amphithéatrum and spectacula.
Siracusa’s amphitheatre which was one of the biggest of the Empire, reveals the popularity of the gladiatorial ludi (games) and the venationes (the hunts) with the Romans.
Detail of the Great Hunt, the Roman Villa Casale, 4th c. A.D.
Siracusa’s amphitheatre has a similar design to those in Cagliari, Sutri (Viterbo) and Sabratha (Lybia) created by the chiselling of the rocky banks with the finishing works made up of built up parts, mostly in a quadrangular shape which makes them differ from the Roman Colosseum which was entirely artificially built
The non original seat blocks of the amphitheatre were also used in the later period, from the time of Charles V, to enclose Ortigia’s city walls.
The eastern section of the seat blocks of the amphitheatre down to the lowest middle section has all been chiselled in the rock, whereas the western section has been partially chiselled and partially built on an embankment..
The spectator’s entrance into the amphitheatre was well organized.
It is well known how the seating section was by law divided between social levels: the higher the stands were the lower was the social level of the occupants.
The approach to the Podium, the Ima Cavea, the Media Cavea and the Summa Cavea, to which was attached the Loggia which finished off the upper circle of the amphitheatre, was through the complex system of steps which served as an entrance (vomitoria) and the disengagement of corridors in the open air (diazoma) or under a vaulted ceiling.
Mosaics, Young women in bikinis, Roman Villa Tellaro, 4th C. A.D.
The Podium ( the VIP’s section) which was a sort of verandah with a privileged view of the Arena, looks onto the crypta (a sort of gallery through which the beasts and the gladiators walked in different stages) and is reserved for the authorities, the senators, the high-ranking citizens who had their names inscribed in the marble balustrades, some of which can still be seen like the Statili, the Pilati, the Cestiani, the Sabini, the Alli, the Alfiani, the Rosciani etc. etc… (inscriptions dated between the end of the second century. A.D and the beginning of the third century A.D).
If one had to separate all the built up parts from the original ones of the amphitheatre it would not be possible to recreate the richness of the decorations which obviously must have been present.
This entertainment zone was equipped with a velarium, which was a sort of roof covering made up of light fabrics or animal skins placed high above.
The lower level was comprised of the central pit and the manouvering chamber from which the wild animals jumped out.
The pit was covered with mobile floorboards.
The pit was covered with mobile floorboards. It also served as a service-sink to clean the sand covering after the bloody games as it was connected to the cistern below St. Nicolò church, on the north of the amphitheatre. The water flowed into the dirty water conduit connected to the pit.
The name derives from gladio, a short sword used often in combats.
This practice of gladiator duelling comes from Etruria and like many other aspects of Etruscan culture, it was adopted by the Romans.
The belief that, at the end of the duel, the loser was generally killed by choice of the crowd is to be refuted.
It is likely that the spectators were able to express their desire whether the victim should live or die although it was extremely rare that a professional gladiator was killed, because these athletes were very expensive to train and to keep.
Only he who behaved as a coward was “condemned to death” by the public, which anyway happened very rarely: these career fighters were expert showmen and the public did not want to see them die, so that they could see them again in the future.
The organiser, emperor included, had to pay a big sum for every gladiator that was killed. They were therefore not inclined to call for his death.
Anyway, if the gladiator was injured, the organiser could at any time interrupt the fight. ⤏
The retiarius Crescente for instance was looked upon as the “lord and keeper of female night-wanderer’s” (dominus et medicus puparum nocturnarum);
the Thracian Celado was referred to as “the heart-throb and beloved one to all the girls” (suspirium et decus puellarum).
Martial actually referred to the gladiator Ermes as “the torment and spasm of the female spectators” (cura laborque ludiarum).
As the unverified tradition goes, the blood of the gladiator was sought upon as an effective aphrodisiac, the Retiarius collected the blood of the injured or killed gladiators from the sand of the Arena with a sponge in order to sell it.
Parade-ground gladiatorial helmet of the thracian type in bronze, from the ludus gladiatorius of Pompei (1st century A.D).
The battle between Mirmillone and Trace, fresco from Pompei.
1) The Ludi, “games”, spectacles sponsored by the State.
2) The Munera gladiatoria, spectacles promotered and paid for by the élite to the public for special occasions, like fights to the death between slaves during the funeral of some relative or to increase their own popularity for political reasons.
3) The Venationes
If the Munera were acclaimed with a lot of enthusiasm, no less were the Venationes, a cruel and stupid spectacle, where the venatores ( the hunters) fought against the wild beasts.
For the venationes hunters were usually men condemned to death, prisoners of war, or slaves.
They wore a short tunic with sleeves with bands around their legs. As weapons They had wide- pointed spears and a leather wip and were often accompanied by a pack of dogs.
The wild and exotic animals were brought to Rome from the faraway borders of the Roman Empire and the venationes took place during the morning, before the main afternoon event which were the gladiator’s duels.
Among the animals in the venationes were lions, tigers, leopards, elephants, bears, rhinoceroses, stags, wild goats and camels. ⤏
Not long before the opening of the morning spectacles, every person who was responsable took his place in his own cell which corresponded to a lifting cage, where a beast had been let inside, and all together at the same time they let the counterweights drop, all the gates lifted up and all the ferocious animals escaped into the ring at the same time.
The spectacular effects of these subtle machines (pegmata), developed in a workshop denominated “summum choragium”, were so impressive that they were able to gave the people the feeling of being part of a real life scene.
The actors were in general criminals condemned to death.
These spectacles, which apparently only took place in the City of Rome, were very expensive, because the ships were authentically constructed with all the details of a real ship, and moved like real ships in a battle.
Often famous historical battles were reproduced , like the one where the Greeks beat the Persians at Salamina, or the one where the inhabitants of Corfù fought the Corinthian fleet.
A fortress was built in the centre of the pool for one of the naumachia to make it more authentic and to enable the Athenianas to disembark and claim posession of the stronghold “ Syracuse”.
The condemned could be killed either with the damnatio ad gladium or the damnatio ad bestias.
In the case of the punishment ad gladium, two people condemned to death would descend into the ring one was armed and the other one unarmed and the duel ended with the likely killing of the latter.
The condemned could also be burnt at the stake, beheaded, crucified and turned into human torches.
In the punishment ad bestias the condemned were mauled by the wild animals who were made more ferocious by being fed with human meat and kept starving for many days.
The success of the morning spectacles was due to the emphasis given on the ferocity and the bloodshed.
The damnatio ad bestias was the cause of the death of many Christian martyrs between the 1st and the 2nd century A.D.
6) The Lusio
The hoplomachie were simulated war games , where the arms used by the contenders were made to not cause injuries, they preceded the real fight before and during the most important parts of the munera gladiatoria.
As the Architecture in the century of fine arts in Italy has always had noble and majestic characteristics, there is no doubt in considering the amphitheatre as one of the most extraordinary monuments that have ever been built.
The reader should image the size of the first plan of the amphitheatre adding two upper tiers of steps, by having made this he will be able to picture the beauty and the grandeur of the amphitheatre.
The gallery runs round the whole perimetre of the theatre which had passageways or vomitori which connected to the central Arena .
Around the building there were some rooms which could be accessed from the same circular gallery.
The rooms were used as shops to sell various types of objects which were used in the spectacles.
I have no doubt that regardless of all the games that took place in the amphitheatre, there must certainly have been nautical games and water battles performed like in Rome. .
(Jean Hoüel, Voyage pittoresque des isles de Sicile, de Malta et de Lipari (1782 - 1787)).
|Statue of a Roman magistrate, 2nd century A.D., Paolo Orsi Museum.|
In Verrem is the name given to a series of written speeches by Marco Tullio Cicerone, also known by the name of Verrine.
They were written in 70 A.D, during a criminal law case in Rome where the prosecutors were the people of the rich sicilian province and the accused was the propraetor of the island Gaio Licinio Verre.
Verre was accused of de pecuniis repetundis, in other words of extortion, a crime which he committed during the three years of his government between 71 and 73 A.D.
The Sicilians who came to know about Cicero as the Chief Police of Lilibèo, elected him to take charge of the case.
Cicero’s written speeches analyse in detail Verre’s dishonest behaviour in relation to various aspects,
as a magistrate in Rome (De praetura urbana), as a magistrate in Sicily (De iurisdictione siciliensi), in the collection of the tithes (De re frumentaria), in the stealing of works of art (De signis) and in applying sentences to slaves that had escaped as well as bandits, pirates and roman citizens (De suppliciis).
These speeches were never pronounced because Verre, following the suspension of the prosecution after the Actio prima, did not turn up in court at the reopening of the trial, preferring to go to Marseille where he went into voluntary exile.
However Cicero published them and these speeches together with the two preceding ones contributed to draw him into the centre of the Roman political scene at only 36 years of age, a position which he held for almost 30 years.
Archimede’s Claw (The Iron Hand)
Despite diplomatic attempts to prevent the war between the Republic of Rome and the Kingdom of Syracuse the war broke out in 214 A.D., whilst the Romans were still engaged in fighting Carthage at the peak of the Second Punic War (218-201).
Roman forces led by Marco Marcello conducted the siege of the city port, renowned for its relevant fortifications and the great walls that protected it from the land and from the sea.
Among the city defenders was the scientist and mathematician Archimedes.
The city was fiercely defended for many months against the Romans thanks to the floating siege towers which, together with grappling hooks and ladders mounted on ships, were lowered by pulleys which had been placed on the city walls.
Archimedes invented defensive devices to stand up to to Rome’s power, amongst which was an enormous hook which was hoisted by a crane – Archimedes’s Claw- which was used to lift the enemy ships from the sea before letting them fall down.
Archimedes’s burning mirror
The legend also narrates that Archimedes invented a giant mirror which was used to redirect the powerful mediterranean sunrays onto the ships’s sails, setting them alight and causing a halt in the course of the assault.
In 212 A.D. everything suddenly changed because the Romans got to know that the inhabitants of Syracuse were going to celebrate the annual festival of their goddess Artemide,
and because of this distraction a small troupe of roman soldiers were able to approach the city under cover of darkness, climb the walls, enter the city and from then on reinforcements arrived to take control of the outskirts of the city.
Syracuse capitulated 8 months later thanks to the treachery of one of the captains of the Syracusan army.
Reasons to visit it: The shrine houses the glazed plaster effigy of the Madonna who wept for 4 days in August 1953; it is located behind the main altar of the shrine.
The Shrine of the Madonna delle Lacrime (Our Lady of Tears) emerges in the skyline of the city of Syracuse: a majestic religious building standing out with its inverted conical structure, reaching a height of 71.40 meters with a steel crowning of 20 meters. 20.
It was built in memory of the miracle occurred in 1953 (29 August-1 September), when a plaster plaque depicting the Virgin Mary placed in the house of a poor family, started to weep.
The Shrine, designed by the two French architects Michel Andrault and Pierre Parat winners of an international architecture competition, stands on a circular plan with a diameter of 80 m; it encloses the crypt (10m deep) completed in 1968, and the church above completed in 1994, when the sanctuary was consecrated by Pope John Paul II.
The dome made up of 22 reinforced concrete ribs, is built in a stylized form evoking a falling tear .The interior consists of an immense open area of marble floor decorated with a star.
|A gilded bronze statue depicting the Virgin Mary built by the sculptor Francesco Cantarella, has been put on the top of the building inside a golden sunburst.|
|The internal vertical windows stretching skyward to the apex of the roof, create an astonishing effect.|
|The glazed plaster effigy of the Weeping Madonna is placed behind the main altar of the Sanctuary.|
|From 29 August to 1 September 1953 the plaster image of the Blessed Mother placed above the bed of a newlywed couple, shed human tears.|
|During the days of the Lachrymation, miracles occurred among the thousands of faithful who rushed up to the city.|
|The sanctuary was consecrated and inaugurated on November 6, 1994 by Pope John Paul II.|
The testimonial video.
Next: Area 14 Madonnina Sanctuary, Archeomuseum Orsi, the Catacombs, 1 km. (Taking via dello Stadio street and then via Gorizia street).
Weekdays 08.00-12.15 / 16.00-19.00.
Holidays 8am-12.15pm / 4.30pm-8pm
Closed Thursday morning.
€ Free entry in the church.
€ 8. Phone: 39 0931 64694 mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bus SR d'amare stop: Dionisio il Grande ( 700 mt ). Bus Open Tour stop: Cappuccini (800 mt)
600 meters, going down towards the sea, the "Sbarcadero" area offers free municipal solarium normally open from late June to September Solarium Sbarcadero . (No sunbeds , just platform)
At the Sbarcadero , the Red Moon restaurant trattoria serves fresh fish at reasonable prices.
At 900 meters, going upwards via dell'Unita street , on the Riviera Dionisio il Grande, you will find the solarium & restaurant ZEN & Jonico beautiful location and fabulous sea, 2 sunbeds + umbrella €15/20.
The monumental complex includes the Church of St. Lucy extra-moenia, the Church of the Sepulchre and, underground, the Catacombs of St. Lucy.
From the real palimpsest that is the extra-moenia Church to the octagonal Temple of the Sepulchre, it will be a journey into Aretusan architecture since the Middle Ages.
It will reveal to the visitor an underground reality of great archaeological and cultural interest. The area is in fact affected not only by the famous pre-Constantine Christian cemetery (as early as 212 BC), but also by some private law hypogea attributable to the 3rd, 4th and 5th centuries.
Particularly relevant is the presence of the Byzantine Oratory of the Forty Martyrs with the beautiful frescoes of the vault.
Protected by the Church of the Sepulchre, the loculus of the patron saint of Syracuse originally included in the catacomb will be appreciable.
M.Minniti, Martyr of St. Lucy (Galleria Bellomo)
She is revered as a saint by the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church; is one of the seven virgins mentioned in the Roman canon.
Her mortal remains are kept in the Shrine of Lucia in Venice.
Returning from the pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Agatha, a martyr from Catania in 231, Lucia, seeing the saint in her dream and her mother Eutychia miraculously healed, decided to consecrate herself to Christ and to give her patrimony to the poor.
For the next three years, she lived in the service of the sick, needy, and widows of the city.
The pretender, seeing the desired Lucy deprived of all possessions and having been rejected by the latter, wanted revenge by denouncing her as a Christian. In fact, the decrees of the persecution of Christians issued by the Emperor Diocletian were in force.
Procession of December 13th
At the trial she held in front of the prefect Pascasio, Lucia refused the order to sacrifice to the pagan gods, attesting her faith and pride in proclaiming herself Christian, citing the passages of the Scriptures.
Threatened then to be conducted in a brothel, Lucia replied: "The body is contaminated only if the soul agrees".
Pascasio then ordered that the young woman be forced by force, but, as tradition has it, it became miraculously heavy, so that neither dozens of men nor the strength of oxen succeeded in moving it.
Accused of witchcraft, Lucia was then sprinkled with oil, placed on wood and tortured with fire, but the flames did not touch her.
She was finally brought to her knees and finished with a sword by beheading, or according to Latin sources, a dagger was fixed in her throat (jugulatio), in the year 304 at the age of twenty-one.
He died only after receiving Communion and prophesied the fall of Diocletian and peace for the Church.
Devoid of any foundation and absent in the many narratives and traditions, at least until the fifteenth century, is the episode in which Lucia would have torn - or would have gouged out - her eyes.
The emblem of the eyes on the cup, or on the plate, would be to reconnect, more simply, with the popular devotion that has always invoked the protector of sight because of the etymology of its name from the Latin Lux, light.
The church of S. Lucia extra-moenia is a true architectural palimpsest that with reliable documentation goes from the Byzantine-Norman period to the present day.
The Basilica stands on the site where the saint was martyred in the year 304.
The Syracusans built, after the peace of Constantine in 313, a church dedicated to the martyr of which we received, following the destruction caused by the various earthquakes and Arab domination, probably only the ancient plan with the great central nave, flanked by two minors.
The current church can be traced back to the religious restoration of the Norman period of 1100, of which the facade, the portal with the characteristic capitals and the first two orders of the bell tower are preserved.
Successive additions and alterations have modified its appearance starting from the fourteenth century, the time to which the rose window of the facade is traced.
|Notable is the wooden ceiling with open beams adorned with valuable 15th-century paintings|
The Baroque reconstruction , by Vermexio,can be found in the doors surmounted by windows of the two side apses; work of Pompeo Picherali are the gallery outside the temple and the last order of the bell tower of the Church
Closely connected with the underlying pre-costantinian catacomb dedicated to the Syracusan virgin, Saint Lucy, is in turn, unequivocally, single body with the adjoining convent of Saint Lucy at the Sepulchre, one of the oldest in the city, a time of the P.P. Observant Franciscans and then of the Reformed.
According to the analyst G. Capodieci it was already established in 440.
Both the convent and the church will always be the object of particular interest by the various rulers, from King Roger to Frederick II of Aragon (to whom the rebuilding of the fourteenth century) to Queen Germana of Castile up to the City Senate. All worked hard to support the convent complex.
Pompeo Picherali will be entrusted with the task of reconstructing the last order of the bell tower of the Church of St. Lucy damaged by the disastrous earthquake of 1693.
The same architect is responsible for the design of the "gallery ahead of the temple gates" that developed to the south and west of the church. Picherali had already undertaken the work in 1723 and completed them in 1743.
Twelve columns with decorative function on plinth that flank the arches.
The architrave with projecting elements in correspondence of the capitals, completes the crowning.
The vaulted portico became an integral part of the basilica serving as a shelter and as a filter between the outside and the inside and, moreover, linking the religious complex to the square, a place to welcome the solemn procession of Saint Lucy on December 13th.
The porch is therefore a scenic element that is well suited to the Baroque canons.
The sepulchre, even after the removal of the body of the Saint in 1038, by the Byzantine captain Giorgio Maniace who brought it to Byzantium, has always been object of pilgrimage.
The local tradition attests the existence of a small temple to protect the tomb already in ancient times. Vermexio demolished the pre-existing church dedicated to Saint Agatha.
The octagonal Temple has the entrance 5 meters below the street with and can be reached by two flights of stairs.
The loculus is located along one of the inner sides of the polygon and in correspondence with it is the only altar of the church.
Gregorio Tedeschi will realize the sculpture of "Dying Saint Lucy" in white statuary marble currently in the transparent showcase.
The statue is famous for the "prodigious sweat" manifested by St. Lucia, in solidarity with the people of Syracuse during the siege of the city, in 1735, under the Austrian domination.
Syracuse is second only to Rome in importance and extension of the catacombs.
This underground cemetery is imposed for its complex morphology. The area is in fact affected not only by the Pre-costantinian Christian cemetery (already in 212 BC), but also by some hypogum of private law ascribable to the 3rd, 4th and 5th centuries.
Particularly important is the presence in its interior of the Byzantine Oratory (6th century) of the Forty Martyrs with the splendid frescoes of the vault, found by the archaeologist Paolo Orsi in 1916.
In the fifteenth century a large part of the hypogeum was irreparably destroyed to make room for a cistern and the frescoes covered by hydraulic mortar.
Also visible are the changes and alterations suffered by the funeral complex during the last world war with the construction of an air-raid shelter by the U.N.P.A. (National Union of Air Protection).
The Martyr of the Forty Soldiers of Sebastia.
Some sources of the fourth century refer to the Martyrdom of the Forty Soldiers of Sebastian, city of Armenia, occurred during a persecution in the time of Licinius (313-323).
The forty soldiers stationed in Mytilene (close to Sebastian), refused to obey the prefect Agricolao, who ordered them to abjure the Christian faith and are condemned to freeze to death, immersed naked in a bath of the baths of Sebastia, under the surveillance of a guardian.
They are offered the chance to save themselves by immersing themselves in a hot tub, a temptation to which one of the soldiers does not escape.
But the temperature drop will be fatal to him.
The instant death is witnessed by the guardian, who will witness a prodigious event that convinced him to convert: angels will bring crowns to thirty-nine martyrs.
Stripped off, he will join the soldiers by restoring the original number.
In the morning death had reached the whole legion except one of them still agonizing that will be left free by the executioners, but whose mother will relocate on the hearse to keep the crown of martyr.
The bodies will be incinerated and the ashes scattered in the nearby river.
Some of the miraculously unspoilt relics will be taken to various cities including Rome, Constantinople and Jerusalem.
Aezio, Euthis, Cyrion, Theophilus, Sisinnio, Smaragdo, Candide, Aggia, Gaius, Cudione, Heraclius, John, Philanium, Gorgonio, Cyril, Severiano, Theodulus, Nicallo, Flavio, Xantio, Valerio, Esichio, Eunoico, Domitian, Dono, Eliano, Leonzio said Teoctisto, Valente, Acacio, Alexander, Vicrazius known as Vibiano, Priscus, Sacerdote, Ecdicius, Athanasius, Lysimachus, Claudius, Ile, Melitone and Aglaius.
Thanks to the recent restoration, the frescoes are readable in the vault, in the south-east wall and in the apse.
In the first the space is marked by a budding cross with the figures of Christ, the Virgin and two angels in the clipeus at the ends and in the center.
Among the four arms of the cross are depicted the Forty Martyrs in groups of ten, shirtless immersed in water and on their heads crowns.
In the south-east compartment of the cross is represented the conversion of the guardian and to the left of the Virgin a character on whose identification is still debated (St. John ?).
The fresco in the wall returns the figures of two bishops at the time unidentified (St. Damiano, St. Cosma, St. Elena, St. Marciano).
An image of Christ the Pantocrator remains readable on the apse.
We are faced with one of the most important pictorial cycles of Western Christianity that draws its iconographic models from the world of the Byzantine East.
The Burial of St. Lucy by Caravaggio
Author: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Technique: Oil on Canvas
Size: 408 x 300 cm
The City Senate commissioned Caravaggio to do the work for the Church of “Santa Lucia outside the city walls”built above the Santa Lucia catacombes.
The very setting of the work, which involved the researchers in a precise identification of the sites ( the Rotonda of Adelfia in the San Giovanni Catacomb, the Cordari Grotto….) was to have a decided connection to a place related to a quarry or a cemetry.
It's an oil painting done on canvas made of hemp divided into three parts because of its considerable size ( 4.08m x 3.00m), prepared with chalk, calcium carbonate, black, red and yellow powder, as well as oil.
The work was repainted in 1821 by the painter Giuseppe Politi who over time darkened the tones of the original colors.
Whoever looks at Caravaggio’s work for the first time cannot but be fascinated by it.Each time one goes back to study the painting, one discovers new aspects and gets involved emotionally.
the moment in which the two undertakers placed in the foreground with their corpulent figures, are about to dig the grave to bury the young Lucia, of which you get a powerful visual impact.
The lighting enhances the only red colour used by the painter for the deacon’s mantle.
The latter becomes the focal point of the composition, a symbol of gloom, which draws your attention to Santa Lucia’s body, the only horizontal element in an otherwise entirely vertical composition.
Behind her lifeless body stands a crowd of humble people crying, in the centre of the picture is the deacon and on the right, apart from the figure of the sodier is the bishop doing the blessing.
The restoration of the painting in the 1970’s, emphasized the warrior’s armour and head, the position of the bishop’s mitre, with the two points in the forefront, both tufts and a double red ban at the bottom edge of the dress, the arched palisade and the vault which opens up in the background, the Saint’s hand and the tensed warrior’s arm” (M.Cordaro).
A dark background hovers over the characters in the painting.
It is well known that Caravaggio did not use preparatory drawings, and it is said that he used barber’s brushes to paint his works of art because they enabled him to paint more quickly and be more effective.
It is likely that the painter , at first embraced the Greek version (Papadopoulos Codex) of the martyrdom by beheading and at a second stage, the latin version which favoured the jugular (they stabbed her in the neck with a knife).
The scene is rendered very realistic by the powerful narrative in which every figure has an expression of suffering and shock due to the graveness of the situation. What strikes you most is the gesture of the Saint’s hand who appears to draw you into the picture, to make you participate in the grief of the people so that the message becomes universal.
The composition relegates the people on the borderline of the canvass to such an extent that the right legs of both the undertakers appear to move out of the picture.
The undertaker on the right is oversized and showing his back, a detail which in those days was considered disrespectful.
Not a big variety of colours were used; light is the main feature of the work of art. The lighting moves upwards from the bottom and from the outside with the purpose of freeing all creatures from darkness.
The gestures are so realistic that it feels like you can almost hear the sounds and the grievings of the people, the undertakers digging the earth with the shovel, the soldier’s arm and its armour, the gloved hand of the Bishop blessing, as well as the woman with her head in her hands and the other woman with her face bent downwards, the deacon’s clasping hands and finally the crying figure drying his face with a handkerchief.
And to accentuate all this, you can actually see the veins in the arms of the undertakers, feel their hair, their wrinkles, their ears all painted with intense realism.
Caravaggio’s choice is once again very precise and provocatory for us contempories, not the saints in the sky sitting on their golden thrones, but saints of the earth.
Saints dressed like commoners and surrounded by common people, among which is the distinguished figure of the Bishop.
Many of Caravaggio’s works were turned down by the Commission because they were judged to be disrespectful and provocatory.
Maybe it is true that there is a gospel according to Caravaggio, to whom the divine is revealed in the people, a gospel of deep sufferance, which becomes autobiographical.
There are few paintings in which the artist paints the background, which passes in the background with respect to the subjects, the only protagonists of his work.
For the realization of his paintings, Caravaggio in his studio placed lanterns in specific places to ensure that the models were illuminated only in part by a "oblique light".
With this artifice, Caravaggio brings out from a dark background only specific portions of the painted scene, which thus acquire an almost sculptural relief.
In the painter's work, therefore, strong contrasts of light and shadow are evident.
In Caravaggio’s painting the material-perceptive value of light merges with the theological-mystical one.
Following the conviction, the course of Caravaggio's life changed drastically: from that moment he fled from one place to another, relying only on his powerful and capricious protectors.
The escape, the terror and the anguish had such a repercussion in his psyche immediately transposed on the canvases: within a short time Caravaggio painted six beheadings , in which he depicted himself with his head cut off.
We don’t know much about the meaning that these decapitations could have for Caravaggio, we can only imagine what it means for an artist to retract his self to the mirror, dead and decapitated.
Perhaps we could hazard the hypothesis that they were the result of an obsessive and anguished thought, or a desperate attempt to exorcise death.
We only know that, from this moment on, his works become darker and sadder, just as relations with the clients become even more complex, with which Caravaggio quarrels, or which he accuses and finally abandons for fear of being betrayed.
( Ilaria Bruschi-Psychotherapist-,www.psyche.cmsantagostino.it/ )
To visit point 13 reach the main artery via Dell' Unità d'Italia street and walk it uphill to the end.
Looking at the basilica from the square, all the streets to the right lead to via Dell'Unità Street.
Leaving the main door of the basilica take via dello Stadio street to the right and continue on via Gorizia street.
The Santurio will be visible at the end of via Gorizia Street, then climb up via L. Cadorna street, the shrine has several access points.
13 Latomie and Cappuccini church
LATOMIE CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE
Engraving by Claude-Louis Chattelet ,18th-cen.
On the southern side that dominates the quarry they built their monastery. The monks turned the quarry into both a flower and vegetable garden to nourish the religious community, developing a system of irrigation with wells, tanks and also a water wheel which was used to lift the water.
It was a municipal garden until the 1970’s and provided the people with a place to spend enjoyable evenings as it was a custom to attend spectacles in the “Vegetable Garden Theatre”.
A visit to the Cappuccini’s quarry is an unusual experience where, not only can you feel the millenary history of the city, but also admire the beauty of the surrounding natural mediterranean vegetation.
The Greeks used the site as a stone quarry and possibly as a state prison for the 7000 Athenian soldiers made prisoners after their defeat by Siracusa in 413 B.C. as is narrated by Thucydides. ⤏
The presence of the early Christian people is proved by the presence of the absidal tombs carved in the rock.
With its transformation into a fenced garden, “hortus conclusus”, the gardens had an especially dramatic appearance being encompassed by 40 metre high cliffs.
The considerable elevation of the vegetation, sometimes up to 20-30 metres in hight reaching for the sun, represents the peculiarity of the vegetation which captivated the famous travellers of the Grand Tour, to whom it was an absolute must.
“Without a doubt one of the most beautiful and romantic sights I have ever seen” (Patrick Brydone, A tour through Sicily and Malta, 1773).
The particular climatic conditions of the site and the fertile soil, gave life to a multitude of plants which aroused astonishment and admiration in everyone.
Olive, walnut , laurel, citrus, loquat, palm, pittosporum, oleander, cypress, carob, ilex, myoporum, judas trees and a lonely hackberry tree which, although was cut down, has found a way to come back to life with branches sprouting from the trunk, make it into one of the most important historical gardens of Eastern Sicily.
13 Church and convent
Canon Nunzio Agnello and analyst G. Capodieci provide us with valuable information.
The Capuchin Fathers were born as a Franciscan Congregation and stood out for their shaved heads, long beards, and wore sandals, a brown tunic with a hood and a white rope belt.
They arrived in Sicily as early as 1532. Bishop Girolamo Bologna welcomed them to Syracuse in 1549 and assigned them the church of St. Mary of Mercy that no longer exists today.
The place soon proved to be unhealthy, the friars managed to obtain as a gift from the University the "latomia of the Palombino" in Acradina, now "Latomia of the Capuchins".
The convent was completed in 1582, the following year the church that took the title of St. Mary of the Dangers was completed, as it is readable above the lintel of the door.
The Royal Government for the Safety of the Fries built two drawbridges, one in front of the church door and the other at the entrance door of the convent, handing them a cannon with their respective artillery and ammunition tools that was placed on the lodge of the convent next to the choir.
In the crypt were welcomed not only the remains of the religious, but also those of noble Syracusan families such as the Gargallo who always proved generous to the Capuchins.
According to some legendary sources there would have been Jews since the 1st century A.D.
Traces of the synagogue and the Mikveh, ritual baths, attest the Jewish presence in the neighborhood.
In the years following 1493, in Syracuse, we also witnessed the immediate "damnatio memoriae" of the Jewish presence in the city.
Notaries thus take care to rename the streets linked to the life of the Jews.
Today you can visit the neighborhood by following the indicated streets that keep the ancient Jewish names.
Jewish tombstone of the 400th , Bellomo Gallery.
The traditional components, the structure of the neighborhood with a strigas plant, typically Greek, the slaughterhouse, the houses, the hospital, the synagogue and the ritual bath, suggest the cultural depth, the economic and demographic importance of this community.
At the beginning of the XX century excavations in the hypogeum have reported important findings including oil lamps, funerary steles with epitaphs, epigraphs, characterized by a typical Jewish symbolism dating from the third and fourth centuries, which constituted a natural means of diffusion of early Christianity.
A letter from Pope Gelasius tells us of a Jewish Judas in Syracuse who had bought a servant then fled on the pretext of having been Christian and circumcised by force from his master.
In Syracuse at that time the Jews were not only owners of land or tenants in the “massae” of the church, but above all craftsmen, silk weavers, dyers, tanners and slave traders, activity that they maintained throughout the Middle Ages. ⤏
Greek, Syrian and Jewish merchants are protagonists of the flourishing trade and prosperity of the city, and Syracuse was chosen by Constant as the capital of the Empire, as proof a finding of large treasures of coins and jewels dating back to the 7th century .
In this period of economic, demographic and urban development of Syracuse, there was a princeps”, a Byzantine notable who would intervene in favor of the Jews to allow the construction of the new synagogue. It is established that the previous one had been destroyed by vandals and was in the alley of the olive tree where is attested the presence in 1479 of a beam or courtyard inside which stood the Jewish hospital, a cistern with seats and a Greek inscription engraved with the word “Bimah”, the tradition table on which rests the” Torah Sefer” for synagogue readings.
The church of San Giovanni Battista, whose original layout dates back to the end of the thirteenth century for its particular internal forms, typical of Swabian architecture, is an imposing building with three naves of pointed arches, supported by slender columns carved in stone, with a beautiful medieval pointed arch portal, surmounted by a curved rose window, without roof, without floor, without doors still used for religious services, known as San Giovanello.
The discovery of two Jewish inscriptions within the current church of St. John the Baptist is a sign of its identity as a "mesquita judeorum", that is, a Jewish synagogue transformed into a church and dedicated to the saint in 1496, three years after the expulsion of the Jews; however, the attribution of synagogue to the building is the subject of controversy among scholars.
The first inscription is engraved on a limestone ashlar placed upside down on the right wall of the central apse, whose meaning would be according to the translation of Cesare Colafemmina: “to the synagogue of Syracuse founded with justice and faith”.
The upside-down position suggests that it is a stone block reused during the reconstruction of the apse after the earthquake of 1693. ⤏
The identification of the meschita with the church of St. John the Baptist suggests that the synagogue had the same plant and orientation.
The solutions adopted in the Middle Ages for the separation of the sexes in the synagogue were of two types: building a gallery on the upper floor, or create a house leaning against the synagogue that communicates with the prayer hall on the same level or below the floor level of the room so that women could watch the Torah being extracted from the Aròn.
The current refined church portal was probably the entrance to the synagogue through a main courtyard.
Remains of a cistern with embedded traces of a Greek well are still visible in the courtyard of the side entrance for the women, since to avoid entering directly from the street to the orations hall; a vestibule with a well was provided for the ablution (washing) of hands and feet.
Another characteristic that is clearly visible today is the layout of the church below the floor of the square of 7 steps, this was needed for the Jews to build a large synagogue without, however, breaking the ban on Christian authorities to exceed a certain height from the road, so that the building did not seem high.
|Jewish inscription in St. John's Church|
Under the church there are three underground levels excavated by the Greeks: on the first level is the crypt of the church with 18th-century frescoes;
at the second level the underground network, fascinating underground labyrinth that connects the sacred places of the ancient Ortigia , used as a refuge during the Second World War;
at the lowest level a Greek well fed by a freshwater spring placed at 18 meters deep, probably used as mikveh, Jewish ritual bath and/or baptistry.
A baptistery therefore of the beginnings of Christianity in the only place of Paleochristian cult where the characteristics of the site allowed the secrecy and the possibility to derive such element whose access is underground, far from the pagans' visibility.
In particular, this one inside the underground quarry of the church is an artifact used until years ago for Christian baptisms, where access to the source takes place through a beautiful snail staircase.
Finally reached Constantinian peace, Christians built on the site their first church, a typical service building that allowed access to the hypogeic chapel, important as it was equipped with the baptistry by immersion.
Subsequent works and refurbishments over the centuries, including the construction of a Byzantine church, have ended up making every trace of the ancient oratory unrecognizable.
“Only a spring and a well, that is collection of water will be pure” (Leviticus 11,36): this is the only verse of the Torah in which the miqweh is mentioned, which literally means collection of water for ritual dives.
Immersion in the ritual bath has in the Jewish culture a religious, spiritual value, according to some would be at the origin of Christian baptism because connected with the idea of conversion and the entry into a community of the faithful.
The dive is a habitual ritual for Orthodox Jews on Friday afternoon to prepare for the celebration of the Sabbath.
It must be built in the ground or to be an integral part of it, it cannot be mobile and it cannot contains transported water but only water that flows from a spring and is collected naturally without crossing pipes, which would make it contaminated;moreover the bath had to allow the privacy.
The minimum amount of water had to be 40 se'ah, that is, 87 gallons (293 l), the important thing is that a person could completely immerse himself even with his knees bent.
The whole structure of the miqweh seems to respond to symbolic motifs , as a matter of fact the repetition in the measures of the number 40 and its multiples symbolizes the process of birth and also about the process of creation ⤏
Featuring large entrances, access stairs, carved vaulted ceilings, steps to descend into the pools divided at the center to allow impure ones to descend from one side and to climb purified from the other .
Today the Jews would find in the heart of Ortigia a return to the memory of their ancestors, where after 500 years the gentle waters of their miqweh, under the present White Palace, continue to flow. Today the Jews would find in the heart of Ortigia a return to the memory of their ancestors, where the gentle waters of their miqweh continue to flow after 500 years , under Palace Bianca.
That of Ortigia belongs to an uncommon category of ritual baths in the Mediterranean countries, where from the living rock flows pure spring water, to the highest degree of purity suitable for purification.
Carved from the same rock, are the benches located on three sides of the hypogeal square room, located about 15 meters deep, whose tanks are dug at a greater depth in order to reach the flowing bed of the fresh water table.
To access it, currently, you pass a courtyard inside the building, through then 3 ramps of a large staircase excavated with barrel vaults that preserves the hollows in which the lucens were placed, where you can still see the traces of fumes deposited on the rock. To access it, currently, you pass a courtyard inside the building, then through 3 ramps of a large staircase dug with barrel vaults which conserves the cavities where the lamps were placed, where it can still be seen the traces of the fumes deposited on the rock.
A large vertical fireplace flared at the mouth, communicating with the surface, intended for aeration, lighting of the room and immersion from the top also of the dishes and cutleries, which the Jews bought from not Jews ,then to be purified.
Jewish bath under the Hotel "Alla Giudecca" in Alagona Street, Monday to Saturday/11am-5pm. Sundays and holidays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Winter 10:00/11:00/12:00 . €5 Mikveh ☞.
Visited the exterior of Palazzo Montalto (on the left) you can return to Piazza Archimede square through the alley adjacent to the Montalto palace, or continue the route through the narrow and scenic streets of Ortigia.
To get out of Ortigia return to the temple of Apollo and take the Corso Umberto street on the bridge with the same name.
Syracuse d'amare buses or Open Tour buses are available every 20 minutes, the nearest stop is indicated on the map.
The Bellomo Museum
🕐 Tuesday to Saturday 9 am - 6.30 pm. Sunday 09 - 13. Closed on Monday.
☞ Updated schedule
€8 - reduced €4 . (Cumulative with Museum P. Orsi / Archeo Park Neapolis discount of 25%)
🚍 Bus SR d'amare stop:Cala Rossa.(Beach) Bus Open Tour stop: Belvedere S.Giacomo (300 mt).
To see the church ofSt. Martin VI/XIII century A.D.in St. Martino Street,
further down for a brunch home made food.
For a refreshing bath Cala Rossa beach ↱
From the original one remain the outer facade with its severe
structure with small stone blocks and with high plinth, the ground floor with quadrangular spaces
and majestic cross vaults of which, the ribbed one of the vestibule
in room III, still shows the Swabian imperial eagle.
Enlarged and raised as early as the fourteenth century, has undergone major changes in the
next century, when the palace was acquired by the Bellomo, powerful and rich
Syracusan family of that period, which adapt it to new housing needs
following the catalan architectural taste (entrance portal, staircase, loggia, mullioned window and
In the 18th century, it was sold to the Sisters of St. Benedict's Monastery, so to be joined by the adjoining
Parisio palace built on 1355. Of this remain an ogival door and some sturdy arches
current access to the museum area. Expropriated from state porperty in 1866, the
palace was finally sold in 1901 to the Administration of Antiquities and Fine Arts
to dedicate it to be a Museum."
Exhibition rooms Ground Floor
Exhibition rooms First Floor
1 waterfront route 1 km (under the sun), stages: Free Solarium Forte Vigliena, Papyrus Museum, Solarium Nettuno, Baroque palaces of Via Maestranza
Leaving the art gallery head to the left so as to resume the promenade and continuing on the same (keep the sea on the right), pass the Livingstone hotel, reach the open space called Belvedere S. Giacomo, shown below in the picture.
Arrived at the Belvedere San Giacomo take via Maestranza street on your left and walk it about 200 meters till the intersection with Via Della Giudecca street (there is the beautiful church of the Immaculate on the opposite side). To your left the beginning of point 11, the Jewish quarter.
2 Route via Roma street 500 meters (partial shade) , stages: Municipal Theatre and Piazza Archimedes Square
Leaving the Bellomo gallery, head to the left and after a few meters take Via Roma street to your left.
Walk all the way till the end (Piazza Archimede Square) then go down through first street on your right , Via Maestranza street.
After about 200 meters you will find the intersection with Via della Giudecca Street, with on the left the beautiful baroque facade of the church of the Immaculate.
The Jewish quarter is on your right.
Exhibition rooms Ground Floor
Room I, century V to IX
"Paleochristian and Byzantine sculptures from buildings
demolition of the fort in Syracuse."
|Sarcophagus with crosses, sec. IX|
| Fragmentary portal with architrave and jambs
with limestone floral motifs, sec. VII – VIII
Room II, century X-XV
|Marble holy water font with zoomorphic and phytomorphic elements, sec. X.|
|Pulpit slab (ambone) depicting an eagle, symbol of St. John the Evangelist, sec. XI.|
|Marble slab with mosaic decorations with lions faced with in the center a palm, white marble and polychrome marble, glass paste sec. XII with clear reference to Arab workers.|
|Tile with the Agnus Dei between the Annunciation and the Announcer Angel, sec. XIII-XIV.|
|Relief with Crucifixion between Annunciation and Adoration of the Magi, sec. XIV-XV.|
Room III, century XV
"Sculptural and pictorial works mainly of Spanish influence."
|Madonna enthroned with Child and Angels musicians, called "Madonna di Montesanto", sec. XV.|
|Madonna and Child Enthroned, between the Holy Eulalia and Catherine of Alexandria, early sec. XV, attributed to Pedro Serra.|
|Fragment (from a polyptych) on gold bottom table, depicting St. Leonardo, sec. XV, attributed to Lorenzo Veneziano.|
Room IV, century XV
"Painting works of Syracusan school of unknown authors"
| Polyptych of the master of St. Mary, sec. XV, of the
same master the retable of San Lorenzo and stories of the
his life, (sec. XV) representing the most
expression of international Gothic in Sicily.
|Funerary monument of Eleonora Branciforte Aragona, attributed to Giovan Battista Mazzolo, (1525), in Carrara marble, is one of the most grandiose funeral monuments of the Sicilian sixteenth century, (Detail).|
| Luster ceramics: plates painted in metallic luster,
(sec. XV), Valencian workshops.
Courtyard of coats of arms, XVI-XVII century
"Monumental Spanish viceregal coats of arms from the royal gates of the city, demolished at the beginning of the twentieth century".
Carriage Hall, 18th century
Exhibition rooms First Floor
The age of Antonello da Messina, 15th century
The announcement of Antonello da Messina, 1474.
The scene is set in a carefully described room, with a beamed ceiling where there is an architrave decorated with cartocci and rosettes, supported by two columns that ideally separate the right half (of the Virgin) from the left (of the Angel).
On the background wall there are two windows plus a third in another room that can be seen on the right, according to an iconography derived from Flemish art that provides more light sources and spatial openings on the landscape even in the case of interiors.
Fine is the description of the objects and furnishings of the room, from the bed of the Virgin in the background, to the chair-lectern on which she is kneeling, up to the flower vase with blue decoration on a white background in the foreground, now very damaged.
Remarkable is the white lace on which the book rests, allusion to the Sacred Scriptures that come true with the act of acceptance of Mary. ⤏
The age of Antonello da Messina, 15th century
The announcement of Antonello da Messina, 1474.
Mary is represented on her knees as she receives the announcement with her arms crossed on the chest, while the dove of the Holy Spirit, sent by God through the open window, joins her. She is dressed in a typical blue coat, which covers a red robe.
The angel, who bears the traditional lily in his hand, but who is curiously hidden by the column, blesses the Virgin. His robe is a rich decorated damask, which accentuates the almost geometric volume of his body, following a typical Italian style. The face, framed by long blond hair, is adorned with a blue cuspid diadem, where some pearls and a ruby are shining, typical Flemish "luster" notations.
At the bottom you can also see the figure of a devotee, the priest quoted in the notary document.
The perspective and light structure refers to the works of Piero della Francesca, but the lenticular effects and the technique derive from Flemish art, in particular from the lesson of Jan van Eyck and others, that Antonello had the opportunity to know during his formation in Naples and thanks to the naval traffics of the port of Messina.
Recently, Carmelo Micalizzi, a scholar from Messina, thought to identify in the painting details, hidden by the painter, including: a christogram in the book on the desk, the coat of arms of the Maniuni family on the Corinthian capital, the date 1474 and the acronyms VM and IM on the footboard of the bed, and, on the mantle of the archangel, a flower (in Greek anthos), the carnation (in Greek dianthos), which would celebrate the signature of Antonello da Messina.
Room V - Century XV
| Dish of
Glazed majolica, Syracusan workshops, sec. XV.
|Miniature depicting the tree of Jesse from the "Libro d'Ore", Unknown Flemish author, sec. XV.|
| Tombstone of Giovanni Cabastida (recto), sec.
XV, close to the style of Francesco Laurana.
|Slab with Deposition between St. John and Magdalene, sec. XVI, interesting example of reuse in the 'verse'.|
"Cardillo", attributed to Domenico Gagini, 1492. Particularly representative of the trends that characterize this period, derived from the spread of Italian Renaissance art, the beautiful Madonna and Child, called Our Lady of Cardillo.
|Wooden model of the city of Syracuse, second half of the eighteenth century , by Giovanni Carafa, Duke of Noja.|
Room VII, century XV-XVI
|Madonna enthroned with the Child called "Madonna del Soccorso", of unknown author, early sec. XVI.|
|Sarcophagus of Giovanni Cardinas, 1506, by Antonello Gagini.|
|Trinity between Saints Giacomo Pellegrino and Stefano, attributed to Mark di Costanzo, 15th century.|
|Madonna with Child attributed to Antonello and Antonino Gagini, end of century. XVI.|
|Madonna with the Child between the Sante Margherita and Lucia, 1497 by Antonello Crescenzi called the Panormita.|
Room VIII, century XVI
|"The Madonners" Cretans, Syracusan and Slavs, 16th to 18th centuries.|
|Of particular value are the eight plates of the 'History of Genesis' attributed to Emanuele Lampardo.|
|By Emanuele Lampardo "The Crucifixion".|
|In the center a portable hinged trittichetto of the school "Stroganov", XVI century, with Apotheosis of the Virgin and scene of the New Testament.|
Room IX, century XVI
|Massacre of the innocent, (16th -17th century)
awarded to an unknown Sicilian painter.
| Notebook of drawings on paper, by Filippo Paladini,
(17th century), Tuscan mannerist, despite
the gaping aspect remains one of the vertices of the
Room X, century XVII
|Of particular importance are the works, influenced by Caravaggio , made by the Syracusan painter Mario Minniti: Miracle of St. Clare, 1624,|
|Martyr of St. Lucia, 17th century, Mario Minniti.|
| In the showcase two works
attributed to the Syracusan ceroplast Gaetano Giulio Zumbo: Scene of the Plague and the Face of Christ, 17th century.
|Face of Christ,17th century, Gaetano Giulio Zumbo.|
Room XI, century XVII - XVIII
|Painting, sculptural works, textiles, silver and sacred furnishings: Immaculate and Saints, 1744, by William Borremans,(Detail).|
|Several rounds with biblical scenes attributed to the painter Constantine Carasi, 18th century.|
|Reliquary of St. Orsola, in the shape of a three-masted vessel, 1705, of unknown silversmith.|
Room XII, century XVIII - XIX
| Interesting for an
historical reconstruction of the city,
ivory and wood plastic
city of Syracuse, by brother Peter
Fortress, (19th century).
Room XIII, century XVIII-XIX
|Nativity groups and nativity statues of G.Bongiovanni Vaccaro 's workshop .|
|Ceramic artefacts of Sicilian production, (19th century).|
|Interesting the "scarabattola" with crib figures in polychrome wax, attributed to the netino fra' Ignazio Macca, (18th-XIX century).|
€4 , Reduced €2. Reduced mobility YES.
Bus Siracusa d'Amare stop: Maniace.
Bus Open Tour stop: Belvedere S.Giacomo (300 mt).
It was completed in only eight years (1232-1240).
The name of “Maniace” refers to the Byzantine general who, in the XI century, must have built a military building in the same place, of which there is no trace.
It was in the middle of XVII century that scholars dated the castle to the Swabian era. -
The monument has been used for military purposes since the XVI century when an embankment was built around and barracks inside, including the installation of a powder armoury. ⤏
From here you can see the complexity of the fortifications from the Spanish and the Bourbon period (XVI-XIX century) surrounding the castle, also noticing the disfigurement that the Frederician building have had over the centuries.
The current masonry bridge, dated back to twentieth century, replaced the drawbar of the Spanish period built on the artificial moat.
The carraia door dates back to the XVII century.
After passing through the door you find yourself in the old Spanish fort ,where the bulk of the medieval castle stands out.
The plan is perfectly square (51 meters per side);four circular towers are placed at the corners of the building.
The front of the Castle consists of a perpendicular wall and a gate.
The foundations conform to the altitude profile of the rock below, being at differentiated quotas.
The “Maniace” had originally a greater development in heigh. ⤏
The castle portal
The main door, although considerably disfigured by subsequent restoration works, enchants for the very rich sculptural marble apparatus composed of columns, capitals, zoomorphic figures and floral motifs.
Quite impressive the ogival arch extending in depth, the stone ray above was damaged in 1614 by the insertion of Charles V's coat of arms.
On the sides of the portal there are two shelves on which, according to tradition ,two bronze rams dated back to the end of the IV / beginning of the III century b. C. were originally placed (a copy is visible in the internal exhibition). ⤏
A copy of hellenistic bronze rams brought from Constantinople by the Byzantine commander Giorgio Maniace, Prince and Vicar of the Emperor of Byzantium.
One of the originals is kept at the Salinas museum in Palermo, the other has been lost.⤏
Access to the enclosed space is through an opening, along a late-era wall, which falls in the middle part of the entire surface.
The hypostile Hall
When we enter in the famous hypostyle hall (from the Greek: hypóstȳlos meaning” under columns” referred to the covering), we are pervaded by a holy silence.
The hall is striking for the fantastic succession of limestone columns, culminating in richly decorated capitals, from which the ribs marking the splendid cross vaults depart.
There are 2, 3 or 4 orders in the capitals, representing ascending acanthus, palm, vine leaves forming an hook at the end. This is the point where we can find rural scenes, human figures, twisted snakes, inflorescences and fruits.
In one of the capital's crochet it's possible to even see a falconer on horseback.
The ribs have a supporting structure only in the initial part, where the ashlars intersect with the masonry vaults built with white-yellowish limestone and bullous lava stones. These materials were used to lighten the covers. ⤏
Along the perimeter walls there are 2 fireplaces . The hall is the castle itself. The geometric center of the hall was emphasized by four groups (only two remaining) of marble and granite columns, with human protome capitals, such as the so-called Head of Constance.
The diversity of the material used, besides creating a pleasant chromatic play thanks to its greater hardness and resistance, was also useful to support and unload the weight of the thrusts of all cross vaults.
Furthermore the stones of Frederick's palacium speak. Every single ashlar comes with an engraving: letters, flowers, birds, geometric signs. By looking with keen eye it will be possible to see many of them.
A well-preserved series is located on the inner wall on the left of the portal under the window.
These are the stonemasons' marks. The skilled Frederician workers were remunerated based on the exact quantity of the completed blocks, recognizable by the brands.
By looking at such an immense unique empty space, it seems logical to think it had no residential function. ⤏
Maniace's castle, halfway between a castrum and palacium, represents the new model of the typical imperial palace built by Stupor Mundi.
His itinerant court was an innovation compared to the royal court of the previous Norman kingdom which held its base in Palermo.
Frederick, the traveler, had his royal palaces throughout the Empire and some of the them, like theSyracusan one, became synonymous of refinement and ideological innovation.
Furthermore, if we focus on the passion that Federico had for falconry we might have a better understanding of Maniace's castle.
Frederick II and
The emperor in a hunting scene, a miniature from L'art de la chace des oisiaus, Paris, Bibliothèque National de France.Source: www.stupormundi.it
In his "Liber De arte venandi cum avibus" - the Art of hunting with the birds, one of the most important scientific works of the Middle Ages, Federico shows an absolutely innovative and revolutionary approach.
The falconry gets rid of its technical connotation reaching an higher level.
Until the eleventh century, hunting wild animals and then deers was intended as an aristocratic ritual.
The social organization originating in the Swabian age was strictly hierarchical, with the emperor figuring at the top, custodian of both the secrets of the art of falconry and the secrets of governing .
The bird of prey, Lord of the sky, becomes the undisputed protagonist from the moment he dives to the capture of the prey.
The spontaneous return of the falcon to his falconer after flying high in the sky, represents the ideal relationship between the lord and his subjects.
Like a director who directs predatory birds, dogs and horses on a beautiful stage: the nature, which is thus dominated.
"De Arte" is an essential source to understand Frederick II's thought and it's also, in our opinion, the key to interprete the Maniace Castle of Syracuse.
Not being part of the castrense typology, (except for the external walls), and not completely having a residential function, the Maniace Castle still stands as an enigmatic building. ⤏
Falconry and its symbolism connect those who know how to decode its elements.
Similarly after more than eight hundred years, Maniace Castle still represents one of the most important monument, a result of a magnificent architectural and engineering treatise, which amazed the ones who could not understand the imperial message, being fully understandable by those who knew its code.
These, invited to feast twenty of those considered the most responsible for the troubles, once entered, had them beheaded.
In 1540 Admiral Andrea Doria lodged there during the expedition organized by Charles V against the Muslims.
On November 5, 1704, the building was shattered by a violent explosion of the Spanish powder magazine that projected the pieces of eight of the cross vaults and blocks of stone within a radius of a few kilometers.
Leaving the castle Maniace take via Abela on the right hand side and then continue along the promenade of Levante for about 150 meters.
Along the way, the Baroque church of the Holy Spirit is revealed: the facade of 1727 resolved with bright white limestone, typical Syracusan rock, is a continuous play of planes and shapes defined in each structural knot with soft and imaginative decorations. The capitals are Corinthian in style.
A few meters before Cala Rossa beach , take Via S.Teresa on your left hand side, then immediately turn right on Via S. Martino; the gallery Bellomo is at the end of the road.
Going up Via S Martino stop to visit the church of the same name ,dating back to the early Christian period, and included among the oldest ecclesiastical buildings of Syracuse since the architecture of the apse and columns refer to the Byzantine period of the sixth century AD.
Most of the structure was modified in the Norman period, the rose window and the entrance portal of Aragonese factory date back to 1300 - 1400..
Don't miss the spectacular sunset between a well frozen glass of sparkling Moscato wine produced in Syracuse and an italian poem.
An island, Ortigia lies
on the misty ocean opposit to
Trinacria, where the mouth of Alpheus
bubbling mixing with the springs
Bus SR d'amare stop: Aretusa.- Bus Open Tour stop: Piazza Archimedes.
The nearby Marina of Syracuse offers the opportunity to stroll by the sea, shaded benches and evening aperitifs with music and entertainment.
A few steps along the marina of Syracuse Burgio prepares the real sicilian granita using ground almonds (April to October).
The ideal place for a break,you can take a quick bath, eat a sandwich or rather some fresh fruit bought at the open market or in the various shops adjacent to the area.
The plants are the Ficus macrophylla subsp.
Columnaris or Ficus magnolioides as well as "stranglers" (not to be confused with the magnolia - Magnolia grandeflora) that form a small jungle in the city with their twisting branches and lianas.
These Ficus are centenarians like the Ficus Retusa that shade the Marina of Syracuse (Italic forum).
In this real green paradise there is also a Araucaria heterophilla and a washington palm tree.
The trunk of the Plane tree has a diameter of 4 meters (5 meters at the base) and a height of 10 meters.
Three hundred would be his years according to the card drawn up by Fabio Morreale ("Monumental Trees of Sicily", 2007). Araucaria Heterophilla
The three-hundred-year-old Plane tree is therefore pre-existing to the upheavals made by the will of the liberal government when, in the nineteenth century, when lowered the wall share of the Spanish fortifications, the Italic Forum was established.
The arboreal heritage of this Ortigian space draws the roots in the Aretusa aquifer, where dwells the very rare papyrus.
Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807 – 1882) general, patriot, leader and Italian writer landed in Sicily, in Marsala, on May 11, 1860 during unification of Italy
The story also featured the ships of the two Sicilie Sea Army and two British Royal Navy warships.
The garibaldini troop, aboard the "Piemonte" and "Lombardo" steamships, departed from Quarto near Genoa, with the support of the Italian liberal forces and the Savoy monarchy, after more than five days of sailing, entered the Marsala's waters and managed, despite the Bourbon intervention, to complete the landing and to take the city, starting a sequence of battles and uprisings in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies that led to its end.
"And what good is it for Italy to have beautiful ports and free lands, when its governments at least think of making money to feed the privileged classes, and to force with strength, cunning and betrayal to misery and dishonour the hardworking classes?"
The Marina of Syracuse
The port is a large natural gulf located within the bay of Syracuse, which is formed to the west by the tip of the island of Ortigia and to the east by the rocky offshoots of "Punta Castelluccio".
Castle Maniace dominates its northern mouth.
Inside the port, the Anapo River overflows, generating a constant current of water.
Due to its circular shape, some scholars have speculated that it may be a volcanic crater.
Memorable events have taken place in the vast natural bay of Syracuse, including naval battles of extraordinary importance, with an unspecified number of ships set on fire and sunk.
Here the ships of antiquity were invented and built: the quadriremes and quinqueremes, at the navy arsenal of Syracuse located in the Lakkios, that is, in the second small port of the city.
But the port of Syracuse, as well as a military function, has always played an important commercial role: if in hellenistic times the "Siracusia", the largest ship of antiquity born and built in the port of Syracuse and then given as a gift to the pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt, so large that only a few ports of the world at the time known were able to host it , in Roman times the port of Syracuse became the main center of export and import of goods for ancient Rome.
In the 61 A.D., the Apostle Paul of Tarso landed in the port, staying in the city for three days, before setting sail for Rome.
The Syracuse sailing tradition
The city of Syracuse has always been a sailing hub, in fact there are several regattas that take place every year, among them the most important:
The international regatta Syracuse-Malta is the most prestigious regatta that takes place at the port of Syracuse, as it is the oldest, born in 1952. About 100 yachts take part, departing from Valletta in the even years and leaving Syracuse in odd years.
The Wine Route: Marzamemi – Syracuse – Riposto; it changes its order in the odd years ,the route touches areas famous for centuries for their wine culture.
The Odyssail Regatta - on the route of Ulysses, departs from Sardinia and crosses the main mediterranean ports and then reaches the finish line in Athens, passing through: Spain, Italy (with landing in the ports of Venice, Brindisi, Naples, Syracuse, Trapani and Carloforte), Israel, Yugoslavia, Libya, Greece
- Everyone stand alone on the heart of the earth
- pierced by a ray of the sun’s light:
- and suddenly it’s evening..
This short poem expresses, with extreme effectiveness, in its essentiality, the human condition made of solitude (Everyone is alone), pain of living and brevity of existence (and it is immediately evening).
Every human being lives in solitude, deluding himself of being at the center of the world with a strong sense of rooting to existence (on the heart of the earth), and he is pierced by sunlight, the cycle of existence, a source of joy and pain at the same time. Then the evening suddenly falls, symbolizes the brevity of human life, the fleetingness of time and the sudden onset of death.
This is a masterpiece in the italian literature, the poet shows us in just three verses the human condition with a lot of meanings and deep themes; it gave the title to an entire collection.
Why to visit it: Aretusa, with its spring, is one of the most well-known mythological characters in the world, as well as the symbol of the city of Syracuse.
Aretusa was sung by poets such as Pindaro, Mosco, Ovid, Virgil, D'Annunzio; told by historians Timeo, Pausania, Diodoro Siculo, Strabo, Cicero; depicted in coins by the Syracusan engravers Cimone and Eveneto.
there was Aretusa, the sacred nymph to Artemide, the goddess of hunting to whom she had vowed her chastity.
The myth relates that on a very hot day, the nymph was in a forest in Greece feeling tired and overheated and therefore decided to bath herself in the refreshing and inviting waters of the river.
Aretusa removes her robes and swims in the river.
A young hunter by the name of Alfeo, a demigod, son of Oceano, happens to be walking in the vicinity and drawn by the sounds, approaches the river and remains enchanted by the nymphs beauty.
In the body of water of the Arethusa Spring and along the banks of the river Ciane are present the only wild papyrus of all Europe.
The papyrus grows spontaneously only in Egypt.
DECADRACHM of the Syracusan Mint.
Aretusa's head in profile, around dolphins.
Attributed to engraver Euainetos, 390 BC- Museum P. Orsi.
The large silver decadrachm (10-drachm) coin from Syracuse is regarded by many collectors as the finest coin produced in the ancient world, perhaps ever.
The chase continues in the forest until the nymph, worn out, invokes her Goddess Artemide’s protection.
The Goddess in order to help her escape her pursuer, transforms the maiden into a spring which rises in the faraway islet of Ortigia.
Aretusa disappears from Alfeo’s sight and the latter lost and bewildered, gathers his energies and invoking Zeus asks him help.
The God transforms him into a river but, playing him a dirty trick, he makes him flow into Greece and not into Sicily.
Alfeo won’t give up, and for the sake of reaching his beloved one, passing under the seas of Greece and Sicily to avoid mixing with the sea’s salty waters, after a long and strenuous journey under the seas he reaches the Great Port of Siracusa. ⤏
It is here that he merges with Aretusa, a fresh water spring at sea level which to this day, by flowing into the sea, perpetuates the rite of union with Alfeo.
This love story narrated with several variations by such poets as Hovid and Virgil, also reveals to us a historical truth: Aretusa represents the colony Siracusa, founded far away from the motherland Greece, represented by Alfeo, almost like an ombelical cord that has never been severed.
The Greeks who around the middle of the 8th century BC sailed from their homeland to found cities on the east coast of Sicily, never returned.
Migrating and moving permanently to those cities which they called “apokìai” (far from home) they loved to recall the love for their land through legends like the one of Alfeo and Aretusa.
Maybe, notwithstanding the numerous successive dominations, the Greek spirit still finds a place in the heart of the Siracusans, if it is true that other than being referred to in the latter way, they are also called Aretusei, in memory of the Nymph who is identified with the Corinthian founders.
The definition in dialect “a funtana e pàpiri” – the fountain of the ducks ( or should one better say ducks and mallards), now coloqually referred by the young generation, could lose its historical identity as the Aretusa spring.
It was one of the first churches to rise up from the ashes of the terrible earthquake of 1693 thanks to the works of Luciano Caracciolo.
The project of this church structure earned it a thorough study by Salvatore Italia and Ranieri Meloni, who advanced a theory that the architect could have been inspired by the <b>Temple of Solomon</b> of which there is no archeological documentation.
One of the most credible revivals of the Temple of Jerusalem is to be found in a publication by J.B. Villalpando and Jeronimo Prado, edited between 1596 and 1604.
The volumetric dimensions of the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia correspond to those of the Temple of Jerusalem, as indicated in the Bible.
Apart from the uniqueness of the architectural structure, the Church also houses very valuable and important works of art.
The Church was connected to the Cistercian monastery nextdoor and dedicated to the miracle of the end of the famine of 1646 through the intercession of Santa Lucia, which is portrayed in the eighteenth century fresco "The Triumph of Santa Lucia" in the central vault of the nave.
Also outstanding are the works of white stucco of 1705 done by the master Biagio Blanco of Licodia as well as the wooden crucifixes of the 14th century.
Francesco Tuccio was the goldsmith from Messina who created the silver frontal in 1726 from a design by Pompeo Picherali.
Along the right hand side of the wall one can admire “The miracle of San Francesco di Paola” painted on canvass by Giuseppe Reati in 1641.
The convent parlour of neo-classic inspiration is worth a special visit, built with an oval shape design,
its perimetre is emphasized by a series of Doric columns between which there are grates which allowed the nuns to talk to the visitors.
A pseudo lacunar dome completes this setting with a unique paving of majiolica tiles.
In the centre of the restored flooring there are the remains of the original tiled flooring depicting a pellican feeding it’s offspring.
In Christian iconography it represents Christ’s supreme sacrifice who died on the Cross to save us all,
it became a Eucharistic symbol used by Saint Thomas to describe the effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice becoming one of the most significant and moving symbols of Christianity.
€ 2 -Reduced €1
Bus SR d'amare stop: Fonte Aretusa . Bus Open Tour stop: Piazza Archimede Square.
The Cathedral of Syracuse with its 2400 years of history represents, not only an architectural jewel in the heart of the historic city center, but it is a unique worldwide monument.
It is the result from the transformation and readjustment to Christian worship of the ancient temple of Athena dates back to 5th century A.D.
This Cyclopean work, with its preservation which lives till today, may indicate the idea of the splendor reached by the greatest temple of the city in the period of architectural fervor that accompanied the famous victory brought by the tyranny of Gelon on the Carthaginians in the plans of Himera (480 BC)to thank the goddess of wisdom and war, Athena
According to the writer Athenaeum, along with the temple there was also a bronze shield, symbol of the goddess that served as a guide for sailors.These, once gone off to sea, used to throw wreaths in her honor. These, once gone off to sea, used to throw wreaths in her honor.
The temple, rich in gold and ivory decorations, precious canvases and marble, was built on a more ancient Sicilian religious building, then transformed in the VI century A.D. in Byzantine church, embracing the walls of the pagan temple in the sacred building. ⤏
Syracuse is known as the largest and most powerful Greek city of the Sicilians where the first Christian community of Europe was born and where, precisely in the 7th century A.D. in Ortigia, the bishop Zosimo moved there the seat of the Cathedral, dedicated to the Nativity of Mary, closing with a wall the columns of the peristyle and in each side of the cell will be opened eight large arches
So, it became a three-aisled Christian basilica, with three abases, with a new orientation corresponding to the liturgical concept of the Greek church, where here Saint Marcian became the first bishop.
With the Arab conquest in the 9th century A.D., the building was sacked becoming a mosque. Roger, 1st Norman king of Sicily who returns the church to the citizens of Syracuse, restored the bishopric.
With the new Norman conquest the basilica reaches an intense splendor where the apses and the bishop’s chair will be filled with beautiful mosaics; however, it undergoes the first modifications between the 14th and 15th century, when the city, under the influence of the Aragonese-Catalan current, lives moments of unexpected artistic flourishing.
Particulary interesting artifact of this period is the polychrome marble flooring, which houses in the centre the ancient coat of arms of the city of Syracuse. The first strong earthquake of 1542 threatens to shake the temple from the foundations.
It is during this violent jolt that the cyclops columns undergo a strong displacement that determines the overhang with very serious static consequences.
In this way, in order to avoid the probable collapse, they were closed between new bastion walls, from which even today we see the silhouette of the capitals.
The Renaissance is reflected only on the outside, in the door and in the windows of the sacristy wall, with a reference to classical forms.
But it is following the more serious and catastrophic earthquake of 1693 that the cathedral comes out profoundly transformed in its basilica structure.
With the destruction of the southern and central apse the Greek temple and the Byzantine basilica suffer a more serious deformation with the creation and opening of several chapels, including the one dedicated to Saint Lucy, on the right aisle.
The reconstruction is pervaded by a tumultuous baroque that largely erases the austere basilica character by disappearing under the stucco stone the large Doric columns, the walls of the cell and the remains of the subsequent Byzantine-Norman transformations.
Gorgon found during the excavations of the temple of Athena, housed at P. Orsi. museum .
It had snakes nestled in its hair, teeth like fangs of boar, bronze hands and wings.
He also had the power to turn men and gods into stone with his eyes; except for Poseidon with whom he conceived Pegasus and Crisaore.
The two rococo-style side columns seem twisted on themselves; they support a crenellated mensolon placed above the Corinthian-style capitals.
Enclosed at the top of the portal is a semi-circular tympanum. The portal is made of wood; austere, simple, with large carved squares inside.
It seems to form almost a church itself, where there are several funerary monuments of the bishops of Syracuse, lived through the centuries
Of particular interest, in the middle, on the side altars on the right and left , two plates attributed to the painter Antonello da Messina that represent St. Zosimo and St. Marciano, bishops of Syracuse.
On the altar a nice large wooden cross, in byzantine style, survived to the earthquakes.
The polygonal building dates back to the first half of the seventeenth century, work of architect G. Vermexio, with a baroque address and a measured balance in the marbles polychrome use, including an antependium of Filippo Valle (executed in Rome in 1762) representing the last supper;
Gorgeus the richness of the ciborium of L. Vanvitelli (1752) with the shapes of a small temple and a central plan;
marvelous the frescoes of the ceiling of Agostino Scilla (1657) from Messina, reproducing subjects of the Old Testament.
But the lover recognizes the coveted waters and, deposed the human semblance before assumed, turns back into his own waters in order to be able to mingle with those of his beloved (Ovid, Metamorphosis, V. 636-638).
Bus Syracuse d'amare stop: Darsena. Bus Open Tour Stop: Archimedes Square.
Fisheria in Amalfitania Street, offers tasty fish sandwiches and fried local "Paranza's fish"(from fishing vessel) at a good price in a friendly atmosphere.
Aretusa, an attractive nymph unaware of her seductive nudity, tries to refresh herself from the toils of hunting in the cozy and transparent waters of a river where, suddenly, a tremor assails her...
Fear then prompts her to undertake an impossible escape from Alpheus, the god of the river in whose waters she is refreshing, who so seduced by the virgin desires to possess her at any cost.
But Aretusa, who cannot yield to this ardent desire, can escape the pursuit of the god thanks to (or at the price of) a metamorphosis provoked by the intervention of Artemis, to whom the nymph, on the verge of succumbing, appeals.
Prof. Rosalba Galvagno (Source: www.analisiqualitativa.com)
He was a disciple of Giorgio Paci, a neoclassical artist, from whom he drew love for rigidly classical forms, which certainly represent the backbone of his formation.
For health reasons, the artist moved to Catania city with a mild climate, and here he produced several works such as The Rat of Proserpina of 1904, for the fountain at the train station, similar to the tones and accents to the Fountain of Diana.
The work is the result of a stylistic eclecticism, which looks at the classic models of Greco-Roman art, but that combines naturalism and floral style, paying homage to the most famous myth of the city of Syracuse, the metamorphosis of Aretusa.
It was made of raw concrete in 1906, at the time when this substance became part of the range of materials for sculpture.
Moschetti gave birth to the sculptural complex in just ten months: from the mold, in which the mixture of concrete and sand is cast, to the completed shape that replaced the lamppost originally in the center of the square.
His son Mario collaborated at the opera.
The Fountain looks south and not at the Main street, which did not yet exist, having been realized as a result of the fascist gutting.
It is articulated on three elevation orders and is treated with a theatrical action, which draws movement from the gesture of Aretusa's right arm facing upwards.
In the center on a high plinth, which simulates a cliff, is Artemis - Diana with the bow, the quiver and the dog.
For his creation, as it is said,the sculptor took as a model a Syracusan girl.
At her feet Aretusa is represented at the moment when the goddess is about to turn her into a source to escape the amorous insistences of Alpheus, who leans to the right of the goddess with expression of surprise.
A family of tritons, pistrixs, sea horses and mermaids are the sculptures symbols par excellence of the sea that find place inside the work.
Water is the element in which the love story ends.
The monolithic red gritd tub is topped with masks and coats of arms. - -
Pistrixs and Tritons
The Tritons lived together with Poseidon and Amphitrite in a gilded palace at the bottom of the sea, they were the servants of the marine deities wich they carried on their backs or on wagons pulled by themselves. They were under Poseidon's orders and could unleash or calm sea storms by playing a snail-shaped horn, made from a shell.
They are horses to the belly, and their body ends with a fish tail. They may have hooves or palmed legs, and instead of the mane there may be a membrane crest or algae.
The Mythological Goddess
As a goddess of "the bow and arrow" she represents the ability of women to achieve their goals, even through the use of the right aggression.
As Apollo was later identified with the Sun, artemis was identified with the Moon, revered under the three forms corresponding to the three lunar phases (Selene in the sky, Artemis on earth and Hecate in the underworld).
Artemis is the power of creation, it is invoked by the birthers to assure them of an easy birth or a quick death, women found relief in the belief that she assisted them. It represents the wild and hysteria side of childbirth and helps to free it.
It also represents the violent transition of the separation of the newborn from the uterus and the mother from the child that takes place at the time of childbirth.
It represents that particular confidence with the unconscious that women have with their "inner forest", that state of grace that makes them "virgin", one in itself, and the fury that women express and feel at the time of childbirth that makes them fearsome and venerable.
The Catalan Courtyard
The facade has an entrance arch closed by a beautiful wrought-iron gate, topped by a beautiful stone balcony with a mullioned window (architectural element in Renaissance style unchanged) above it the mechanical clock of the late 19th century.
Inside the building there is a small courtyard where we can admire the heraldic sculptures (including a rampant lion) and a catalan-style staircase, unchanged.
At the first intersection, turn left and climb towards Piazza Duomo following via Landolina.
On this stretch of road you will find the Jesuit church with its beautiful Baroque facade and a beautiful wrought-iron railing (the church is closed for the departure of the Jesuit fathers from Syracuse).
Continuing up via Landolina you will find the palaces Chiaramonte and Francica Nava, an incredible collage between gothic-chiaramontano style from fifteenth century on the ground floor, and a 18th century sicilian baroque work on the upper floors, rebuilt after the earthquake.
Here is piazza Duomo, it is revealed in all its glory.
In Sicilian the term indicates not only the confused rumor of the sellers, but also the market itself from the French boucherie-butchery, its original destination.
And so it was disseminated to a much wider public this extraordinary historical heritage of Sicily through the raw realism of the meats depicted in the foreground, the intense colors of fruits, vegetables, fish above the counters so approached that they barely leave space to passers-by.
Guttuso's painting inspired famous sicilian writer A. Camilleri: "A narrator or a playwright, in front of the Vucciria, would have writing material until the end of their days". In fact, the Vucciria, Ballarò in Palermo, the Fera o Luni and the Fishmonger in Catania, but also the Piscarìa of Syracuse represent, as well as a destination of citizens in search of fresh goods and moderate prices, "fatal" attraction for tourists especially foreigners!
They find themselves as enchanting in the middle of a real theatrical action where the actors, the sellers, advertise their goods with the most singular ways and expressions.
The historic market becomes an extraordinary place for a guided tour of the history of Sicily through food, where all the senses are stimulated in a triumph of colors and smells.
A singular anthropological fact: a barrage of Sicilians and tourists who, fascinated by the unusual spectacle, moves by filming with their cameras sales desks and sellers.
Founded in the fishing district, the Graziella (from Santa Maria of all Graces, their protector), has as a scenic backdrop the entire architectural front of the neighborhood.
Sicily, "market land" since the Neolithic period, has seen the birth of primordial urban systems characterized by real emporiums, the Agora in the Greek period, the Forum in the Roman period and, thanks to the exchange of goods, has given birth to the civilization of the West.
As A. Buttitta (anthropologist) writes, "Exchanging material goods also means exchanging intangibles: words and ideas, traditions and customs, what we call culture." Inside the Market you can then experience street food in several qualified food outlets.
Monument to the
Fallen of Africa
Why to visit it: the monument, an interesting expression of art from the fascist period, offers an enchanting view of the coast and the island of ortigia.
In the less hot and less crowded moments of the day it is a relaxing place, full of energy from which to look at the horizon.
Ideal place to greet the new day.
The monument features a side, the one that looks to the sea, in the shape of a prow, and is adorned with 6 tall bronze statues representing the departments of the army, from the navy to the air force, the indigenous African troops, the Ascari of Eritrea, who accompanied the Italians during the war, and the Italian workers in colonial Africa.
Its shape resembles that of a ship.
On the back of the monument were enamels of the main geographical locations that represented the battlefronts of the Italian army in East Africa in the years 1935 and 1936.
Inside the monument there is a votive chapel (15 meters long and 5 meters wide) dedicated to the Legionnaire and containing the statue of an Italian fallen in Africa; however, access to this chapel is forbidden to the public.
The choice of where to place the monument, once African possessions were lost, fell on the city of Syracuse because it, and especially its port, played a key role during the years of colonial war in the logistical transport of goods and troops to Africa, representing one of the main landings for the regime.
It was declared of historical and artistic interest in 1958 and was part of the medieval defensive system along with the "Eagle Gate" demolished after the Unification of Italy.
Ortigia, equipped since the Greek period, will undergo the transformation into a military citadel under Spanish rule and, by 1575, belongs the adjustment of the pre-existing defensive curtain.
The Porta Marina, in beautiful aragonese-catalan style, is from the fifteenth century, as documented by the walling technique in well-squared concies - on some of which you can see beautiful carvings of boats - and the ancient coat of arms of the city with the castle placed at the base of the newsstand. This element is a jewel of Aragonese sculpture with framed molding with plant shaped and geometric patterns that reproduce the star of David inscribed in a circle.
The shelves of the balcony served the throttles from which hot oil and molten oil were poured on any enemies. In the 16th century, the "New Sea Gate" was built, perpendicular to the Marina, with an opening oriented towards the port.
Traces of its demolition, which took place in 1880 , remain in the cantonal of the Aragonese gate. An epigraph in the back prospectus of the Marina Gate bears the date of 1599 that might suggest its construction under Philip III. The structure of the artifact is at the end of this chronology.
1599 can be interpreted as the year of completion of the works that gave a new face to the fortifications designed for the introduction of artillery. The passing of time and neglect had determined the strong state of degradation of the Marina Gate. The gate was restored in 1999 under the direction of the Arch. Corrado Pope.
With a circular shape, it is accessed through a large bronze portal, inside you have the only circular nave of the church, where you will find the tombstones and the remains of the Syracusans fallen at the front.
The main altar is elegant and next to are shown fine contemporary sacred works.
Why to visit it: it is the oldest known Doric temple in Western Europe, as well as home to the sun god, protector of all arts, music and prophecy, proven archer, able to inflict, with his weapon, terrible pestilences to those who oppose him...
It may be time to start the practice of "Greeting to the Sun", not only to greet the new day, but above all to greet the sun that lives inside us, our vital energy.
ULYSSES AND HIS COMPANIONS LANDED ON THE ISLAND OF THE SUN, THE HERO,
VERY TIRED, FELL ASLEEP. ON THE ISLAND THEY GRAZED COWS
SACRED TO THE GOD APOLLO AND THAT'S WHY THEY COULDN'T TOUCH IT. (Odyssey , Book X)
Bus SR d'amare stop: Darsena. Bus Open Tour stop: Archimedes Square.
Then the Arabs made it their mosque as evidenced by an Arabic epigraph lying on the south side. And again, it was once again a Christian church in the Norman period, as evidenced by the archacuta gate – the ancient entrance of the church – which is still visible today with its picturesque perspective on Ortigia's Market .
In the 1500s, during the fortification of Charles V, a spanish barracks was built on the ruins of the temple (the so-called Old Quarter). Today the building is in ruins, but its imposing size is still evident - 58 x 24 meters (190x78feets) it occupies much of Pancali Square.
A creepy and
Apollo, son of Zeus and Leto, artemis's twin is the summer sun god whose scorching rays dry the vegetation; hence the ancient conception of Apollo, evil deity, executor of revenge. Divinity of medicine, mantic, cathartic, agriculture, but mainly god of poetry and as such surrounded by the 9 Muses who dance and sing in choir in his honor.
Detail of "Apollo of the Belvedere", Roman copy of hellenistic age (350 BC), Vatican Museums.
Apollo, also called "Phoebus", shiny, radiant, is the identification to the world of Light and all-encompassing lighting related to the sun's rays.
As with the other great deities, Apollo loved many women including Daphne and also the two young men Hyacinth and Cyparissus. Apollo had many children, perhaps the most famous being Orpheus, who inherited his father's musical abilities and became a virtuoso with the lyre, and Asclepius, to whom he gave his knowledge of healing and medicine.
Its typical attributes are the bow, with its portentous arrows, and the cithern. Another characteristic emblem is the sacrificial tripod, a symbol of his prophetic powers.
Sacred animals to the god are swans (symbol of beauty), wolves, cicadas (to symbolize music and singing), and again the hawks, crows, dolphins, in which often the god loved to transform, and snakes, the latter with reference to his orcular powers.
And again the rooster, as a symbol of homosexual love, different in fact the men of whom the God fell in love. Another symbol of Apollo is the Griffon, a mythological animal of distant Eastern origin.
"Kleomede made for Apollo the temple, the son of Knidieidas, and raised the colonnades, beautiful works"
gives us the amazement of the builders themselves, who built a building with 46 monolithic columns, probably transporting them by sea.
The Greeks were one of the greatest peoples for laying the foundations for a real "metaphysics of light", that is, a rapid and teeming speculation around the founding principles of Light that showed itself in its many aspects: the Light as a mother and dispenser of life and health, as the winner of the evil and darkness that enveloped the life of men , as a risky source of the being of the cosmos and the universe." (Source: culturificio.org - Gianmarco Canestrari)
In addition to paying homage to the sun, a source of life and energy, greeting the sun is a way to awaken the receptivity of our body, "raise" the mind and generate a source of energy directly from the sun. This is why it is performed mainly in the morning, especially at dawn, when the air is pregnant of vital energy, turning eastwards.
For those who want to take advantage of the energy present in this area can go to the bastion San Giovannello, overlooking the sea of the east and in the air line right forward the entrance of the temple; alternatively another convenient area is the wide clearing above the Talete car park, beside the bastion.
To reach both places take the Apollonion route (next to the temple) and continue on via Resalibera; arrived at the end turn left on via V. Veneto and immediately to the right to get to the sea. Once on the promenade, head to the left where to your right you will find first the fort and then the Talete.
The sacrificial animals were carried in procession by players, children and maidens in white and garlanded dresses of flowers, until the temple, where the priest among wine libations, prayers, purifying rites, incense and scents of all kinds, to the sound of the flute and lyre poured on the head of the victim honey wine and lustral water, raised prayers of thanks, praise or supplication to the divinity, and then slaughtered the victim.
The sacrificed was cut into pieces and thrown on the sacred fire. Banquets followed in which the faithful ate the flesh of the sacrificed animal: during such banquets, it was also believed that the deity was even participating as a guest of honor.
The Muses, deities, were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosine (the "Memory") and represented the supreme ideal of Art. Their guide was Apollo.
The typical trait of the Muses is that of deities of singing and playful dances, and in such capacity are often represented in poetry while putting in music and verse stories such as the origin of the world, the birth of gods and men, the exploits of Zeus. In the oldest representations, related to vascular painting, they appear as accompanied by the various instruments.
Only later, in addition to the joy of dance, singing and music, were all the singing and musical expressions, including sad and funeral expressions, associated with them, so that they could be invoked individually to exercise their inspiration and protection.
The nine Muses according to the order of Hesiodo described in the Theogony :
I Clio: "she who makes famous", the muse of History and epic singing.
II Euterpe:"she who cheers", the muse of lyrical poetry and music.
III Thalia: "she who is festive", the muse of comedy.
IV Melpomene: "she who sings", the muse of Tragedy, in close relations with Dionysus.
V Terpsichore: "she who delights in dance", the muse of Dance and Choral lyric.
VI Erato: "she who causes desire", the muse of Love Poetry, choral singing, mimicry and geometry.
VII Polyhymnia: "she who has many hymns", the muse of Mimo, sacred singing and ritual dance. She is also associated with rhetoric, memory, history and geometry.
VIII Urania: "she who is celestial", the muse of astronomy, geometry and didactic epic.
IX Calliope: "she who has a beautiful voice", the muse of Elegy and epic poetry. She is Homer's inspiration for the Odyssey and the Iliad, and Dante's inspiration for the Divine Comedy too. She is the greater of the muses and the wisest.
The Apollonian spirit, that is, is the rational and rationalizing component of the individual, as opposed to the Dionysian spirit, which represents its opposite.
Man in art and in life lives as in a "dream", so that as opposed to reality "life becomes tolerable and worth living". Pain is released in the dream; with the arrival of the Dionysian spirit, on the other hand, man lives intensely nature and relations with other men: ⤏
The Dionysian fascination not only restores the bonds between man and man: even nature, foreign, difficult or subjugated, celebrates the feast of reconciliation with his prodigal son, the man.
The earth willingly throws its gifts, and the raptors of the cliffs and deserts approach in peace (...).
Here the slave is free, here everyone breaks the rigid, enemy barriers, that need, the free will or "insolent fashion" have planted among men. which need, arbitrariness or "insolent fashion" have planted among men.
Here, in the gospel of universal harmony, everyone feels not only reunited, reconciled, fused with his neighbour, but feels made one with him, as if the veil of Maja ("der Schleier der Maja") was torn and now flutters only shreds before the Original-One ("Ur-Einen").
In singing and dancing, man manifests himself as a member of a higher community: he has unlearned to walk and speak, and dancing is in the act of flying away in the air.
Magic speaks in his attitudes. And as in the meantime the animals now speak and the earth gives milk and honey, so too supernatural propagates from him: he feels like a god, and now he proceed kidnapped and elevated, as he saw in a dream gods proceeding.
Man is no longer an artist; has become a work of art himself.
(Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Portrait / The Birth of Tragedy)
During Trojan War Apollo is deployed alongside the Trojans, the god was in fact enraged with the Greeks, and in particular with their leader Agamemnon, for the abduction of Chryseis, young daughter of Chryses, Apollo's priest.
Agamemnon had refused to return her, adding threatening words towards the old priest and flaunting a blasphemous attitude towards Apollo, of which Chryses bore the insignia.
It is then that the priest invokes the vengeance of the god Apollo against those who had offended him.
Here's what Homer preserves us in the Iliad, book I:
[...] Displeased, Agamemnon dismissed Chryses roughly: “Old man, don’t let me catch you by our hollow ships, sneaking back here today or later on.
Who cares about Apollo’s scarf and staff?
I’ll not release the girl to you, no, not before she’s grown old with me in Argos, far from home, working the loom, sharing my bed.
PLATONE VISITS SIRACUSA
Plato visits Sicily on several occasions from 388 BC to 360 BC, initially driven by the desire to visit Mount Etna and its craters. Dionysius I the tyrant ,informed of his visit, invited him to court where the philosopher met the Syracusan nobleman Dione, a collaborator of Dionysius who became his disciple. when Plato attacked the tyranny with his words, provoking the wrath of the tyrant , it was Dione who saved the master by rushing him to Athens, although that journey ended with the enslavement of the philosopher to Egina.
In 367 BC, Plato returned to Sicily invited by Dione to educate his nephew Dionysius II new successor to the throne, with the aim of making him a king-philosopher; however, the political situation plummeted: Dione was exiled, Plato's reformation suitable for the establishment of the ideal state was nullified.
He last went to Syracuse in 361 BC with the aim of carrying out a peaceful mediation between Dionysius II and Dione, but he failed in his intent. He was able to return to Athens thanks to the intervention of the Pythagoreans of Taranto who interceded in his favor with the tyrant. Returning to his homeland, he witnessed from afar Dione's military expedition of 357 BC against the Syracuse tyranny.
It is claimed that the reminiscences of his travels had a significant cultural impact in his literary production: works such as the Symposium, the Laws and Dialogues on Atlantis, they would come from the experience of the Athenian philosopher in Sicily.
THE 4 PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS
1) The Archè (principle, origin), a term whose use dates back to the early philosophical tradition. The Ionic school designates with the name of Archè the primordial substance derivative of all things .
2) Gnoseology, Philosophical discipline that studies the limits of knowledge, its potential, its criteria and justifications, the nature of truth, the existence of the outside world, skepticism in general and relativism.
3) Ethics, study of rational foundations that allow to assign a deontological status to human behaviors , in order to distinguish them in good, fair, lawful, compared to behaviors considered unfair, illicit, unseemly or bad according to an ideal behavioral model.
4) Ontology,By ontology is understood, in a narrow sense, the study of Being as a whole of institutions, limited to what seems to exist in practice or even be just thinkable, therefore according to what would seem attested by the senses or psyche. In a broader sense we mean an investigation into Being beyond the entities through which it manifests itself in appearances and phenomena: the search for Being or their ultimate foundation.
Solarium in Ortigia overlooking the natural gulf, youth environment with music. Next there is a small free beach.
🕐 9am-6pm ☞ Updated Time Schedule
Info & Bookings +39 345 478 9578
€20 Umbrella + 2 sunbeds day; €15 1/2 day.
🚍Bus Sr D'amare Stop: Aretusa (50 mt). Bus Open Tour stop: Archimedes Square (400 mt).
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Free beach in Ortigia overlooking the open sea, it is made by small stones where it is possible to laydown, normally water is very clear, shadow since midday, it is provided with freshwater showers; access by stairs.
🕐 7/7 h24
🚍 Bus Sr D'amare Stop: Cala Rossa (0 mt). Bus Open Tour stop: Belvedere S.Giacomo waterfront (400 mt ,walk keeping the sea to the left)
A nice natural and free pool where you can relax and cool off, the sea is open so normally clean, provided with freshwater showers, the rocks are a little less comfortable than the sand.
Normally a free municipal solarium is installed every summer.
🕐 7/7 h24
🚍 Bus Sr D'amare Stop:Forte Vigliena ( 0 mt). Bus Open Tour stop: Belvedere S.Giacomo waterfront (200 mt walk holding the sea to the left)
The beach of Marina di Priolo is a portion of coast of exceptional natural beauty: transparent waters, a long golden beach, the saline dwelling of flamingos herons and egrets, the peninsula of Manghisi archaeological area with prehistoric tombs.
The beaches are equipped with basketball courts, dog areas, children's play areas. Facilities are adequate for those with reduced mobility. Nearby is the industrial area, congested area on summer weekends.
Lido Miramare 🕐 9-18 € 10/15 2 sunbeds + Umbrella. Info & Booking +39 342 678 7786
bus 🚍: NA
BUS AST N°21 Syracuse Ognina, Fontane Bianche, Cassibile, Syracuse. 🕐DAILY 7/7 From Syracuse 6:30 - 9:00* - 9:45 - 10:30* - 12:00* - 13:30* - 15:45 - 18:45 From Fontane Bianche 6:55 - 9:30* - 10:15 - 11:00* - 12:30* - 14:00* - 16:15 - 19:15 (* = Not on Weekend)
BUS AST N°22 Syracuse, Cassibile, Fontane Bianche, Ognina, Syracuse. 🕐 DAILY 7/7 From Syracuse :8:15 - 11:15 - 12:45 - 14:15 - 17:15 - 20:15 From Fontane Bianche:8:55 - 11:55 - 13:35 - 15:05 - 18:05 - 21:05
BUS AST N°23 Syracuse, Punta Del Pero, Plemmirio, Costa Bianca, Terrauzza, Tonnara, Costa del Sole, P.le Lido Arenella, Syracuse. 🕐 DAILY 7/7 From Syracuse: 6:45 - 8:30 - 10:00 - 11:30 - 13:00 - 14:30 - 16:00 - 17:30 - 19:00 - 20:30 From Lido Arenella (Return): 7:20 - 9:10 - 10:40 - 12:10 - 13:40 - 15:10 - 16:40 - 18:10 - 19:40 - 21:10
Tickets :1.20€/120 min - Daily/ €2.50- Weekly/€12.00- Possible to purchase on board +€0.40
Beach both free and with equipped beach. Access is via a staircase.
Beach shore Grand Hotel Ortigia.🕐 9-18
🚍Bus AST N°23. Bus Stop: Punta del Pero ( 100mt.)
Free sandy beach with no services, a natural pool. Access is trough a staircase. The beach is shared with the Hotel Minareto.Good for children. Partial Shadow available after midday
🚍 Bus: AST N°23. Bus Stop: Punta del Pero ( 1.2 km)
The area called "Pillirina" is a natural oasis with small beaches, rocky coves and seabed rich in flora and marine fauna.There are several spots where to laydown and swim.Partial shadow after midday. Good for snorkeling.
🚍 Bus AST N°23. Bus stop Via Isola ( 500 mt)( Ask the driver to stop near the beach)
Shore in very nice location attended by adults 30-50
The plemmirio's coastline, declared a protected nature reserve, has fascinating rocky coastlines, crystal clear sea and beautiful seabeds. The coast is perfect for those who love snorkeling and deep water. Cala Zaffiro 🕐 9-20 € 30/35 2 sunbeds + Umbrella July & August. June € 20. Info & Booking +39 328 159 0707.
🚍 Bus: AST N°23. Bus stop :Plemmirio Cala Zaffiro (Ask the driver to stop at Varco 27 300 meters).
In the way of the diamonds the two accesses Varco 25 & 26 offer a rocky shoreline on which to lie down, you need a soft towel or preferably a mat. The sea is really clear characterized by the deep blue in contrast to the white cliffs that sink till sea bottom, typical scenario of the Plemmirio.At VArco 25 you can find a natural pool suitable for children.
🚍 Bus AST N°23. Bus stop: Plemmirio Via dei Diamanti (Ask the driver to stop at Varco 25 , 300 meters).
Beautiful coast and crystal clear waters, available 2 private shores and public sandy beaches.
Lido Arenella beach 🕐 9am-6pm Info & Booking : +39 0931 715025 € 20/24 2 Sunbeds + umbrella
Lido Le Nereidi Solarium 🕐 9am-6pm Info & Booking +39 330 948 906 € 25 2 sunbeds + umbrella (€30 from 15/7 tilll 20/8)
From Arenella continuing towards the dunes you reach some hidden rocky coves spread over 1 km where to swim, just skirt the sea to discover them.
The beaches are connected by a path close to the sea
🚍 Bus AST N° 23. Bus stop Costa del Sole for the 2 beautiful beaches "Samoha & Platforms", at 100 and 300 meters , sandy to alternate years according to winter storms. Next Bus stop at Piazzale Arenella, beach at 100 meters.
Fontane Bianche between cliffs and beautiful white sandy beaches, bathed by the cobalt blue sea. The area is equipped with all kinds of services: restaurants, bars, pharmacy, pedalboat rental, canoes, discos, hotels, private shores and public beaches. Congested area in August.
Lido Fontane bianche.it 🕐 9am-19am Booking +39 0931 790900 2 sunbeds + umbrella June €15 , July €20/25 , August €30/35 , September €15 .
Lido Sayonara 🕐 9-19 Info & Booking +39 0931 790345 2 sunbeds + umbrella June €15(€ 20 Sunday) , July € 20(€ 25 SundayS) August € 30.
🚍 Buses AST N°21 & N°.22 Bus stop: Fontane Bianche ( 300 mt). Local train stop Fontane Bianche ( 800 meters).
Natural beach without services, wild habitat close to the Cassibile River totally in contact with nature. Parking €10/day x Car near the beach with shade trees. Entry is on the mountain side , on the right hand (going from Syracuse towards Avola), than to reach the beach U turn below the main street. For those who want to walk about 500 meters You can park for free, keeping on the main road take the side street after the entrance on the right side (Mountain side) which is located 50 meters ahead.
BEACH BUS LIDO DI NOTO (Notos' shore)
It is necessary first to reach Noto by Bus/Train and then take the shuttle to Lido di Noto
The Buses terminal is the same, if you arrive by train you have to walk 700 meters.
SR-Avola-Noto (€3.60 1h) BUS AST 🕐 from Monday to Saturday, early rides: 07:00,08:00 am ticket on the bus. Train (€3.80 /0.5h) from Monday to Saturday early rides 05.36 or 10.27 am . Ticket at the station.
Noto-Avola-SR (€3.60 1h) BUS AST 🕐 16:20,19:25,21:15 from Monday to Saturday (also by train). SUNDAYs only INTERBUS(€3.60 1h) Going SR-Noto:09.30; Back Noto-SR:17.50.
BUS Noto-Lido di Noto Departure from Noto Largo Pantheon ↱ to Calabernardo (Piazza Stella Maris), Lido di Noto (Piazza Sallicano),Eloro (Hotel Eloro).
🕐 GOING 08.15, 10.15am, 12.15pm, 3.15pm, 7.15pm, 24.00 RETURN 09.15, 11.15, 1.15pm, 5.15pm, 9.15pm €2.50/route, tickets on the bus
VENDICARI's BUS STOP 🕐 VENDICARI'S BUS STOP HAS BEEN DELETED.
Long beach near a summer residential area, you can park near the beach, served by solariums, hotels, restaurants. Congested area during peak periods.
Sunset 🕐 9-19 Info & Booking +39 342 026 5261 June €20(€25 Sunday) July €25(€30 Sunday) August €30.
🚍 Bus Noto - Lido di Noto-. Departure from Noto Largo Pantheon ↱ Bus stop Piazza Sallicano Lido di Noto. GOING 08.15, 10.15, 12.15, 15.15, 19.15, 24.00 RETURN 09.15, 11.15, 1.15pm, 5.15pm, 9.15pm €2.50/route, tickets on the bus.
The first of the 4 beautiful natural beaches of Vendicari's area;this beach was the place of parties and manhood games of the ancient Greek settlers. The sea is blue clear and crystalline , there are no equipped structures on the beach. The beaches are connected by trails. This delightful place is ideal for nature lovers looking for peace and quiet near the sea, obviously not that much in high season July/August.
By car you park about 500 meters far from the reserve entrance.
🚍 Bus Noto-Lido by Noto. Bus Stop Hotel Helios, then hiking 1 km to reach the beach of Pizzuta.
South side of the archaeological park Eloro is the second of the 4 beautiful natural beaches with soft golden sand bordered by dunes and Mediterranean vegetation.Eloro takes its name from the ancient colony whose remains lie on the headland, not far from the river Tellaro.Crossing the river you get to Marianelli beach. There are no structures, only nature.
By car you park about 300 meters far.
🚍 Bus Noto-Lido di Noto. Bus Stop Hotel Helios, then hiking 1.5 km to reach the beach of Pizzuta and then Eloro beach.
The third of the 4 beautiful natural beaches in the name of freedom is Marianelli, a beautiful destination for naturists who love nudism and gay-friendly beach. The sand is gold and the sea has an impeccable clarity. Continuing south on the trails above the dunes you reach the beautiful Cala Mosche in about 1.5 Km.
By car parking is about 800mt. faraway.
🚍 Bus Noto-Lido di Noto. Bus Stop Hotel Helios, then hiking 2.5 km on the sand to reach the beaches of Pizzuta Eloro and then Marianelli.
The fourth of the 4 beautiful natural beaches is the famous Calamosche, a ravine of extreme beauty destination for many of the tourists who visit this part of Sicily, mother nature's masterpiece.
By car parking is about 1.2 km from the beach.
🚍 Bus Noto-Lido di Noto. Bus Stop Hotel Helios, then hiking 4 km to reach the beach of Pizzuta,Eloro,Marianelli and Calamosche. Alternatively getting off the bus at Vendicari (only with the 10.15am bus ride) and then Hiking 5km.
Vendicari with its fauna, its sandy beaches, its archaeological sites is ideal for those who are looking for peace and quiet near the sea. From the main entrance you have 2 options: Left, along 1.5 km : Beach, Tonnara (Tuna factory), observatories nearby the saltpans, Calamosche beach (5km). Right, along 1.5 km: Beaches, Observatories nearby saltpans, the Citadel beach (5 km) ☠ DO NOT CROSS PROHIBITED AREAS. There are no refreshment facilities within the reserve, only before accessing it.
Car parking is about 200 meters from the main entrance.
🚍(GOING) Train Syracuse-Noto (MON to SAT) (05:36, awakening of Noto) or Bus AST (07:00.08:00) or INTERBUS (Departures from 09:30) Largo Pantheon↱ .
Then Shuttle Noto-Lido di Noto (2.5€ 1 way, last stop at Helios Hotel). Noto bus departure station is the same, Train Station is 800 mt far.
From there 8 km hiking (Nice path but hot) to reach Vendicari + 8 km back
🚍(BACK) Bus Lido di Noto(Helios hotel)-Noto (13.15-17.15-21.15), then (MON to SAT) Bus AST Noto-Syracuse 19:25 21:15 / Train Noto-Syracuse 18:18 20:18.
San Lorenzo has definitely one of the most beautiful sand type in Sicily, the color of the water, when the sea is calm, gives intense shades of blue. The area is served by several beach resorts and restaurants.
Lido San Lorenzo 🕐 9-19 Info & Booking +39 0931 841799
Agua resort 🕐 9-19 Info & Booking +39 0931 841684
By car, parking is 100 meters from the beaches.
Isola delle correnti SR-62km
Isola delle Correnti (island of the currents) is located in the far south of the European continent, 60 km further south of the North African coast, in the area of Portopalo where the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea meet. It is a long and beautiful beach with a fine golden sand and crystal clear water. Thanks to its exposure to winds it is also a great place for windsurfing. The location offers a beautiful sunset.
Scialai.it 🕐 9-22.30 Info & Booking +39 327 714 1511
By car parking is 100 meters from the beach.
Located in the western part of the Isola delle Correnti, Carratois is a well served and beautiful beach where to spend a summer day. In the summer the shores offer aperitifs and music.
Kalè Beach Club 🕐 9-23 Info & Booking +39 391 490 0267
Lido le Dune Beach 🕐 9-23 Info & Booking +39 333 827 0085
Blue White Lido 🕐 9-23 Info & Booking +39 327 656 8086
By car you park about 100 meters from the beaches.
THINGS TO DO IN SYRACUSE AND SURROUNDINGS
With years of experience in the industry, the Cape Murro Diving team
will offer the opportunity to take diving courses, freediving courses, to achieve
patents and to safely immerse yourself in one of the
most beautiful marine areas of the Mediterranean.
Anemone Diving Center is born from a huge and innate passion for the sea
and for the world of diving. A passion that has united us in an adventure
full of emotions.
. We are a sport association that proposes
technical and recreational diving courses of various levels, guided diving in the Area
Marina Protected Plemmirio and boat excursions.
The Sailing Team is a nautical charter company that organizes daily sailing tours and puts its fleet at your service for a holiday in the Aeolian Islands or the Egadi Islands.
The Skydive Sicilia team offers Skydiving and skydiving sessions in
tandem or single arrangement The team also offers a school for those wishing to
venture alone into a unique experience.
An excursus from prehistoric "tribal art" from alien design to the grandeur of the classical monuments of Greek and Roman Syracuse, from the places of Ovid's metamorphosis and of the rat of Proserpina, set of the Eleusinian mysteries, of the Dionysian rites and worship of the sun, home of nymphs muses menads heroes divinities and monstrous creatures such as Arethusa, Alpheus, Hercules, Hades, Artemis, Apollo Ciane and the Gorgons.
A journey into the lost empire of Syracuse between tyranny, democracy, philosophy, wars and vicissitudes.
A tour through enchanted gardens, latomies a place of imprisonment and death, Swabian and even older castles, Renaissance architecture and works of art, Baroque palaces, early Christian churches of the west, catacombs and Byzantine frescoes, vibrant poems, fantastic tales , places of the martyrdom of St. Lucia, of the miracle of the tearing of Our Lady.
Places of passage for thousands of migratory birds, high rocks overlooking the sea, dream beaches, deep gorges, waterfalls, rivers rich in papyrus, unique wines including the Muscat of Syracuse, the folklore of the Arab market, good food and much more.
Visiting a winery is definitely an intense experience, a sensory journey through the flavors of wine, tradition, the scents of wineries and the beauty of the landscapes.
We take walks through the vineyards, we talk about tasting techniques and viticulture, we taste the best wines and meet directly the wine makers.
In addition to wine, the tasting of oil , cheeses and cured meats produced in the area is often proposed. A visit to the winery starts from €20
Deep and long canyon carved from the waters of the Cassibile River richly populated by eastern willow and white poplars. Here the waterways have carved their beds into the limestone rock forming gorges and cavities of rare beauty that have hosted different populations over the millennia. In addition to the sedentary and migratory bird in the Canyon there are also several terrestrial and river species: the river crab, the marsh turtle and the macrostigma trout.
Difficulty: medium. Descent duration about 40 minutes. Elevation gap 500 meters. Required: closed shoes, hat, swimsuit, drinking water and food.
Car parking is near the entrance (20 meters)
🚍 No Public Bus
Crystal clear sea, long and golden beaches, incredible landscapes, Mediterranean vegetation, bird watching observers that will allow you to admire flamingos, herons, storks and other splendid birds.
The peculiarity of Vendicari oasis e is given by the different biotypes that compose it: from the pools that form the marshes to the rocky and sandy coast or the typical Mediterranean scrub.
Both the terrestrial environments surrounding the marshes and the aquatic environments are characterized by an extraordinary variety of habitats and exceptional biodiversity: this is due, as far as the former is concerned, to the presence of very different substrates, to particular hydrogeological characteristics and the different physical-chemical characteristics of the waters.
There is a very dense Mediterranean scrub, which in general characterizes the territory with lentils, myrtics, junceum, wild olive trees.
The coastal sandy environment includes, distributed in parallel strips to the coast from shore to inland, sea rocket, salicornia, beach-grass, Eryngium creticum, maritime euphoria, sea lily; flowering beach, cornflower beach, sea fennel, in the strips behind the dunes; an exclusive, dense and uninterrupted strip of Mediterranean scrub with juniper, along with ephedra, lentischio and fillirea in the innermost and most undisturbed dunes.
Vendicari represents not only an important nerve area in the migratory and wintering routes of many bird species (over 200 species, some residents and some nesters, including the spatula, ash heron, stork, flamingo, ibis wild goose, pink seagull, black-winged stilt, stone curl, others) but it also gives refuge to many mammals (Silicon embody, dormouse, hedgehog, pygmy shrew, vole, porcupine, fox, weasel, wild rabbit), amphibians and reptiles (colubro, grass snake, leopard rat snake, green lizard, marsh turtle) and insects.
Also important is the marsh environment, where there are numerous species of aquatic fauna (fish, crustaceans, reptiles) and submerged vegetation (algae and several fanerogames, proper to these environments).
The marine environment in front of these marshes - characterized by shallow seabeds consisting of both rocks covered by algal associations and sandy and grasslands of the Oceanic Poseidonia, and populated by appreciated fish fauna (sea bass, sea bream, dassie) - is among the areas identified by the Law for the establishment of a marine reserve (AMP).
Parallel to the entire coastal section of the reserve there are a series of easy paths (accessible from the entrances Eloro, Calamosche, Main Entry Tonnara and Citadella) that can be walked almost non-stop.
From the main entrance, where the Information Point is located and a first hut to observe the birds, you can proceed both left (north) and right (south).
In the first case, moving between the coast and the Great and Small Marshes, in succession you will meet the beach , the Tonnara (old tuna factory ) , the Swabian tower station and the visitor center (7min), an observation point (14min) and the beach of Calamosche (37min), from which with a detour (18min) is you can reach the entry of the same name;
Heading south(right hand side), immersed in the beautiful vegetation with juniper scrub, between the shore and the banks of the Roveto and the swamps of the Sichili, you will meet in succession the mouth of the swamp of Sichili (beyond which you reach an additional observation point on the Sichili swamp with a slight detour), the beach and South entrance (30min). (30min).
Route by car Entrance Avengers Tonnara ↱ parking lot at about 200 meters.
From the main entrance you have 2 options:
Left: Pantano Grande (big marsh) observatory (400mt), Beach (500mt), Tonnara (600mt), Pantano piccolo (marsh) Observatory (1.7km) ,Calamosche (5km).
Right: Beach (600 meters) ,Observatory (1.5km), the Citadel at 5 km (in front of a fantastic portion of beach) ☠ DO NOT CROSS FORBIDDEN PORTION OF BEACH.
Refreshment facilities are available only before you access into the reserve.
Itinerary by BUS Entrance from Helios hotel 8 km + 8 km return Bus from Noto to Lido di Noto (8.15,10.15), Bus Stop Hotel Helios. From Hotel Elios Hiking 8 km through the beaches of Pizzuta, Eloro, Marianelli, Cala Mosche and then reach the Tonnara of Vendicari and the main entrance. Walking another 5 km you reach the Citadel of Vendicari one of the most beautiful beaches in the area.( If not covered by seaweeds)
Also important is the historical profile: there are, in fact, some latomie (stone quarries) of the 5th century BC . used in the ancient Greek city of Eloro for the construction of temples and monuments.
La Trigona: a square-plan Byzantine Cuba with three apses, an upper dome and an eastward opening so that, as a tradition, the light of the full moon by entering the building announced the beginning of Holy Easter.
Dating back to medieval times the Swabian Tower built by Pietro of Aragon, Count of Alburquerque and Duke of Noto (1406-1438), to signal and repel attacks by Saracen and Barbarian pirates.
Another marvel to visit, from more recent times - 700th - is the Tonnara di Vendicari, also calledBafutu the activity of the Tonnara has always been facilitated by the presence of salt pans.
Literally a dive into the past for an unparalleled experience: walking on the beach where ancient population more than 2000 years ago fished, ran, rejoiced, fought and died;dive into the waters in front of the ancient Heloros, where walls, Hellenistic houses, portion of a theatrical cavea, a Shrine of Demetra and Kore are visible; relax among the changing colors of the clear sea and be able to relive the summer atmosphere so' as the ancestral inhabitants did, it will become an indelible memory.
Literary sources provide little information about the site connected to Syracuse by the Elorina Road. In 493 BC Hippocrates tyrant of Gela defeated the Syracusans on Elorian territory. Not far from Eloro, the Syracusans defeated the Athenians in the Battle of the Assinaro in 413 BC; Eloro surrendered to Marcellus (Rome) in 214 BC.
🚍 BUS Noto-Lido di Noto. Bus Stop Hotel Helios. From Hotel Elios by 1 km hiking you reach the beach of Pizzuta which is located to the left of the ruins. The beach on the right is named Eloro-Tellaro from river's name.
The car can be parked at the entrance tof the reserve near the Helios hotel about 800 meters from the beach.
Note. The archaeological park is currently closed, the ruins are visible from the outside along a path that circumnavigates the site.
The remains of the villa were found in 1971 under a 17th-century farm near the Tellaro River.
Among the mosaics of the two rooms, scenes of the redemption of the body of Hector: Ulysses, Achilles and Diomedes, identified by inscriptions in ancient Greek, are weighing the hero's body.
The mosaic floor in the second room shows a hunting scene with an outdoor banquet between the trees. The female figure in the scene is the personification of Africa.
The mosaic scenes found in the second room are reminiscent of the mosaics in the Villa Romana del Casale near Piazza Armerina, however this mosaic has more stylized figures and two-dimensional and uncertain proportions, making the effect very different.
The mosaics were probably the work of North African craftsmen.
The carpark is beside the villa.
summer 🕐 7/7 , 8.30am-6pm (Winter 8.30am-4.30pm) Currently Free Entry (7/11/2019).
Access Mobility reduced YES.
14 Aperitivo in Marzamemi
The charming seaside village of Syracuse province is a real treat not to be missed.
Any description of Marzamemi would be reductive, the real beauty lies in discovering the alleys and the enchanting sea views that this incredible village will offer to you.
Its birth dates back to around the year thousand when the Arabs built here the Tonnara, which for many centuries was the main of the whole of Eastern Sicily.
In the heart of the village, Piazza Regina Margherita ↱,will leave you breathless: here overlook the two churches of the village dedicated both to the patron saint, St. Francis of Paola, the Palace of Villadorata and, all around, the fishermen's houses, dating back to 1600s.
The village is framed by the two natural ports: La Fossa and la Balata. On summer weekends the village is congested ,the atmosphere is not the same.
By car you park 300 meters from the main avenue of Marzamemi, the main square is about 600 meters away.
On summer weekends the village is quite popular therefore crowded , quiet and relaxing atmosphere can be found in Spring and Autumn.
For those who want, a professional tour guide will take you through the baroque streets of this beautiful Unesco-listed city,you will learn about the beauty the secrets and the intrigues of the stone garden, open-air artwork and one of the finest jewels of the Sicilian Baroque .
🚆 TRAIN:1h/4€ From Syracuse Station to Noto Station (centre 1.1 km uphill walk) ☞ Trenitalia
At Isola delle Correnti we are at the far south of the European continent, 60km more south of the north coast of Africa, a place of intense colors and smells. The location offers a beautiful sunset, long beaches and crystal clear sea.
You can park about 100 meters from the beach.
An itinerary off the normal tourist routes will make you discover an unexpected treasure of nature art and good food where you will meet helpful and kind people towards visitors.
Starting from Syracuse, a car tour will take you through the Medieval villages of the Iblei Mountains, small towns that can be reached through paths between the Iblei valleys. Below are the main architectural works to be seen during short stops along the route.
Cassaro, Church of St. Anthony Abbot 1760
Built between 1693 and 1760 at the behest of citizens who participated through large cash donations. The sides of the staircase are embellished with original geometric decorations. The baroque facade well slender with three bells was designed by Domenico Blamato from Floridia . In the original design there was a loggia hosting a bell that was never put in place. The entrance portal is bordered by two beautiful columns adorned with superb decorations. On the sides of the portal are on display two niches that contain the statues of St. Anthony Abbot and Our Lady with the Child.
Ferla, Basilica of St. Sebastian 1481 / 1741
Reconstructed after the earthquake of 1693 on an existing church of 1400 on the design of the architect and sculptor Michelangelo Di Giacomo da Buccheri, completed in 1741 in ibleo Baroque style. After the redevelopment, the temple was more impressive than the previous one till the point of competing for the title of Mother Church.
Buccheri, St Mary Magdalene Church.
Reconstructed in 1750 with a facade by the Buccaneer architect Michelangelo Di Giacomo, it contains the marble statue of Magdalene carved in 1508 by Antonello Gagini, a 16th-century wooden crucifix placed in the central altar, a 17th-century canvas depicting St Michael in the left aisle and a painting depicting St. Ambrose, patron of the village, of the mid-18th century.
Buscemi, St. Anthony Church from Padua
Defined a particular example in the Sicilian Baroque landscape for the movement given to the facade. The interior, which probably follows the architectural structure of the seventeenth century, houses an 18th-century wooden statue of theSour of great plastic intensity and some tombs of members of the Requesenz family.
Palazzolo, Basilica of St. Paul
The Church of St. Paul, patron saint of Palazzolo Acreide, rebuilt in the 18th century thanks to charity is truly spectacular. It has a stunning three-story tower baroque facade with high columns and arches ending with the elegant bell tower at the top. The three aisles stretch between masterpieces of religious art, be they sculptures, paintings or architectural details, such as those that emphasize the originality of the fourth altar on the left that seems to defy every law of physics. The attention, however, is immediately transmitted to the altar, framed by two large spiral columns: in the center, behind the large canvas of Crestadoro depicting the Conversion of St. Paul, there is the statue of the saint wielding a sword, carved on wood by Vincenzo Lorefice 1567.
Canicattini Bagni , Alfano Bridge
The bridge of St. Alfano built in 1796 connects Canicattini Bagni to the feud of St. Alfano. The two statues on the sides of the large arch carry a bread and a wicker wine bottle. A legend has it that the two statues represent two characters with the names of Currarinu and Calamaru, two peasants divided by deep hatred and rivalry, who one day gathered on the bridge to challenge each other. The duel led them to kill each other.
Bathing in the river, walking through the ravines and the gorges of Pantalica as the first human settlements did 15 centuries ago is definitely a unique experience.
How to get there by car:
From Syracuse and Catania (A18 motorway) take the Sortino exit.
From Ragusa SS194 drive to Giarratana - Buccheri - Sortino (Main Access) or continue towards Giarratana Palazzolo, Cassaro Ferla (Secondary Access)
Pantalica route 9 km (round trip) divided into different routes.
By Car main entrance Sortino side, street side parking near the entrance.
By Car entrance Filiporto Cassaro side, roadside parking near the entrance.
Access: free. Opening hours: April-September 7-19, October March 8-17. Equipment needed: hiking or gym shoes , water and hat in summer. Mobile network: no. Total area: 3,712 hectares. Municipalities: Ferla, Cassaro, Buscemi, Palazzolo Acreide.
Points of interest: Bat cave, Nordic necropolis, Byzantine village Cavetta, Anaktoron, north-west necropolis, Filiport necropolis, small museum, Anapo river, Calcinara river, Cavagrande river
The Reserve, founded in July 1997, is located in the area of the "Ibleo plateau", which characterizes much of southeastern Sicily. The territory of the reserve constitutes a remarkable complex of great interest in terms of geomorphology, nature, landscape, history, archaeology and ethnoanthropology.
The pantalica site in southeastern Sicily is best known for its vast cemeteries of chambered tombs carved into the rock dating back to the 13th and 7th centuries BC. An estimated 5000 graves are distributed around the flanks of a large headland located at the junction of the Anapo River with its tributary, Calcinara river.
In addition to its archaeological interest is an important nature reserve (Pantalic Oriented Nature Reserve) with a variety of local flora and fauna and natural caves (especially the Cave of the Bats).
Various routes facilitate visitor access, including a disused railway line (dismantled in 1956) along the Anapo valley floor. You can access the headland directly with a car from Ferla, or by walking along the old mule track from the parking lot on the road from Sortino and crossing the Calcinara stream.
In the 13th century BC some coastal settlements were abandoned probably due to the arrival of the Siculi on the island and the beginning of more unstable conditions, Pantalica offered a natural defense.
Pantalica evidently flourished for about 600 years, from about 1250 to 650 BC. The current name of the site probably dates back to the early Middle Ages or the Arab period. The ancient name of the uncertain site is associated by some archaeologists with the siculus king Hyblon,mentioned by Thucydides in connection with the founding of the Greek colony of Megara Hyblaea in 728 BC.
For many centuries before the Greek colonization Pantalica was undoubtedly one of the main sites of eastern Sicily dominating the surrounding territory including subsidiary settlements. Around 650 BC, however, it seems to have been a victim of the expansion of the city of Syracuse, which at that time formed an outpost at Akrai (Palazzolo Acreide).
However, it was still occupied during classical antiquity, since artifacts from the IV-IIIcentury BC. (Hellenistic period) are attested, as well as during the late ancient or Byzantine periods. After the 12th century it was probably largely deserted and obscured by Sortino.
The remains visible today consist mainly of numerous prehistoric burial chambers carved into the limestone rock, sometimes equipped with a porch or a short entrance hallway in front of the burial chamber, originally sealed with stones or a slab. There are also some large houses carved into the rock with uncertain dates (often called Byzantine, but perhaps of earlier origins).
The so-called Anaktoron or princely palace, located near the top of the hill, is also controversial. The thought of some archaeologists originally was of a late Bronze Age building inspired by Thecenaean buildings, it was more certainly occupied in the Byzantine period.
The remains of a large defensive moat cut into limestone are clearly visible in Filiporto (on the western side of the headland, closer to Ferla);
probably dating back to the 4th century BC. It represents a defensive work of Greek military design, probably in line with the policy of Dionysus of Syracuse, designed to protect allied sites inland.
There are also three small medieval chapels carved into the rock popularly called the Crucifix Cave (near the North Cemetery), the Cave of San Nicolicchio (on the south side) and the Cave of San Micidario (in Filiporto), which retain faint traces of frescoes that attest to the presence of small monastic communities.
The site was mainly excavated between 1895 and 1910 by the illustrious Italian archaeologist Paolo Orsi although most of the tombs had already been emptied long before his arrival. Bears' finds are on display in the Archaeological Museum of Syracuse, including characteristic burnished terracotta pots and metal objects including weapons (small knives and daggers) and clothing items such as bronze fibulas (pins) and rings, placed with the deceased in the tombs. Most of the graves contained between 1 and 7 individuals of all ages and sexes. Many graves have evidently been reopened periodically to admit other burials.
The average lifespan of human life in that period was probably around 30 years. The size of the prehistoric population is difficult to estimate, it could easily have been 1000 or more people.
Pantalica has five cemeteries spread over a large area:
The necropolis of Filiporto consists of almost 1000 tombs located on the southwestern side of the headland (accessible from the road from Ferla). In the same area are the remains of the defensive rock ditch of later era (probably 4th century BC) that crosses the headland at the narrowest point.
The northwestern necropolis is one of the oldest (12th - 11th century BC) and is crossed by the paved road from Ferla.
The necropolis of Cavetta has tombs and houses carved into the rock visible from the street and designated observation platforms.
The northern necropolis is a spectacular cemetery of about 1000 tombs that cover the very steep slopes that dominate the Calcinara River, best seen from the track from Sortino and the observation platforms near the trail. Remains of large mansions carved into the rock lie on the gentler slopes to the east.
The southern necropolis stretches along the Anapo River for over 1 kilometer and it is easily visible from the roadway at the bottom of the valley (a path takes you down from the Anaktoron). The old railway station, restored, has information about the local fauna and flora.
The so-called Anaktoron (a mycenaean princely palace) at the top of the hill is a multi-room building with various rectangular halls excavated in the 19th century by Paolo Orsi. Its origins are obscure (see above) but they were certainly used in the Byzantine period as attested by the shingles and pottery found.
ANAKTORON, NEW NEW
Wlking path of Anapo's Valley 13 km + 13 km Return. Difficulty: easy.
St Paul's Church