A journey to Pantalica

A journey to Pantalica

Pantalica is one of the most important archaeological areas in Sicily and is located in the province of Syracuse, between the municipalities of Ferla and Sortino.
This area has been inhabited since the first half of the 13th century BC, during the Bronze Age. In fact, in this period the Sicani peoples who lived along the coasts of eastern Sicily moved inland to escape pirate raids and the arrival of new populations from the sea, settling in Pantalica. In their eyes, this territory was a real natural fortress, located on the plateau of the Hyblaean Mountains and surrounded to the north by the Calcinara stream and to the south by the Anapo river.
Veduta Necropoli PantalicaAccording to some scholars, the city of Herbessus, an important township in Sicily, once stood in this territory. According to others, the site of Pantalica corresponds to Hybla, a Sicilian kingdom that from the 13th to the 8th century BC extended from the Anapo valley to Syracuse.
The site’s name derives from the Arabic word Buntarigah, meaning “caves”, due to the presence of numerous natural and artificial caves.

Traces of the prehistoric village of Pantalica stopped in the 8th century BC. It was only many centuries later, around the 6th century AD in the Byzantine period, that the area was repopulated. The caves of the ancient necropolis were enlarged and used as dwellings or churches.

Ortygia and water. The Fountain of Arethusa

Nature in Neapolis

Giudecca and the earth element. Between gardens and artisan workshops

Ortygia and fire. Archimedes and the invention of the burning mirrors

Giudecca and water. The ritual baths: the Casa Bianca mikveh

Pantalica and air. The skies of Pantalica: from hawks to bats

Giudecca and fire. Cooking and the Jewish religion

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Pantalica and water: the Myth of the Anapo River

The interior of the Cathedral of Syracuse

Pantalica and the earth element


Neapolis and the earth element. Places of performance: the Greek theatre and the Roman amphitheatre

Giudecca and air. The Basilica of San Giovannello

A journey to Pantalica

The Neapolis

The naumachiae: naval battles at the theatre

Neapolis and the water element. The Nymphaeum

Ortygia and the air element. The Gods of Olympus and the Temple of Apollo.

Pantalica and fire. The Metal Age: objects from the culture of Pantalica

Ortygia and the earth element. Piazza del Duomo: discovering the origins.


The fountain of Diana in Piazza Archimede

Neapolis and fire. The Altar of Hieron and the sacrificial fire

Neapolis and the air element. The Ear of Dionysius