Ortigia

Discovering the origins and traditions of Syracuse

The history of its ancient greatness has made Syracuse a mythical place, a city where every corner slips into the past and transmits memory through the indelible testimony of ancient civilisations. Thanks to a memorable exploration in archaeological history conducted by Paolo Orsi between 1912 and 1917 in the area of Piazza del Duomo (and later in 1999 by the archaeologist Giuseppe Voza), numerous findings have emerged, such as terracotta objects, sculptures and architectural remains, which testify to an intense presence in this area already in prehistoric times.
Some of these finds, bearers of mysterious stories and meanings, have provided valuable insight into the habits of the ancient Greeks: for example, their gastronomic culture , their table manners and the games that took place during a symposium .
Black lines made with molten lead can be found along the pavement that covers the square.
They form two concentric rectangles and indicate the existence underground of traces of the oldest sacred building in Greek Syracuse.
In fact, this was the home of an òikos from the 8th century BC: a house of worship, built in raw brick or wood, the perimeter of which has been identified.
The structure was later incorporated into another Templar building from the 7th century BC, symbolised today by the larger rectangle.
The first concern of the Greeks when they founded a city was to consecrate the land by erecting a building and making a sacrifice. It is possible that this small temple represents the Corinthians’ act of founding the Syracusan settlement.
Lastly, the square’s function as a sacred place is shown by the construction of two monumental temples: one Ionic, the  Arthemision , and one Doric, the Athenaion, later transformed into a Catholic church.

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

The Culture of Pantalica

Temple of Apollo

The Roman Amphitheatre

The Spanish fortification

The Euryalus Fortress

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Neapolis from past to present

Crypt of San Marciano

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

Where seas and civilisations meet

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

The Gladiator performances

The architecture of the Piazza

The catacombs of San Giovanni

Byzantine Pantalica

The Senatorial Palace

The cultural significance of tragedy

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

The functions of Castello Maniace

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

Roman Syracuse, a military power thanks to the genius of Archimedes

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

The Jews, a wandering people

Castello Maniace

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

King Hyblon’s kingdom: Pantalica, between history and legend

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

The Venationes

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse