The Giudecca

Giudecca and the earth element. Between gardens and artisan workshops

In ancient Giudecca, the earth element is held within its very streets.
As you tread the “earth” and walk through the narrow alleys of this district, you can discover its secrets and learn about its stories from the past.
These are stories about its ancient inhabitants: the Jews, who were mainly artisans and merchants.
While Piazza del Duomo was the centre of Ortygia, home to the most elegant and important buildings, Giudecca was a district dedicated to trade, and its streets were lined with all kinds of shops.
There were the blacksmiths' , workshops, silk sellers and fabric dyers, and the famous “cannamela” workshop. Cannamela was sugar cane, processed by the “sugar master”. Giudecca also had a fish market, butcher’s shop and ovens for baking bread.
These lively and well-stocked markets were also an attraction for the Syracusans.
The streets and commercial squares of Giudecca were called “platee”. The Jewish houses were in fact both homes and workshops.
They had a ground floor open to the street that was used as a shop; in the back were adjoining courtyards with gardens and warehouses, while the upper floor was used as a private dwelling.
The garden, or “farmyard”, was used for agricultural activities, with a well and a vegetable garden where aromatic plants and vegetables were grown.

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

The fountain of Diana in Piazza Archimede

The Neapolis

Pantalica and water: the Myth of the Anapo River

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

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

Neapolis and the water element. The Nymphaeum

Giudecca and the earth element. Between gardens and artisan workshops

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

Nature in Neapolis

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


The naumachiae: naval battles at the theatre

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

Giudecca and air. The Basilica of San Giovannello

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

The Cathedral of Syracuse

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

Pantalica and the earth element

Ortygia and water. The Fountain of Arethusa


A journey to Pantalica

The interior of the Cathedral of Syracuse

Neapolis and the air element. The Ear of Dionysius

Giudecca and fire. Cooking and the Jewish religion