The Giudecca

The Jews, a wandering people

In the heart of the Mediterranean, Syracuse played a primary role as a cultural centre in the antiquity. This geo-cultural context also involves the Jewish communities that throughout the first millennium, following the diaspora, were concentrated in insular Italy, until their expulsion in 1492 by the Catholic sovereigns.
A cloud of oblivion has long since shrouded the life of the Jews in Sicily, a cloud so thick that the ghettos, synagogues, cemeteries, sacred furnishings and books that belonged to some of the oldest communities in the Diaspora seemed to have been swept away by the harshness of history.
The task of investigating echoes and traces of distant Jewish settlements has been entrusted to archaeological discoveries and research in archival documentation. Jews were definitely in Syracuse from the 4th-5th century AD.
We know this thanks to archaeological evidence, but some scholars have suggested that the city was already inhabited by Jews before, considering the city’s unique position along the sea and the trade route that connected Asia Minor to Rome.
In the age of Pope Gregory I and throughout the Middle Ages, the Jews in Syracuse were not only landowners or tenants on church property, but mainly artisans and merchants.
Among their crafts, the most widespread were silk weaving, fabric dyeing and leather tanning.

The Senatorial Palace

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

The Culture of Pantalica

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

The catacombs of San Giovanni

Where seas and civilisations meet

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

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

Neapolis from past to present

The Euryalus Fortress

The functions of Castello Maniace

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

Castello Maniace

The Jews, a wandering people

The Venationes

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

The Roman Amphitheatre

The cultural significance of tragedy

Byzantine Pantalica

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

The Gladiator performances

The Spanish fortification

Temple of Apollo

The architecture of the Piazza

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

Crypt of San Marciano

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari