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.

Crypt of San Marciano

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

The functions of Castello Maniace

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

Neapolis from past to present

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

Where seas and civilisations meet

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

The Spanish fortification

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

The Gladiator performances

Temple of Apollo

The architecture of the Piazza

The Jews, a wandering people

The Senatorial Palace

The catacombs of San Giovanni

The Venationes

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

Castello Maniace

The cultural significance of tragedy

The Culture of Pantalica

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Byzantine Pantalica

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

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

The Euryalus Fortress

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

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

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

The Roman Amphitheatre