The Neapolis

Neapolis and the water element. The Nymphaeum

In Neàpolis the water element is linked to a very evocative place: the ninfèo, or nymphaeum.
Above the Greek theatre there is a terrace where in ancient times there was a sanctuary dedicated to the muses. In this place, called the museion, actors would gather before going on stage and performing at the theatre.
In the middle of a rock wall on this terrace, there is a cave with a vaulted ceiling. Inside, a rectangular basin collects the water that flows from a small waterfall. The fountain is linked to the Greek worship of nymphs , the deities of nature, hence the name of this place: il ninfèo (the nymphaeum).
Grotta del ninfeo
At the entrance to the ninfèo, there were statues dedicated to the muses. Three of these statues, dating from the 2nd century BC, are now kept at the Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum.
The water that reaches the interior of the cave came from two aqueducts built in Greek times: the Nymphaeum Aqueduct and the Galermi Aqueduct.
To the east of the Grotta del Ninfeo there was a complex of water mills from the Spanish era.
They received water from the cave and poured it into the theatre after it was used to grind grain.
Currently, only the “millers’ cottage” of this complex remains visible today: a tower connected to the historical period of the Mulini di Galerme, the Galerme Mills.

Neapolis and the water element. The Nymphaeum

The naumachiae: naval battles at the theatre

Pantalica and the earth element

The Neapolis

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

The interior of the Cathedral of Syracuse

Nature in Neapolis

The fountain of Diana in Piazza Archimede

Pantalica and water: the Myth of the Anapo River

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

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


Giudecca and the earth element. Between gardens and artisan workshops

Giudecca and fire. Cooking and the Jewish religion

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

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

A journey to Pantalica

Giudecca and air. The Basilica of San Giovannello

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

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

Ortygia and water. The Fountain of Arethusa

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Neapolis and the air element. The Ear of Dionysius


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