Ortigia

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

Today Syracuse is an invaluable treasure chest of memories that preserves different moments from its history, from the Siceliot tyrants to the Spanish sovereigns who chose it as their royal residence. Its origin, however, remains linked to the worship of water: the image of the Sicilian city can be summarised in the body of a woman: Venus Anadyomene , the goddess rising from the waters of the port. Ortygia is the name of the island that forms the oldest part of the city of Syracuse and delimits the Porto Grande.
The image of the great port of Syracuse, structured by nature in such a way that it is surrounded by the city itself, identified the image of Ortygia in the memory and representations of ancient travellers.
Over the centuries, Syracuse has been shrouded in a fascination that has fuelled the curiosity of scholars and intellectuals from all periods.
Aerea OrtigiaFor example, Virgil , an ancient Latin poet, named a precise place in the topography of Syracuse: Ortygia . The name of this island, the beating heart of the city of Syracuse, is derived from the ancient Greek ortix, meaning “quail”. Its story is told in the dense plot of its streets, in the search for signs of the passage and overlapping of different cultures.
Monuments, palaces and Baroque churches built over the Greek ruins populate the streets of Ortygia and mix with medieval buildings, oriental atmospheres and Jewish and Arab traces.
Even the island’s urban layout allows you to observe from above what becomes evident when you walk within it: on an interweaving of Greek linear streets, successive cultures, curvilinear forms and deviations take shape that have generated a “continuum” along the thin, almost invisible, borders that separate one dominion from another.

The Cathedral of Syracuse

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

The Senatorial Palace

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

The Euryalus Fortress

The architecture of the Piazza

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

The functions of Castello Maniace

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

The Jews, a wandering people

The Spanish fortification

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

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

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

The Gladiator performances

The cultural significance of tragedy

Temple of Apollo

Where seas and civilisations meet

Neapolis from past to present

Byzantine Pantalica

The catacombs of San Giovanni

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

The Venationes

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

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

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

The Culture of Pantalica

The Roman Amphitheatre

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

Crypt of San Marciano

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

Castello Maniace

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse