Ortigia

Ortygia

The city of Syracuse was founded in 734 BC by the Corinthians from Greece. Led by Archias of Corinth, they settled in the area of Ortygia, the island that today forms the city’s historic centre.
Veduta di OrtigiaSyracuse was the most beautiful and the largest city in the Greek colonies. It was a splendid sight from whichever point you arrived. Those arriving from the north, along a road full of monuments, would pass through a gigantic gateway with six entrances called Esapilo; while those arriving from the south skirted the immense Temple of Olympian Zeus, which watched over the city like a protector.
But nothing was more beautiful than reaching Syracuse from the sea: this was the most exciting perspective, which all travellers found breathtaking. From the sea, sailors could see the port of Syracuse and the light of the great golden shield that decorated the pediment of the Greek temple of Athena in the centre of Ortygia.
A stretch of freshwater, the Fountain of Arethusa rose near the sea, while fire burned in the sacred enclosure around the majestic temples of Ortygia, where the ancient Greeks made sacrifices to the gods and worshipped the gods of Olympus.
In this peaceful and prosperous climate, the mathematician Archimedes devoted himself to his studies, discoveries and inventions including the lever, buoyancy, pi (π) and of course, the burning mirrors and war machines. He also cultivated his main interests of geometry and astronomy.

The interior of the Cathedral of Syracuse

The naumachiae: naval battles at the theatre

Neapolis and the air element. The Ear of Dionysius

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

Pantalica and the earth element

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

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

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

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

Nature in Neapolis

A journey to Pantalica

Giudecca and air. The Basilica of San Giovannello

The Neapolis

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

Ortygia

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Pantalica and water: the Myth of the Anapo River

Giudecca and fire. Cooking and the Jewish religion

The fountain of Diana in Piazza Archimede

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

Giudecca

Neapolis and the water element. The Nymphaeum

Giudecca and the earth element. Between gardens and artisan workshops

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

Ortygia and water. The Fountain of Arethusa