Hypogea and Catacombs: the Paleochristian era

The catacombs of San Giovanni

Just outside the ancient walls of the city, near the Neapolis Archaeological Park, stands the Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe in all its beauty.
The evocative open-air church houses two treasures dug into the rock in its cellars: the crypt of St. Marciano and the catacombs of San Giovanni .
The catacomb of San Giovanni dates back to 315 AD and was in use until the 5th century.
A web of dark and mysterious tunnels carved into the limestone, they form a labyrinth.
From a main tunnel called the decumanus maximus, which was originally a Greek aqueduct, ten secondary tunnels, called the cardines, branch off at right angles.
Along this underground grid it is possible to observe different types of tombs : the loculus, the arcosolium and the forma. From the galleries it is possible to access larger circular spaces: the cubicula , covered by a dome with a central skylight.
These rooms house chapels and tombs for martyrs or the most illustrious people.
Inside the chapels, or next to the entry openings, some glass ampullae were found, kept at the “Paolo Orsi” Archaeological Museum in Syracuse.
Five chapels named Eusebio, Sette Vergini, Antiochia, Anonima and Adelfia were discovered.
The latter owes its name to a sarcophagus found in 1827 by the archaeologist Francesco Saverio Cavallari , on which is carved the portrait of the couple Adelphia and Lucius Aradius Valerius Proculus, a governor of Sicily.
The numerous epigraphs found inside the catacomb have given us important information, not only from an iconographic point of view, but also from a historical and social point of view: the inscription from the 5th century AD of Euskia, for example, found in 1894 by the archaeologist Paolo Orsi , is the oldest testimony of the devotion and worship of St. Lucia in Syracuse.

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

Crypt of San Marciano

The cultural significance of tragedy

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

The Roman Amphitheatre

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

Byzantine Pantalica

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

The Euryalus Fortress

Where seas and civilisations meet

The Gladiator performances

Neapolis from past to present

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

The catacombs of San Giovanni

Temple of Apollo

The architecture of the Piazza

The Senatorial Palace

The functions of Castello Maniace

Castello Maniace

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

The Venationes

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

The Jews, a wandering people

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

The Culture of Pantalica

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

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

The Spanish fortification

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius