The system of fortifications from land to sea

The functions of Castello Maniace

An important monument from the Suevian period, the Castello Maniace is one of the most beautiful Frederician castles. Its original use is unknown: according to some scholars it was a “palatium”, the sovereign’s royal residence; according to others, the castle had a defensive role, and was therefore a “castrum”.
Under the Angevins, Castello Maniace became a royal property; while during the Aragonese period the city of Syracuse became the seat of the Camera Reginale, an institution that placed the city as the queen’s dowry. From 1305 to 1536, the castle was home to numerous queens: Constance, Queen of Sicily in 1362; Maria, Queen of Sicily in 1399; Blanche I of Navarre in 1416; and, finally, Germaine of Foix, the second wife of Ferdinand II of Aragon. For almost the entire 15th century the Castle was used as a prison. At the end of the 16th century, in the general plan to fortify the city, Castello Maniace became a strategic point of the city walls designed by the Spanish military engineer Antonio Ferramolino. On 5 November 1704, an explosion in the armoury destroyed the building.
In the following years a reconstruction was carried out, which, leaving the parts damaged by the explosion unaltered, involved the enlargement of the courtyard and the construction of some warehouses.

The Spanish fortification

Temple of Apollo

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

Castello Maniace

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

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

Where seas and civilisations meet

Byzantine Pantalica

The Culture of Pantalica

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

The Venationes

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

The functions of Castello Maniace

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

The architecture of the Piazza

Crypt of San Marciano

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

The catacombs of San Giovanni

The Cathedral of Syracuse

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

Neapolis from past to present

The Euryalus Fortress

The cultural significance of tragedy

The Roman Amphitheatre

The Jews, a wandering people

The Senatorial Palace

The Gladiator performances

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius