The Neapolis

The Gladiator performances

Valerius Maximus, a historian from the age of Tiberius, wrote that during a gladiator fight in Syracuse, Haterius Rufus, a Roman knight, died when he was accidentally pierced by a gladiator’s sword.
This anecdote is a testimony to the early interest aroused by gladiator games even in a province like Sicily, which was undoubtedly more Greek than Roman in culture.
The gladiator games probably originated from Etruscan funerary rites, but they soon became a form of pure public entertainment in the Roman Empire, and after also in Sicily.
The gladiators , whose name comes from gladius, their sword, were usually criminals, slaves, prisoners of war or people condemned to death, who were specially trained to fight.
Their position was servile and shameful: the gladiators were placed within organisations called familiae, run by an owner who took care of nourishment and combat preparation.
Trained by doctores, the gladiators lived in ludi (barracks/schools with small cells placed around a courtyard). Accompanied by the sound of various musical instruments, the fights took place between the encouragement of the audience until one of the duellists fell.
The defeated gladiator was taken away by servants, disguised as Charon or Mercury Psychopomp, then buried without any formalities. On the other hand, the winner, between the rejoicing and excitement of the spectators, received the palm or crown of victory along with trays of coins.

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

The architecture of the Piazza

The Roman Amphitheatre

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

Crypt of San Marciano

The cultural significance of tragedy

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

The catacombs of San Giovanni

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

Temple of Apollo

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

The Venationes

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

Byzantine Pantalica

The functions of Castello Maniace

The Spanish fortification

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

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

The Culture of Pantalica

The Euryalus Fortress

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

Castello Maniace

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

The Gladiator performances

Neapolis from past to present

The Senatorial Palace

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

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

Where seas and civilisations meet

The Jews, a wandering people

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering