The Neapolis

Neapolis from past to present

During the tyranny of Gelon , starting in the year 485 BC, Syracuse experienced a period of great expansion and wealth, becoming the capital of a kingdom that also included Gela and other territories in eastern Sicily. The tyrant gave such strong impetus to the building and urban development of Syracuse that the number of new districts increased, such as Tyche and Neapolis, to cope with the considerable demographic expansion.
Since the tyrant also believed that the city should display its power through imposing and majestic monuments, he employed the architect Damokopos , who was commissioned to build a theatre within the Neapolis area. In a small part of this ancient district born in Greek Syracuse, there is now an archaeological park built between 1952 and 1955 by  Luigi Bernabò Brea , with the aim of preserving and developing the surviving monuments from both the Greek and Roman ages, and saving them from the threat of modern urban expansion.
The park extends along a mountainous relief called the Temenite Hill, which divides the area into two parts: to the south you can visit the monumental route of Neapolis, with Greek and Roman ruins; while in the northern part there are deep latomie, caves and mysterious grottoes dug into the mountain’s rock. The archaeological remains coexist with a varied vegetation that completes the magical atmosphere of this place.
Evergreen plants typical of the Maquis shrubland such as olive trees, Mediterranean cypresses, pines, date palms and ficus blend with fragrant citrus trees, especially orange and lemon.
A characteristic fruit of the park is the pomegranate . For this reason, the area where the Roman Amphitheatre is located was called “la fossa dei granati”, the garnet pit, because of the abundance of these fruit trees that grew around it, considered a symbol of fertility since ancient times.

Neapolis from past to present

The Euryalus Fortress

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

Where seas and civilisations meet

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

Temple of Apollo

The functions of Castello Maniace

The architecture of the Piazza

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

The Senatorial Palace

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

The Venationes

The Gladiator performances

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

The Jews, a wandering people

Crypt of San Marciano

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

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

The Roman Amphitheatre

The cultural significance of tragedy

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

The catacombs of San Giovanni

Castello Maniace

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

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

Byzantine Pantalica

The Culture of Pantalica

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

The Spanish fortification

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon