The senses tell of the reign of King Hyblon

Aromatic plants: water mint and lesser calamint

The peaceful ponds of Pantalica are invaded by fragrant water mint, a strongly aromatic plant. It is the oldest of all the numerous species of mint.
The Romans had already discovered it and appreciated its qualities.
In that period, some sprigs of mint would be placed in sacks and jars of grain because the intense perfume bothered mice which otherwise would have attacked the grain intended for food.
Lesser calamint can be found in the meadows and among the rocks, another aromatic plant with a strong penetrating smell, which is very widespread and also used in cooking.
In Sortino this plant is frequently used in cooking, in particular to prepare a typical dessert called ‘nfigghiulata.

The ‘Nfigghiulata of the village of Sortino

‘Nfigghiulata means “wrapped.” The puff pastry is wrapped around itself, after being stuffed, to create a very appetising loaf.
According to tradition, wild lesser calamint, oil, garlic and chilli are used as a condiment.
Sometimes cheese is added, such as ricotta, tuma and pecorino.
Blended together, the ingredients create a delicious cream which is stuffed into the dough before it is baked in the oven.

Blue Dragonflies

The crystal clear waters of the Pantalica rivers are home to several species of animals.
Some of the rarest and most unique are the colourful dragonflies and butterflies like the Lycaena bellargus, named “azzurrine” in Italian for their characteristic cerulean blue colour.

The bat cave

Near the northern Necropolis, there is the Grotta dei Pipistrelli (Bat Cave), the largest natural grotto in Pantalica.
Grotta dei pipistrelliThose who enter this place no longer have daylight to guide them and must rely on their sense of hearing only. Its silence is interrupted by large drops of water falling from the stalactites and forming small puddles on the ground, and above all, by the noise of the bats, whose disorderly flight imitates the rustling of the wind.

”Touch” history with your hand

A trip to the Necròpolis of Pantalica is like a path through time.
Wherever the landscape is dominated by the limestone rock in a labyrinth of caves, caverns, ravines, canyons pierced by more than five thousand sepulchres.
Even today you can enter the necropolis and see the walls of ancient tombs and Byzantine houses with your own eyes, perceiving the complex stratification of history, upon contact with smooth and cold stone.

Crypt of San Marciano

The Culture of Pantalica

The architecture of the Piazza

Neapolis from past to present

Byzantine Pantalica

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

The cultural significance of tragedy

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

The functions of Castello Maniace

The Jews, a wandering people

The Gladiator performances

The Senatorial Palace

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

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

The Roman Amphitheatre

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

Where seas and civilisations meet

The Venationes

The Euryalus Fortress

The Spanish fortification

Castello Maniace

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

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

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

The Cathedral of Syracuse

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

The catacombs of San Giovanni

Temple of Apollo