Pantalica

The senses tell of the reign of King Hyblon

smell
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.
Nepetella

taste
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.

sight
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.
Libellula

hearing
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
”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.
Necropolis

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

The Cathedral of Syracuse

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

The functions of Castello Maniace

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

Castello Maniace

Crypt of San Marciano

The Jews, a wandering people

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

The cultural significance of tragedy

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

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

The architecture of the Piazza

The Gladiator performances

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

The Senatorial Palace

The Euryalus Fortress

Temple of Apollo

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

The Spanish fortification

Where seas and civilisations meet

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

Neapolis from past to present

The Culture of Pantalica

Byzantine Pantalica

The Venationes

The Roman Amphitheatre

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

The catacombs of San Giovanni