The system of fortifications from land to sea

The senses tell the Castel Maniace

taste
The banquets at the court of Frederick II

The Suevian sovereign often indulged in “convivial meetings”. Not rich feasts, but refined dinners attended by musicians, writers and masters of construction.
During the banquets, poetry, art and music were discussed. Game on the spit was often served, particularly hare and lark. Wild boar, which was abundant at the time, was not one of Frederick II’s favourite dishes.
Instead he appreciated birds, such as pheasants, hawks, or pigeons covered with honey and grilled with aromatic herbs. There was also fish, mushrooms and cheese, accompanied by a precursor of bread: small slow-baked shapes made with flour, milk, honey and butter and cooked in wood-burning ovens.
In terms of fruit in Suevian times, people would eat figs, nuts, grapes, dates, apples, pears and melons.

hearing
The songs of the troubadours: music at the Castle of King Frederick

Frederick II loved to surround himself on various and frequent occasions with instrument players and singers. His castles resounded with the ancient verses of the Sicilian poetic school and the notes of troubadour lyrical music, which flourished in Europe in the Late Middle Ages.
The troubadours spread from Provence like wildfire, even reaching the Kingdom of Sicily. Authors of monophonic compositions, i.e. with a single voice, the main themes of their texts were chivalry and courtly love.
The musical offer available to the court would have been as varied as ever, just as there were many cultural horizons scrutinised by Frederick II’s curious gaze. Some of the instruments used were trumpets and the “Arabic” oud. The latter instrument highlights the exotic aspect of music at the court of Frederick II.

smell
Wine under the nose at the Suevian sovereign’s table

In addition to being delicious, the banquets at the Frederician court were also fragrant!
Amidst all the Mediterranean aromas of Sicily such as basil, mint, sage and parsley, the table never lacked wine.
It was often flavoured with myrtle from the Nebrodi mountains and always served in precious decorated cups. Before sipping the drink, the sovereign would smell the wine, as modern sommeliers do, to detects its aromas and quality, which varied according to the geographical origin.

The Venationes

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

The architecture of the Piazza

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port

The cultural significance of tragedy

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

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

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

Crypt of San Marciano

Byzantine Pantalica

The Culture of Pantalica

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

Temple of Apollo

The Gladiator performances

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

The Roman Amphitheatre

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

The catacombs of San Giovanni

The Senatorial Palace

Neapolis from past to present

The functions of Castello Maniace

The Jews, a wandering people

Castello Maniace

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

Where seas and civilisations meet

The Spanish fortification

The Cathedral of Syracuse

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

The Euryalus Fortress

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse