Ortigia

The senses tell the Piazza del Duomo in Syracuse

taste
The “cuccìa” for Saint Lucia

When St. Lucy is celebrated, a table in Syracuse is not complete without the cuccia: a typical Sicilian dessert made with boiled wheat and sheep’s milk ricotta or white or chocolate cream.These ingredients are combined with candied fruit, cinnamon, chocolate chips and grated orange rind. Today made up of a rich filling, this dish was originally a much poorer food, the only thing eaten on a day of fasting as a sign of devotion to the saint.

hearing
The ancient shepherds’ music: the “marranzanu”, or Sicilian mouth harp

One of the instruments of ancient Sicilian shepherds, the “marranzanu”, or mouth harp, was used to accompany the flute.
In Sicily, the term marranzanu is used to refer to night crickets.
Therefore, it’s likely that the instrument was named using onomatopoeia because of its sound and monotone hum. A lyre-shaped iron instrument, the mouth harp accompanied popular songs and dances, like a low background note.
It was common belief that the sound of a silver mouth harp, if heard by a pregnant women, had the power to make her miscarry.

smell
The fresh fish market in Ortigia

On the eastern coast of Sicily is the historic food market of Ortygia, a charming yet nostalgic place. Like a full-fledged Arab souk, it is the classic representation of a Sicilian food market: vendors shouting in dialect inviting people to buy, frenetic gesticulating and above all, a riot of smells. Il mercato del pesce fresco The stalls emanate all kinds of perfumes: aromatic herbs, tomatoes, blood oranges, deep purple aubergines, red hot peppers and lemons. The strongest smell is fresh fish.
The market is full of vendors of seafood, cured roe and fish of all kinds.
While they walk, visitors will likely feel observed by the rows of delicious swordfish.

sight
The cathedral’s superb façade, between chiaroscuro and contrast

In the extreme exuberance of its shapes and the richness of its decorations, the façade of the Cathedral of Syracuse offers itself up as a poem of curves and volutes. Its dramatic architectural style is dominated by playfulness and the fluidity of lines, and produces the typical feeling of the “joie de vivre”. La Cattedrale di SiracusaThe façade appears to be moved by a complex geometry in the alternation of concave and convex elements that enhance the scenographic effects and chiaroscuro motifs. The façade is enriched by columns detached from the wall, which emphasise the central part of the façade and create “superb” games of light and shadow.

The Athenaion of the tyrant Gelon

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse

The Venationes

Giudecca, the hidden Jewish heart of Syracuse

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

Temple of Apollo

The Gladiator performances

Legends and magic echoes in the Latomie of Syracuse

The cultural significance of tragedy

The Dionysian Walls: a masterpiece of Greek engineering

The Cathedral of Syracuse

The Church of St. Lucia to the Abbey

The Spanish fortification

The Senatorial Palace

The Jews, a wandering people

The Museion and the Grotta del Ninfeo

Byzantine Pantalica

Inside the Cathedral of Ortygia

Pantalica: where nature and history merge

Crypt of San Marciano

Neapolis from past to present

Castello Maniace

Traces of Christianity in Syracuse

The architecture of the Piazza

The Culture of Pantalica

Syracuse during the tyranny of Dionysius

The Ear of Dionysius and the Grotta dei Cordari

Where seas and civilisations meet

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

The Roman Amphitheatre

The catacombs of San Giovanni

The Euryalus Fortress

The functions of Castello Maniace

Piazza del Duomo, a sacred place of the ancient Greeks

The Altar of Hieron II: Blood and fire place

The Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe

Ortygia. Venus rising from the waters of the port