Discovering Syracuse, Sicily

Il Teatro Greco di Siracusa / The greek theater in Syracuse

Sicily represents the ideal mix for those who want a holiday based on the sea and culture: art, beautiful beaches, archaeological sites, historic centers and a breathtaking natural landscape


In 2002, UNESCO registered the eight late Baroque cities of the Val di Noto as World Heritage Sites: Caltagirone, Catania, Syracuse, Militello Val di Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa and Scicli. Among these Syracuse, where one of the best preserved masterpieces of antiquity stands, despite long periods of abandonment, countless looting and renovations that took place over the centuries: the Greek Theater of Syracuse located inside the city’s archaeological park.

Since 2005 it has been part of the UNESCO site which includes the historic center of Syracuse and the necropolis of Pantalica

Pantalica is not just archeology. The site is set on steep rocky walls framed by lush nature, an intricate winding of karst cavities, and natural pools. This place, truly unique in the world, was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in 2005, when Pantalica, coupled with Syracuse, was inscribed on the World Heritage List.


Ever heard of the Ear of Dionysius? We remain within the archaeological park of Syracuse e

near the Greek theater are the Latomie, artificial caves surrounded by lush vegetation. The most famous of these is the Ear of Dionysus, 23 meters high and 5 to 11 meters wide. Its shape resembles that of an auricle, 65 meters deep. The cave has exceptional acoustic properties, capable of amplifying sound up to 16 times.

Why is it called The Ear of Dionysius? The name of the cave would have been given by the painter Caravaggio who, on a visit to Syracuse in 1608, wanted to corroborate the legend according to which the cave would have been wanted by Dionysus, tyrant of Syracuse who had the Latomia dug where he locked up his prisoners and, lurking inside an upper cavity, listened to their speeches. Apart from the legend, it is thought that the cave was really the sounding board of the theater and this story also adds the one that calls into question the legendary Caravaggio who gave the name “ear”, therefore, it would have been Michelangelo Merisi, the Caravaggio.


2023 is the 58th theatrical season. The Syracusan theater is the pride of the Neapolis archaeological park but also the natural venue for the annual cycle of classical tragedies. In fact, the tradition is renewed every year and from March Syracuse prepares for the most important cultural event in the city panorama. The theater season runs from May to September.


But did you know that Syracuse holds a record? it is the only European city where papyrus still grows spontaneously. Several specimens grow in Ortigia, in the heart of the historic centre, on the banks of the Ciane river. The first certain evidence of the presence of the plant in Sicily dates back to 1674, and today specimens can still be seen inside the Fonte di Aretusa. The plant, known to the Syracusans with the name of pappera, pampera or wig due to its thick hair, if at first it was used by Syracusan fishermen to weave ropes or by farmers to tie sheaves, starting from the eighteenth century it was used for the production of papyrus paper. At the Syracuse Papyrus Museum it is possible to understand the manufacturing process up to the creation of the precious paper that is still worked by craftsmen today.

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