SYRACUSE THE GREEK CRADLE
The city’s finest sight is its superb Archaeological Park of Neapolis. Siracusa’s Greek theatre (Teatro Greco) is one of the finest and largest of its kind. Cut directly into the rock, it was enlarged and modified several times over the centuries, and is still in use today – Greek plays are performed here in May and June each year (note that if you visit around this time you will find the theatre disfigured with wooden seating and stage sets).
Up above the Greek theatre is a low cliff with several caves cut into it, including a nymphaeum, where statues once surrounded the water feature. The deep quarry to the east of the theatre is called the Latomia del Paradiso (Paradise Quarry), and it’s a peaceful and green spot, filled with vegatation and lemon trees. The most famous sight here is the huge cave called the Ear of Dionysius (Orecchio di Dionisio).
Apparently it was Caravaggio who coined the name; the connection with Dionysius is the story that this ruler of ancient Syracuse used to eavesdrop on his prisoners incarcerated here, thanks to the cave’s acoustics. A second cave nearby, the Grotta dei Cordari was used by the ropemakers who gave the place its name.
Outside the main park is the Roman Amphitheatre (Anfiteatro Romano), a wonderfully evocative spot, more so because unlike the Greek theatre, this is overgrown, covered in flowers and often overlooked by the tour parties.
Once outside the park area we head to Ortigia where we find the ruins of the first Temple of Apollo and the evocative fortifications walls of the town that surround all the area for more than 15km till the huge ruins of the Castle Eurialo, built in defense of the backwards of the colony. This is the site from where Archimed battled the Roman invasion using is mirrors and machine.
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