Jesse's Journeys in Italy
Upon entry to
Siracusa's Archaeological park, you may
think you were in a different world.
One of the first sites to confront
visitors are the Paradiso Stone Quarries,
which consist of
well-manicured gardens and orchards
that give way to cliffs
that were once played home to prisoners.
From a distance, the cliffs look like
the have been carved out by millions of
This is only
one of many fascinating wonders to
confront visitors in the park.
Even more spectacular is the Greek theatre,
Sicily'sand Europe's greatest classical sites surviving
Climb to the top of the seating area
(which could accommodate 1500) for a fine
view of the surrounding area and
of the stage
which hosted the first Greek comedy.
The theatre was Hewn out of the hillside
rock in the 5th Century BC and
saw the premier of thousands of
performances, many of which have lived on.
To see the place in which many of these
works were first performed is simply a
wonder to behold.
Greek tragedies are still performed here
in May and June of even numbered years.
Above and behind the theatre runs the Via
dei Sepuleri, in which streams of running
water flows through a series of
The entire park is a wonder to behold and
to miss out on it, would be a your loss.
Don't Miss It
The Ear of Dionysius
The Ear of
Dionysius is one of the most interesting and
popular sites in the Paradiso stone
quarries. While it looks like a natural
cave, hundreds of thousands tons of
material have been extracted from it and
other caves within the quarries
over the centuries, which were, used primarily for
public and private construction work.
The large artificial cave known as the Ear
of Dionysius is 65 meters long and 5-10
meters wide, narrowing upwards (23 meters)
to the top. The form of the entry,
similar to the auditory tube of the human
ear, inspired Caravaggio, who visited
Siracusa in the early 17th century to call
it the Ear of Dionysius, the tyrant ruler
of Siracusa. Legend held that
Dionysius imprisoned his enemies in the
cave, whose whispers he could hear from
the small opening at the top.
Don't Miss It
di San Giovanni
Not far from the
Archaeological Park, off Viale Teocrito,
the catacombs below the church of San
Giovanni are one of the earliest known
Christian sites in the city. Inside
the crypt of San Marciano is an altar
where St. Paul preached on his way through
Sicily to Rome. The Frescoes in this
small chapel are still bright and fresh,
though some dating from the 4th Century AD
show their age.