The Ear of Dionysius in Syracuse: some say…

Sounds are amplified inside the Ear of Dionysius, in Syracuse, a cave where every legend seems to echo endlessly.

First of all, some say that the name of this ‘latomia’ – one of the great marble or stone caves that served as prisons in antiquity – was invented by no other than Caravaggio. The famous painter arrived in Syracuse in 1608, as he was escaping from Malta. Noting that the cavern’s shape resembled a huge auricle, he thought of Dionysius, a tyrant who according to legend eavesdropped on his prisoners to learn their secrets.

Some say that in that same year the Lombard painter used the Ear of Dionysius as the setting of his “Burial of Saint Lucy”.

Some say that the grotto – 23 meters high and 65 meters deep – was used as a theater, or that it aided the acoustics of the nearby Greek Theater.

Some say, finally, that Plato knew about this underground Sicilian marvel, and that it played a part in inspiring his famous “Allegory of the Cave”.

All we can know for sure is that it is an amazing display of nature’s awesome beauty.

Photos via:

The Ear of Dionysius in Syracuse: some say…

Viale Giulio Emanuele Rizzo
+ 39 0931 464657


Most Read

Rococo luxury at the Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi

The Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi, near Turin, was designed by Filippo Juvarra and built in 1729; between the 18th and 19th...

Pietro Piffetti: the king of fine cabinetry

by Barbara Palladino His creations sum up every magnificence of 18th-century Baroque style: Pietro Piffetti was one of the most famous and...

Gabinetto del Segreto Maneggio degli Affari di Stato: a triumph of decorative art

by Barbara Palladino Inside Turin’s Royal Palace is one of the gems of 18th-century Baroque art: the Gabinetto del Segreto Maneggio degli...

Antonio Stradivari: the legend and myth of perfect sound

by Barbara Palladino The Stradivarius violin is renowned as the perfect musical instrument. Playing one is a dream come true for any...