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.

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April 24, 2018

The Ear of Dionysius in Syracuse: some say…

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