David's Diary: Tuesday, September 31, 2002

Siracusa: Greek Theatre and the Ear of Dionysius

Greek Theatre
Greek Theatre

Siracusa has been a pivotal city in Mediterranean history. The city was founded in 734 BC by Greeks from Corinth. Siracusa became the dominant sea power in the Mediterranean. In 413 BC, a decisive sea battle between Siracusa and Athens saw the entire Athenian fleet sunk.

Remanents of the Greek control of Siracusa remain today. We took yesterday off and today, instead of formal school, we are exploring the archeological park in Siracusa. The Greek theatre was carved out of the hillside in the 5C BC and could seat 16,000 people.

Inside Ear of Dionysius
Inside Ear of Dionysius

Near the theatre is a beautiful garden created where the roof of a quarry fell down. In the garden is Orecchio di Dionisio -- the Ear of Dionysius. The ear-shaped opening is 23m high and goes back 65m. When we were inside a group of singers arrived and having come prepared they broke out in song. We listened to the singing, each note perfectly amplified by the outstanding acoustics inside the cave.

The Roman theatre built in the 2C AD is nearby, but not nearly as impressive as the Greek theatre. After visiting the Roman theatre, we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. Then it was time for a shopping trip to stock up on Italian treats before we headed back to the boat and an afternoon nap.

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