52 Reasons to Love Sicily | Ancient Surprises

52 Reasons to Love Sicily

#29. Turn the corner, and there’s a good chance you’ll encounter something ancient, like these Doric columns of the ancient Greek Temple to Athena that have been incorporated into the construction of the Duomo of Siracusa on Ortigia. Built in the 5th century BCE, the house of the goddess of war and wisdom was transformed into a Christian basilica by the Byzantines during the 7th century CE.

After being sacked by Arab conquerors in 878 and its Norman-era steeple and stone roof collapsing with the historically powerful earthquake of 1693, the current baroque-style cathedral, dedicated to the Navtività di Maria Santissima, was constructed at the beginning of the 18th century. Still today, though caked with layers of architectural history, Siracusans will point you right towards the Temple of Athena (i.e. The Duomo) when you ask them for directions.

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