The Temple of Apollo

When you arrive on Siracusa’s Ortigia island from the land at the Piazza Pancali, you’ll find the remains of an ancient Doric temple dedicated to Apollo, the god of the sun, light, music, poetry, and prophecy. The Temple of Apollo was built in the first half of the 6th century B.C.E. The ancient Roman scholar…

Ancient Origins

In ancient Greek times in Sicily, especially in the eastern coastal cities such as Catania and Siracusa, extending to Enna, in the island’s center, Demeter and her daughter Persephone were venerated with fervor. Pictured here on this krater (a cistern used for mixing water with fermented grapes to make wine) from 425-400 BCE, now in…

It’s Your Cue

It’s the 5th century B.C.E. Imagine you are an actor, ready to walk on to the stage. This is what you might see (minus the photographer) in Siracusa. Note: Theater was performed during the daylight hours so the audience could see the action on stage. The Greeks designed amphiteaters so that the actors’ voices would…

Where Ancient Myths Linger

The Cathedral of Syracuse was constructed in the 7th century C.E., engulfing the 5th century B.C.E. Greek Temple of Athena. The original Doric-style columns of the temple, pictured, are visible both inside and outside of the “Duomo” that houses the relics of the city’s patron saint, Santa Lucia. The statue in this photo is one…

Selinunte Brought To Life

Before leaving for the US today, yesterday I found a few minutes to see the artifacts from Selinunte, Europe’s largest archeological park in southwestern Sicily, at the ever-under-renovation Salinas Archeological Museum in Palermo. I was thrilled to see the metopes from the temples, like this one pictured from Temple C. Dated to be from c….

‘Tis His Season

The current grape harvest season makes me think of Dionysus (The Romans called the God of wine Bacchus.). This is a terracotta bowl fragment featuring a relief of Dionysus, god of wine, vegetation, theater, and ecstasy, from Morgantina, an ancient Greek town in Sicily (3rd to 1st century B.C.E.).

Ortigia’s Ancient Temples

One could argue that the Parco Archeologico della Neapolis in Siracusa (The archaeological park dedicated to the “New City” in Syracuse) often steels the thunder from the ancient ruins travelers can find in the “old city,” or Ortigia, pictured. Ortigia, the ancient island center of Siracusa, has been occupied by modern civilizations since the 8th…

Ephesus Is Closer Than You Think

Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and the moon, was represented differently according to the locality of her cult. This terracotta statuette from the 4th century B.C.E., was found in the Acradina quarter of Siracusa in 1967; however, its representation of the divinity is more akin to the Ephesian Artemis…