Roman Amphitheatre of Syracuse

Syracuse, Italy

The Roman amphitheatre is located in the ancient suburb of Neapolis, in what is now an archaeological park, near the Greek theatre and the Altar of Hieron. The amphitheatre is on a different orientation to these other structures and probably follows the lines of an urban plan developed in the late classical period, which is reflected by the street discovered near the Sanctuary of Demeter in the suburb of Achradina. The main road from Achradina to Neapolis led up to the amphitheatre through an Augustan period triumphal arch, whose foundations are still in situ. Between the arch and the amphitheatre, there was a monumental fountain, fed by a large cistern which has not yet been identified. A separate cistern provided water to the amphitheatre itself - it is preserved under the nearby church of San Nicola.

The amphitheatre is largely excavated out of the living rock and in the north east it takes advantage of the slope of the same rocky outcrop which the Greek theatre is built into. Almost nothing of the superstructure, which was built from masonry, survives.

There were two entrances and a complicated system of steps which led from the upper levels to the exterior. At the centre of the arena there was a rectangular pit, which was originally covered. An underground passage ran from this pit to the entrance at the southern end of the amphitheatre. This pit and passage were necessary for machinary used during the shows. The seating in the cavea is separated from the arena itself by a high platform, under which was a vaulted corridor through which gladiators entered the arena. Above this were the front seats, which were reserved for high ranking individuals. The inscriptions carved on the blocks of the railing were edited by Gentili and seem to have been intended to indicate the different seating areas.

Higher up, there are another two covered walkways running around the entire arena under the seating, while a third walkway ran around the top of the monument and may have had a colonnaded portico running around the top of it. From these circular walkways, a series of radial passages allowed access to the various sectors of the cavea.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1st century AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Wim Weeres (7 months ago)
Most of the area was closed to visitors. The maintenance of this site needs improvement
Will Falconer (8 months ago)
Very impressive Roman and Greek amphitheatres. The Greek one is better preserved. Also some impressive caverns. Lots of history to take in.
Polo Martin (14 months ago)
Went here after the Greek Amphitheater, and it was included in our ticket, next door and this is a bit underwhelming. It's overrun by grass and not much history is provided. You walk along the perimeter of the seats and that's about it. You can't see much because of the weeds.
Maja Ch. (2 years ago)
It's worth a visit if you're interested in discovering buildings constructed in ancient times. BUT don't expect to learn smth new-there are no boards or informations about what you're seeing. Prepare yourself, bring a guide, read before and enjoy the visit. 10€ is a high price also.
Roland Erickson (2 years ago)
We went at night expecting to see some of the features lit and there was nothing. Several cars pulled over to look as well, so we weren't the only ones disappointed. So many of the Italian ruins are spectacular at night, shame Siracusa hasn't caught on.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Naples

Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.

Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.

In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.

During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.

In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.

The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.