Cathedral of Syracuse

Syracuse, Italy

The Cathedral of Syracuse (Duomo di Siracusa) origins on this site date to prehistory. The great Greek Temple of Athena was built in the 5th century BC. The temple was a Doric edifice with six columns on the short sides and 14 on the long sides. Plato and Athenaeus mention the temple, and the looting of its ornament is mentioned by Cicero, in 70 BC, as one of the crimes of the governor Verres.

The present cathedral was constructed by Saint Bishop Zosimo of Syracuse in the 7th century. The battered Doric columns of the original temple were incorporated in the walls of the current church. They can be seen inside and out. The building was converted into a mosque in 878, then converted back when Norman Roger I of Sicily retook the city in 1085. The roof of the nave is of Norman origin, as well as the mosaics in the apses.

As part of the increased building activity after the 1693 Sicily earthquake, the cathedral was rebuilt and the façade redesigned by architect Andrea Palma in 1725–1753. The style is classified as High Sicilian Baroque, a relatively late example. The double order of Corinthian columns on the facade provide a classic example of carved Acanthus leaves in the capitals. Sculptor Ignazio Marabitti contributed the full-length statues on the facade.

The interior of the church, a nave and two aisles, combine rustic walls and Baroque details. Features include a font with marble basin dating from the 12th or 13th century, a ciborium (an altar canopy) designed by architect Luigi Vanvitelli, and a statue of the Madonna della Neve by Antonello Gagini (1512).

The cathedral of Syracuse is included in a UNESCO World Heritage Site designated in 2005.



Your name


Founded: 7th century AD
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Adéla Staňková (5 months ago)
It’s really nice place but you have to pay to get inside. It’s kinda weird cause in other places like this it’s for free. But the building seems to be really nice and clean and there are some restaurants and coffees around so you can sit and chill.
Donovan Leong (6 months ago)
The cathedral is a stunning blend of pagan architecture and a Baroque Christian church. The cathedral incorporates the remains of the ancient Minerva Temple, which was erected on the remains of a sixth-century BC Athena temple. More information could be provided in English or the audio guide with qr code to scan. It is part of the unesco world heritage site, and 2€ entrance fee is acceptable.
Amanda Li (7 months ago)
It’s very famous and also it’s history is very interesting which combines the Greek and Roman architect styles, it’s built BC and lasts till AD. It’s not very fancy and “wow” inside. The silver statue only goes out showing the public twice a year and actually no chance u will see it any other days of the year. There’s a miniature and video tho. Entrance fee 2€.
Kathleen Beckman (7 months ago)
A lot of fun to see the Lobo's play but would love to see a win.
Dennis Dirk Zwager (8 months ago)
Very nice Cathedral. You have to pay for entrance. There are nicer cathedral in Sicily This one was build around a Greek temple.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Redipuglia World War I Memorial

Redipuglia is the largest Italian Military Sacrarium. It rises up on the western front of the Monte Sei Busi, which, in the First World War was bitterly fought after because, although it was not very high, from its summit it allowed an ample range of access from the West to the first steps of the Karstic table area.

The monumental staircase on which the remains of one hundred thousand fallen soldiers are lined up and which has at its base the monolith of the Duke of Aosta, who was the commanding officer of the third Brigade, and gives an image of a military grouping in the field of a Great Unity with its Commanding Officer at the front. The mortal remains of 100,187 fallen soldiers lie here, 39,857 of them identified and 60,330 unknown.