10 HIDDEN JEMS IN SIRACUSA
#1 – The 10 Hidden Jems in Siracusa: Latomie dei Cappuccini (Caves of the Capuchins)
There’s another place among our special top ten best places in Siracusa, very fascinating and, though quite far from the wonderful island of Ortigia, it is close to other places on our list: it’s the caves of the Capuchins.
The site of the caves:
These are the most distant caves from the Neapolis Park, but also the largest in Siracusa. The entry is adjacent to the Church of the Capuchins (Chiesa dei Cappuccini) and obviously it is not visible from from the street as the entire site is situated many meters below the street level.
The latomie are one of the true green lungs in the heart of the town: its rich vegetation is the perfect shelter for those looking to run away from the oppressive summer heat. Calcareous rock is yet again the protagonist: its unusual and curious shapes might make them look precarious but — no worries! – these caves have been standing for over 2500 years. Like all other latomie in Siracusa, these ones too were used as prisons for war and political prisoners, who were enslaved and made to dig for rock which would be used to build edifices in the old town.
After the fall of the polis (ancient Greek political entity – literally “city”), the site was abandoned and later utilized as a vegetable garden by the monks in the adjacent convent. In the 1700’s the Latomie dei Cappuccini were part of the “Grand Tour” which was created to rediscover the greatest places of the classical world.
In the early 1900’s this area was designed for public use, restoration works began, and a small theater was built which is still used nowadays. It is also possible to visit this site in summer, when the Nostra Siracusa foundation promotes on-site cultural events.
Latomie dei Cappuccini opening times:
MON 9.15 AM – 12.15 PM
Tue—Fri 9.30 AM – 13.30 PM
Ticket costs €3 (€1 for students)