Hotel Scala Greca
Avola 7, Syracuse, Sicily, 96100, Italy
More about Siracusa
Greek theatre- Siracusa archeological park
Travel Tips for Siracusa
MOUNT ETNA : Sicily 's most...
MOUNT ETNA : Sicily 's most important attraction.
This vulcan is a nice place to have big walk. Remember that it's always quite a bit cooler on Etna than it is in the valleys or along the coast. There are several roads into the park.
The Tyrant's ear
The strange cave, the entrance of which is shaped rather like a faun's pointed ear, known as the Orecchio di Dionigi (Ear of Dionysius) in the Latomia del Paradiso is actually one of the tunnels dug out by the slave quarry workers. Shaped inside like a hugely elongated gothic arch, it reaches 65 metres back into the hillside, is between 5 and 11 metres wide and 23 metres high. The quarry workers started with a narrow tunnel and removed layer after layer at the floor of the cave slightly widening it with every layer.
It was the artist Caravaggio who named the cave Dionysius' Ear when he visited it in 1608 when he was told an old legend about the tyrant Dionysius the Elder. The legend told how the cave's strange accoustics allowed the tyrant to sit high above the floor of the cave and hear even the quietest whisper clearly as the cave's strange shape amplifies the sound up to
16 times. There's no explanation as to why the tyrant would wish to eavesdrop on the slaves. Nowadays the acoustics are more usually tested by clapping or the odd outbreak of singing.
The cave next to the tyrant's ear is known as the Ropemaker's Cave - Grotta dei Corda. Closed to visitors at present, it was used from the 17th century until quite recently as a rope-making works, its straight length and considerable humidity making it ideal for that work.
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