The archaeological park of Syracuse includes the northern part of the district of the NeapolisOne of the five that made up Syracuse in the Greek and Roman eras, it contains the city's most famous monuments. We begin with the splendid Greek theatre, datable, in its present appearance, to the 3rd century BC but existing since the second half of the 5th century BC. See the roman amphitheatreof controversial date, attributed by some to Augustus, by others to Septimius Severus; the altar of Hieron II, a grandiose altar for public sacrifices in the city. Finally, the Via dei Sepolcri, of Hellenistic design, deeply embedded in the rock and flanked by Byzantine hypogea.
The backdrop to this extraordinary complex of monuments is the spectacular arch of the Latomie del Paradiso and Santa Venera. These ancient stone quarries still bear the signs of quarrying and are surrounded by luxuriant vegetation of orange trees and centuries-old trees. There are also impressive and extensive caves, including the Grotta dei Cordari and the Orecchio di Dionisio.
The eastern part
The eastern end of the archaeological park is located close to the latomia of Santa VeneraIt ends with a rocky agglomeration consisting of a series of burial chambers. Among these is the so-called tomb of Archimede, The historicised name of a large room with an architectural façade carved into the rock, with a tympanum pediment and Doric half-columns in relief, dating back to Roman times.
The Greek Theatre
The most famous monument in the Selinunte archaeological park, among the largest and most important in the ancient world. It dates back to the 5th century B.C.; its present form, however, can be traced back to a unitary project, carried out in the 3rd century B.C. by Hieron II, as part of his programme of settlement of Neapolis according to the principles of Hellenistic architecture of the time.
Entirely carved in stone del colle Temenite, il teatro presenta una cavea dalle dimensioni piuttosto notevoli, con 67 ordini di gradini, divisa, in senso verticale, in nove cunei da otto file di scalette e, in senso orizzontale, da un ampio corridoio (diázoma). The wall upstream of that diázoma, reca incise delle iscrizioni in greco. Al centro è il nome di Zeus Olimpio; ad est erano i nomi di divinità non più leggibili; ad ovest erano i nomi dei membri della famiglia di Ierone. Si leggono ancora chiaramente i nomi di Nereide, moglie di Gelone II, figlio di Ierone II, e di Filistide, moglie di Ierone II.
In the Roman imperial period the theatre underwent deep changes per rispondere alle esigenze degli spettacoli e doveva avere un apparato scenico monumentale grandioso e complesso. I lavori dell’ultima fase del teatro si possono datare al 5th century AD.