The Dionysius Ear

The Ear of Dionysius of Syracuse is an artificial cave that is located in the quarry named Latomia of Paradise, inside the Archaological park not far from the Greek Theatre of Syracuse. Excavated in the limestone, the cave is about 23 meters high, from 5 to 11 meters wide and 65 meters deep, with a curved shape.

According to the legend, its particular shape similar to that of the ear of a donkey induced the painter Caravaggio, who was in Siracusa in 1608 with the Siracusan historian Mirabella, to create the expression Ear of Dionysius. According to the tradition, the tyrant Dionysius dug the cave and then used to sit down inside a hole excavated above the cave, from which he was able to listen to the prisoners talks.

Thanks to its shape, the Ear of Dionysius has incredible acoustic which amplify sounds up to 16 times. It seems that the presence of this cavity underneath the “cavea” of the Greek Theatre, favours the acoustics of the theatre itself. Fascinated by the acoustics and the charm of the place, Caravaggio set here the scene of his famous painting "The Burial of Saint Lucy", which is currently displayed in the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia in Piazza Duomo.

Address: Via del Teatro Greco
Timetables Archaological Park:
Every day from h.9.00 to two hours before the sunset (winter h.15.00, summer h.18.00).
Price: Only Archaological Park
Ticket € 10,00
UE citizens* Under 25 € 5,00
UE students**, under 18 e over 60 y.o free entrance
Groups and teachers free entrance
Combined Ticket Archaological Park + Archaological Museum Paolo Orsi
€ 13,50 (reduced € 7)

*only UE citizens and citizens of some other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Canada, Chile, Argentina and few others. Passport needed ** only students from UE and from above listed non EU countries of archaeology literature, philosophy, arts, architecture. Student's card and passport needed.