The Latomie (from the Greek litos = stone and temnos = cut), are ancient quarries from which the Greeks extracted the materials needed for the construction of temples, roads and mlitary defenses. They are definitely one of the most important part of the Syracusan archaeological heritage and one of the top attractions in town. The complex of Syracusan quarries, twelve in all, is about 1.5 km long, and follows the edge of the limestone terrace overlooking the coastal plain towards Ortygia, starting from the West nearby the Greek Theatre, to the East reaching the sea, near the Monastery of the Capuchins.
The quarries were also the perfect place to hold prisoners, sentenced to dig rocks under every weather conditions and with not enough food. In particular, historians talk about the Carthaginians, captured by the Tyrant Gelon in 480 BC in Himera, and 7,000 Soldiers from Athens, who had survived to the battle of Asinaro in 413 BC and were imprisoned.
Apart from this use as a prison, over the centuries they have also been used as a place of residence of the lower classes of the city and as seat of funerary guilds, as proved by the presence of many votive pictures dedicated to dead heroes. They also represented an effective defense system of the area of Neapolis. The most important Latomie in Syracuse, that can be visited, are the Latomia of Paradise with the Rope Makers Cave, in the Archaeological Park, and the Capuchin Latomia, located in the northern city in Largo Latomia, at the end of Riviera Dionisio il Grande.
The Latomia of Paradise, today a charming and delightful place, was originally a huge stone quarry, mostly covered. According to the story told from the ancient historians the quarries were mainly used as a place of detention. The bottom surface of these quarries, from which were extracted not less than 850,000 cubic meters of stones, is now covered by old citrus trees.
The original bottom of these quarries was much deeper than the present one, now covered by the accumulation of alluvial materials that have created a slope from south to north. Within these quarries, near the Ear of Dionysius, one can admire the Rope Makers CaveLatomia dei Cappuccini
Address: Largo della Latomia (at the end of Riviera Dionisio il Grande).
Timetable: Monday-Friday from 9.00 to 13.00
Ticket price: € 2.00
Latomia del Paradiso and the Rope Makers Cave (Archaeological Park)
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.