San Giovanni Catacomb and Basilica, Crypt of San Marciano and Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum
Tour lasts two/three hours. Easy walking. Suitable for everybody.
There are so many famous sites to explore in Siracusa; from Neapolis at Ortygia to the Bellomo Musem at San Giovanni Catacomb. Thanks to my Vatican experience as student I am one of external guides permitted to guide inside these sites. Certainly this is one of my favourite tour because I am an expert of Early Cristian Archaeology.
San Giovanni Basilica and Catacomb, San Marciano Crypt
Those who come and see Siracusa usually choose to visit the most famous destinations (Neapolis Archaeological Park and Ortygia) leaving out other ones as much suggestive and rich of history. One of these places are indeed the San Giovanni catacombs with the nearby church of San Giovanni and the underground San Marciano Crypt. This monumental complex, unique and fascinating, will make your jaw drop. Just think that the only visitable part of the San Giovanni catacomb covers an area of 10.000 square metres and the conservation status of galleries and frescos are almost perfect. The open-air basilica is one of the most suggestive location in Siracusa. Local people indeed like to have their wedding in this church.
San Marciano crypt would be, according to the tradition, the place where Saint Paul would have preached when he arrived in Siracusa. The crypt, recently restored, is full of frescos you have absolutely to admire!
Siracusa owns the second widest early Christian heritage after Rome, that means that in addition to San Giovanni catacombs there are also the one-of-a-kind Santa Lucia and Vigna Cassia Catacombs. The Santa Lucia Catacomb, where Saint Lucy has been buried, or the Vigna Cassia Catacomb are as beautiful as San Giovanni ones.
In my opinion it is a pity to come to Siracusa and to not visit these places because, more than about death, they tell us about life of the early Christians. Murals, mosaics and underground galleries always charm the visitors and I can assure you that those who have visited these places with me have always thanked me for suggesting this itinerary.
Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum
The Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum is so close to San Giovanni catacomb that you can rich it in less of three minutes by walk. The Museum opened its doors in 1988 and it was desined by the architect Franco Minissi.
Some of the most spectacular objects on display in the Christian hall are:
- the Sarcophagus of Adelfia is one of the best example of funeral sculpture in the christianity of the origins.
If this itinerary captured your attention, please contact me and I will be glad to come with you to discover the early christian Siracusa!