These photos are of a remarkable rock formation called the Ear of Dionysus, just outside Siracusa in south-Eastern Sicily. It is named after a former dictator of the Greek-founded City, as apparently he was very paranoid about rivals and improsoned them all in this cave. He then sent envoys to eavesdrop on them, as the … More The Ear of Dionysus near Syracuse
I first visited Siracusa two summers ago. The highlight of my trip was visiting the Medagliere (Numismatics Treasury) in the Archaeological Museum and getting to know its charming curator, Rosalba Riccioli. Blonde and vivacious, Rosalba’s passion for the 2,500-year-old gold coins and jewellery in her care – and the intriguing stories behind them – is … More A Priceless Hoard of Sicilian Treasure
Sicilian fashion duo Dolce & Gababana have been taking their inspiration from Sicily for several years. I usually try to report on it as soon as the collection comes out, despite the fact that I am about as likely to end up owning a real D&G outfit of clothes as I am to hire Brad … More 2014: Dolce and Gabbana’s year of Siracusa!
You actually can. In Sicily. It is called the “Medagliere” and it occupies the basement of the Archaeological Museum of Siracusa, on the island’s south-eastern tip. You get an adrenaline rush just walking through the door. It is solid metal about four feet thick, with iron bars that poke out in all directions and penetrate … More Fancy walking into the richest bank vault in the world?
We had a holiday in Siracusa this summer, over on the south eastern corner of the island. That side of Sicily has a lot of Baroque architecture. Sicilian baroque is a distinctive style developed under Spanish and Bourbon rule (17th century). Here’s Siracusa cathedral: The Museum of Archaeology in Siracusa is wonderful. Since my degree … More Siracusa, The Ancient Greek jewel in Sicily’s Crown
This puzzle, at least 2.5 thousand years old, is called a Stomachion, which means “stomach ache”. It comes to us thanks to Archimedes, Sicily’s greatest scientist and one of the greatest mathematicians in the world. He described it in a book now called The Archimedes Palimpsest and used it to inspire some of his great mathematical … More Archimedes and his Terrible Stomach Ache
We all know the story of Archimedes flooding his bathroom, leaping out of his bath, and dashing stark naked through the streets shouting “Eureka!” in excitement at his discovery of the Archimedes Principle of water displacement. But exactly which city’s streets did the world’s first flasher actually dash through? For years I thought it was somewhere … More Eureka! Archimedes the Sicilian Detective