Greek Theatre of Syracuse

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The Greek theatre of Syracuse
Frontal view of the theatre

The Greek Theatre of Syracuse was built in the 5th century BC, in the city of Syracuse in eastern Sicily. It was reconstructed by Hieron I in the 3rd century BC, and that setup is essentially preserved to the current day. It is a part of the Unesco World Heritage Site of "Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica".[1]

Its cavea is one of the largest ever built by the ancient Greeks: it has 67 rows, divided into nine sections with eight aisles. Only traces of the scene and the orchestra remain. The edifice (still used today) was modified by the Romans, who adapted it to their different style of spectacles, including also circus games. Near the theatre are the latomìe, stone quarries, also used as prisons in ancient times. The most famous latomìa is the Orecchio di Dionisio ("Ear of Dionysius").

Cycle of classical plays[edit]

Since 1914 the "Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico" (National Institute of Ancient Drama) plans and organizes the performance of Classical Plays at the Greek Theatre of Syracuse and thanks also to a series of publications and academic researches it promotes many aspects of the Greek-Roman thought in Sicily and in the rest of Italy.[2] The Ancient Greek tragedies are performed at sunset, in Italian (thanks to the translations of famous writers such as Salvatore Quasimodo), without loudspeakers because of the still perfect acoustics of the amphitheatre, using particular sets and costumes of the Ancient Greek. Each theatre season begins in May and ends in July, attracting thousands of spectators from all over the world. Some of the most illustrious performed tragedies are Antigone, Oedipus the King, Electra, Medea and The Bacchae.[3]

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Coordinates: 37°4′33″N 15°16′30″E / 37.07583°N 15.27500°E / 37.07583; 15.27500