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“legends and amazing acoustic” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ear of Dionysius (Orecchio di Dionisio)

Ear of Dionysius (Orecchio di Dionisio)
Parco Archeologico della Neapolis, Syracuse, Sicily, Italy
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Ranked #11 of 95 things to do in Syracuse
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Attraction details
Sofia, Bulgaria
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
31 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“legends and amazing acoustic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2014

Near the Greek theater in Syracuse is the famous “Ear of Dionysius” – an artificial cave cut in the rock. It is 20 m high and 65 long and resembles to a huge human ear. The name was given by Caravaggio when he visited the town in 1608. ( By the way, you can see Caravaggio’s ‘Burial of Saint Lucy’ in the Santa Lucia Church at Piazza Duomo.)
The cave has excellent acoustic. The legend says that Dionysius the Tyrant used the acoustic to hear from outside the conversations of the prisoners conspiring against him. 7000 Athenian prisoners were kept after Syracuse defeated the Athens in 413 and used as slaves in the stone quarries.
Most probably the acoustic was used as ‘special effects’ in performances taking place in the Greek theater nearby.
Another legend says that prisoners who were able citing Aristophanes and Aeschylus’ tragedies were set free, provided with new clothes and some pocket money.

Visited June 2014
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Reading, United Kingdom
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19 reviews 19 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Great acoustics and history.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2014 via mobile

Read up on this one before visiting, or you may think it is "just a cave". The remnants of the upper walk ways and openings speak of it's previous uses. It is also nice and cool inside, which in the summer heat is very valuable!

Visited September 2013
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Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
45 attraction reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Oddly cool, just like the giant inside of an ear. Carved to make Greek Theatre seating etc.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2014

While in the archeological park don't miss this shady area, use flashlight on phone, uneven floor surface but shady and quite fascinating. Read up before you go, not a lot of info.

Visited July 2014
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Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Great acoustics”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2014

We were luck enough to be in the cave when a tour guide decided to "whisper sing" and we were amazed at how the sound expanded and carried to the other end of the cave. Kids will love it. It's pretty cool and well as the stories/myths surrounding the cave. Eg. Prisoners would be sent into the cave and due to the acoustics soldiers would stand guard at the entrance and hear all the secrets their enemies would discuss.

Visited July 2013
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London
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54 reviews 54 reviews
36 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Impressive man-made cave - great acoustics!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

Everyone who goes to the Syracusa ancient sites wanders around and the extroverts try out the weirdest noises.

Visited June 2014
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