Archaeological Park of Neapolis

NEAPOLISExtended for 240.000 square meters. The Archaeological Park of Neapolis was built between 1952 and 1955, it contains important monuments: the Roman Amphitheater, the Ara of Gerone II, the cave of the Cordari, the church of San Nicolò from the Norman age, the Greek theater, the cave of Ninfeo, the latomia of Paradise (Ear of Dionysius, Sican, Roman and Byzantine necropolis, The Latomie della Intagliatella and Santa Venera and more



Anfiteatro Romano

amphitheater-Roman 1Dating back to the imperial age (III - IV century AD) the Roman amphitheater is one of the greatest buildings of its kind in existence. Elliptical in shape, the external diameters measure m. 140 x 119; it was partially excavated in the Temenite rock. It has two entrances: the main one, to the north, was connected to a square intended to accommodate the carriages of the spectators, while the secondary one, to the south, is currently in use for visiting the monument.


Macaw of Hieron II

aradiieroneIIAltar probably dedicated to Zeus Eleuterio erected in the third century BC by Gerone (Ierone) II. What remains today are almost exclusively the base structures (198 x 22,80 m.), Obtained in the lower part of the rocky slope of Colle Temenite. In fact, the upper block structure was almost completely removed in the XNUMXth century in order to use the already squared blocks for the construction of the Spanish fortifications of the city.



Cave of the Cordari

CORDARI CAVEInside the latomia del Paradiso (Ear of Dionysius), there is the Grotta dei Cordari which, for centuries, thanks to its length and the presence of water, hosted the manufacturers of ropes (cordari). The vault is supported by pillars carved into the stone, on the walls are still visible some Byzantine funerary hypogea that give the place its name: "Via dei Sepolcri".




Church of S. Nicolò ai Coradari and Roman Pool

church of san nicolo dei cordariLocated at the entrance to the Archaeological Park of Neapolis, the church was built in the Norman period (1577th century) probably on pre-existing underground churches of the Paleochristian and Byzantine periods. The name of San Nicolo dei Cordari or San Nicolo della Pietra derives from the fact that the church was granted in 1093 to the guild of rope-makers, who had one of their workplaces in the nearby cave of the rope-makers. In this church in XNUMX the funeral of Giordano, son of Ruggero d'Altavilla was celebrated. The church has a single nave with a semicircular apse, slit windows and a small lateral entrance portal.

The church is partly built on a Roman period pool dug into the rock, built in turn on a Greek age latomia, The pool is 5 meters deep, on it there are 14 pillars in three naves covered by barrel vaults that support the church above.

Originally, the pool had the essential function of a water reservoir, with plastered walls, and was connected with a canal to the nearby Roman amphitheater through an underground canal. Subsequently, after having probably had the function of an underground church, the Roman pool was used as the crypt of the church of San Nicolò dei Cordari. In the XNUMXth century, during the restoration works under the floor, burials dating back to the XNUMXst-XNUMXnd century AD were found in pit, trunk and capuchin tombs as well as cremations in terracotta urns.

Greek Theatre

Greek theater 2The Greek Theater, almost entirely excavated in the rock, was built in the fifth century. BC rebuilt in the third century. BC and modified in Roman times. In the XNUMXth century many parts were removed in order to use the already squared blocks for the construction of the Spanish fortifications of the city. The restoration works began in the seventeenth century and were completed only in the second half of the twentieth century.


Nymphaeum cave

grotto nymphaeumThe Grotta del Ninfeo is a small artificial cavern, which housed the vestibule where the actors and musicians got ready before performing in the adjacent Greek Theater. The entrance to the cave has four votive niches on the sides, two of which were transformed into rock tombs in the Byzantine era. The interior is characterized by the presence of a source fed by the waters of the Galermi Aqueduct, a water pipe from the Greek era.


Latomia del Paradiso (Ear of Dionysius)

dionysius2The latomia del Paradiso was a stone quarry, according to tradition it was used by Dionysius (Dionysus) as a place of detention. An artificial cave has become very famous of the Latomia del Paradiso, obtained by excavating a pre-existing aqueduct, m. 65, 5 to 11 meters wide and 23 high, which has a characteristic effect of acoustic amplification of the sounds emitted inside. This acoustic effect, the similarity of the entrance to the auditory canal of the human ear and the small room that can be seen at the top right of the entrance to the cave gave rise to the legend that that cave was excavated by the tyrant Dionysus so that he could listen. , secretly what the inmates said. The name "Ear of Dionysius" was given to him by the painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio who visited the latomia in 1608.

Latomia of the Intagliatella

The quarry of the Intagliatella is connected by a short tunnel with the latomia of Paradise, it is the least extensive of the quarries that are located inside the park.

Latomia of Santa Venera

saint veneratesThe latomia of Santa Venera is the easternmost of the Neapolis Park. In the eighteenth century it was transformed into a garden with a rich sub-tropical vegetation, a centuries-old “ficus of the pagodas” is still visible today. The Latomia was used in Greek times as a place of devotion for the heroized dead, as evidenced by the votive grooves in the northern walls of the latomia.


Necropolis with caves and "Archimende's Tomb"

necropoligrotticelle 2The cemetery area called "Necropolis with caves" dates back to the Greek and Roman period. The tombs of the Greek age that occupy this area are only a strip of the vast necropolis that extended over the whole plateau, on the edge of the quarries, up to the area above the Greek Theater. This necropolis remained in use from a late Archaic age up to the Hellenistic age.

One of these tombs, clearly visible from the road that runs alongside the park along the Via Romagnoli, is known as the "Tomb of Archimedes". In reality, the tomb in question dates back to the period following the death of Archimedes, as it is a sepulchral chamber of the Roman age provided within two orders of niches for the arrangement of the cinerary urns. The true tomb of Archimedes, as Cicero recounts, was located near the agora, an area far from the Necopoli Grotticelle.

Courses cmx200 




© Helios Study Center

 Archaeological Park of Neapolis

Share / Share

Leave a Reply