Friday, April 22, 2011
The Ear of Dionysius
The archeologist and architect Vincenzo Mirabella was beginning a project in which he would map the Ancient Greek caves and catacombs around Siracusa, and he invited Caravaggio to the hills above town to see these caverns carved into the limestone. Caravaggio was shown a man-made grotto that was used as a prison by the tyrant Dionysius in about 400 B.C. The acoustics in the cave are incredible. A person can speak at a normal volume inside the cave and the sound will carry well enough to be heard outside through small openings cut high in the cliffs at each end of the grotto.