Archimede Square (Syracuse)

Fotografia di Piazza Archimede a Siracusa con fontana di Diana in primo piano

Piazza Archimede is the second most important square in Ortigia after the Cathedral square. At its centre is one of the symbols of Syracuse: the Fontana di Diana (Fountain of Diana). The piece is by the Marche sculptor, Giorgio Moschetti, who created it in 1906 to celebrate the completion of the square. The palaces that border it represent a veritable journey through Ortigia’s history. They cover a period from the Middle Ages to the present day. 

History of Piazza Archimede in Syracuse

Piazza Archimede is, along with Piazza Duomo, the hub of city life in Ortigia. Completed in 1879, it occupies an area that was previously marked by the churches of Sant’Andrea dei Padri Teatini and of San Giacomo, which were destroyed by fire in 1868. Then, to celebrate its completion in 1906, the municipality of Syracuse commissioned sculptor Giulio Moschetti to create the Fontana di Diana. It is inspired by the myth of Alphaeus and Arethusa, which is also linked to another symbolic place in Ortigia: the Fonte Aretusa (Arethusa Fountain). The Marche sculptor has depicted the nymph, Arethusa, protected by her mother Diana, goddess of the hunt, as she flees from the god, Alphaeus. The buildings overlooking the square sum up the entire history of the island of Ortigia, from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Interesting fact: The municipality of Syracuse decided to appoint sculptor, Giulio Moschetti, after the success of the Fontana di Proserpina in Catania.

The square’s palaces

Starting from the Palazzo del Banco di Sicilia and moving clockwise, the first building you come across in Piazza Archimede is Palazzo Pupillo. Built during the second half of the 18th century, it is of late Baroque style. It is decorated with a variety of leaves, flowers and plant motifs. The building at the corner of the square, after the Government building, is the Palazzo Interlandi Pizzuti. It was built during the 18th century in a Baroque style and was subsequently embellished with Art Nouveau elements. The next is Palazzo Gargallo, built in the 17th century and restored many times. It features rich stucco decoration, fine frescoes by Ernesto Bellandi on the vaults, elegant pillars and crenellated entablatures. Palazzo Lanza Bucceri dates back in its original form to 1300. Renaissance elements were added during the 1440s and Catalan elements between the 16th and 17th centuries. Piazza Archimede culminates in Palazzo Platamone or Palazzo dell’Orologio (Palace of the Clock). In its inner courtyard, there is a 15th century Gothic-Catalan staircase with a heraldic lion.

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