I’m traveling in Sicily. Many wonderful things including fabulous food, wine, Greek and Roman ruins, Sicilians, olives. These photos are from archeological park near Siracusa.
This cave is called Dionysius’s Ear, Orecchio di Dionisio. It was carved out of limestone in Greek/Roman times as a place to store water. The digging technique was ingenious and also labor intensive. Like many big projects in ancient times, it was accomplished using slave labor.
The painter Caravaggio coined the term Orrechio de Dionisio. The name refers not to the Greek god but to a legendary tyrant named Dionisio 1 of Siracusa. He supposedly built the cave and used it to imprison enemies. Because of the perfect acoustics he could eavesdrop on their plans from an opening near the top.
A flexible ear trumpet was named after the cave, and The Ear of Dionysius is also sometimes used as a reference to spying.
If you know of other legendary sites that feature the ear, please let me know about them using the comment section.