Crypt of San Marciano in Syracuse

Crypt of San Marciano in Syracuse

sailko - CC2.5


 Via San Giovanni alle Catacombe - Siracusa

Crypt of San Marciano of Syracuse is located in the basement of the Basilica dedicated to San Giovanni Evangelista. It is a suggestive open-air church which, in its basement, holds treasures dug into the rock: the Painted Crypt of San Marciano and the Catacomb of San Giovanni.
The Crypt of San Marciano which was to house the sarcophagus with the relics of the saint was built around the middle of the sixth century on the site of the old burial ground of the basilica. The apsidal church was built above the crypt so that the burial of the saint was in line with the altar, placed in the center of the nave, limited by a balustrade. An access staircase leads to the crypt of San Marciano where the masonry tomb of the Saint is located with a small opening through which one could access the contact with the sacred relics. In the center there is an altar surrounded by 4 columns. In the Norman age the central space around the altar was modified by 4 pillars which incorporated the capitals with the symbols of the Evangelists and inscriptions from the Gospel. The walls show traces of paintings such as that of the two Alexandras and that of Santa Lucia, San Marciano, San Giovanni Battista, the Virgin with the Child "and then, again, apostles crowned by haloes, hermits wrapped in their habits and saints on horseback.
It is said that Caravaggio, during his brief stop in Syracuse, drew inspiration from these frescoes to create his work on the Burial of Saint Lucia.

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