The Church of St. John at the catacombs of Syracuse. For a long time in this church has been recognized an ancient cathedral of Syracuse, which was built in Acradina, extra moenia, in the region of the Catacombs, where, according to tradition, the protovescope of Syracuse, St. Marciano, was martyred under Gallieno Valerian (half of the 3rd century); Recent studies have, however, disrupted this hypothesis. The southern facade of the church which is seen, destroyed by the earthquake of 1693 (the Great Basilica was destroyed), and the reconstructed building in the 18th century with remarkable modifications to the same facade and to the porch for the reconstruction of which fifteenth century elements were used. On the left you can see the ancient Norman façade marked by the rosette and the decorated portal. In this same place there was a Latomian classical Greek age, in which a pottery workshop was installed in a late Hellenistic age in a pagan cultural area. While in the late imperial age it became a Christian cemetery area in use at least up to 423. Around the middle of the sixth century (perhaps in relation to the stay of Pope Vigilio in Syracuse) the burial ground was tampered with to place the sanctuary of San Marciano the sarcophagus with the relics of the saint. So above the crypt was built the apsed church, with three aisles, divided by 12 Doric columns (with reference to the apostles), so that the burial of the saint was in the axis with the altar, placed in the center of the nave, limited by a balustrade. After the probable devastation of the Arabian age, the church underwent innovations by rebuilding the perimeter walls, the extension with half columns of the apse and facade pillars, the reduction to 10 of the number of columns and tilting the floor in the direction of the facade. In 1428, on the north wall, a rectangular chapel was built, preceded by a porch. Disappearance was granted in 1630 to the Montesanto Carmelites who inserted into a new, otherwise oriented structure (N- S) that occupied the space of the first two camps of the pre-existing one. In 1626, Pietro Della Valle described the catacombs, also speaking of frescoes. On the eve of January I saw the underground caves of the church of St. John out of the city of Syracuse: they are many, great and beautiful, made as a labyrinth, is, undoubtedly, for burials, but burials to fall down places under domes somewhat perhaps illuminated for gathering, or for adventures, or funeral dinners. But there are seen figures of ancient saints, and others in the dizzies of being Christians; and I'm a beautiful underground factory, where they are, as you can see, chiseled in natural stone. A stairway to the crypt of Saint Marcian, where the Apostle Paul was preached in 61, is the burial tomb of the Saint, with the small opening through which access to the sacred relics could be accessed; in the center there is an altar surrounded by 4 columns. In Norman times, the central space around the altar was modified by 4 pillars that incorporated the capitals with the symbols of the Evangelists and the inscriptions of the Gospel. The flooring was also carried out, whose sides are still visible. The walls have ruined traces of paintings, such as that of the two Alexanders in the north. From the basilica floor you descend to the left to visit the Catacombs of Saint John, the most recent of the Syracuses (315-360), and in use until the end of the fifth century. Particularly important is the Saint Marcian crypt under the church, which welcomed the body of the first bishop until they were translated to Gaeta because of the Arab invasion. The crypt is still frequented as a religious site by both Catholics and Orthodox people.