San Marco Catacombs, between brushwood and oblivion

MircoMannino/ 26 Gennaio, 2019/ Ispica, Province of Ragusa/ 0 comments

When we talk about Ispica, we immediately think of Cava d’Ispica, one of the most fascinating archaeological and natural areas in all south-eastern Sicily. There is an area near Ispica, however, which is inexplicably left to itself, as if all citizens had completely forgotten about its existence.

I am talking about San Marco Catacombs, located in the homonymous district, one of the largest cemetery areas of the entire Iblean landscape. The fact that they are forgotten and overlooked by all, means  that they were supplanted by the most famous Catacombs of Larderia in Cava d’Ispica and the Catacombs of San Giovanni in Syracuse.


The Catacomb – dated around IV / V century after Christ – is characterized by two corridors, of which the central – the largest – extends for 45 meters and reaches a width of 17 meters.

Central corridor

In this corridor there are some arcosolium tombs in the initial part, after which, continuing along the path, you arrive in a large room lit by three skylights, near which you can see two canopy tombs.

Arcosolium tombs


Canopy tomb

The second corridor, much smaller than the central one, consists of 20 tombs arranged horizontally and 5 tombs embedded inside the wall, vertically.

Second corridor

Altogether there are about 250 tombs inside the Catacomb.
Its considerable size makes it the largest catacomb in Sicily, second only to that of San Giovanni in Syracuse. However, its lack of notoriety is such that when we talk about cemetery areas we only mention that of San Giovanni in Syracuse and that of Larderia in Cava d’Ispica.

Of course, certainly the lack of practicality in accessing the site does not help to increase a minimum fame. The presence of a very thick brushwood, in fact, makes the site difficult to access, but not impossible.
To make the situation more complicated, it must be added that the area in which the Catacombs are located is a private property. In this regard, I think that this may be the main reason for which they are left in abandonment.
Abandonment or not, notoriety or not, I felt really lucky to stay inside that room with the three skylights, marveled at the sight of splendid games between darkness and light, between the handmade rock and the sky of a spring blue.
I don’t have other things to say, I let the images speak for themselves.

A te

– Subtitled in English –

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