The legend of the ancient source of Syracuse
Syracuse is linked with the Greek land not only for commercial relations, even mythology seals this connection through the story of Arethusa and alfeo, the nymph changed into source by Diana symbol of the Sicilian city. The Aretusa spring is located onOrtigia island, in the fountain of the "ducks", and every day leaves many tourists speechless.
But why is Arethusa right there?
Fonte Aretusa: the nymph changed into a spring
The nymph Arethusa was a follower of Artemis, better known as Diana by the Romans. During one of the days spent in the woods below Mount Olympus, she decided to break away from the hunting group and arrived alone in front of the banks of the Alfeo river.
The sun beat the earth hot, the breath became more and more labored and the beautiful sap decided to cool off in the river. He undressed while silence reigned, broken only by the chirping of birds. She left her clothes on a log and, convinced that she was not seen by other souls, she plunged into the river. The water began to quiver and through dancing whirlpools Alfeo, the god of the River, appeared in front of her. Arethusa, frightened, returned to take back her white clothes and began to run away. Alfeo, struck by the extreme beauty of the nymph, chased her to declare his love for her but she kept running away into the woods.
This long chase exhausted Arethusa who lay down on the ground and, hearing Alfeo arrive while the fear of being violated inside her increased, prayed his patron Diana. To protect her favorite nymph, the goddess wrapped her in a cloud that took her to a place very far from Greece, on the island of Ortigia in Syracuse, convinced that Alfeo would never have reached this far, and transformed it into a spring.
Alfeo, who by now had reached Arethusa, saw only the beautiful nymph disappear. Taken by despair and the desire to reunite at all costs with his beloved, he asked Zeus, or Jupiter for the Romans, a way to be with her forever. The God of all gods dug a subterranean under the Ionian Sea that connected the Peloponnese to the great port of Syracuse, right where Arethusa was.
".... I am looking for only dissonances Alfeo,
something more than perfection.
…. I am not looking for a place of childhood,
and following the river below,
even before the mouth of Arethusa,
tie the broken rope of arrival "
Salvatore Quasimodo (Following the Alphaeus)
This is how the ancients explained how there is a spring of fresh water right where the sea is. The waters of the Arethusa source they arise on the island without any kind of channeling with the mainland, and here is the myth that explains the reality. The papyrus plant grows luxuriantly in the fountain and is home to the family of ducks that brighten the days of passers-by and tourists.Over the years the source changed its connotation due to earthquakes and other natural disasters, over the centuries it became more brackish and l he last restructuring dates back to 1843. According to the latest geological studies, the water is sweet due to the numerous caves that have formed in the subsoil and that find their outlet in that source.
Many authors have found Arethusa as an inspiring muse such as Virgil, Cicero, D'Annunzio and many others. To let yourself be enchanted by the Arethusa spring, reach it from our hotel on foot, heading to the island towards the Maniace castle.