Fonte Aretusa

Font of Arethusa

PIAZZA ARETUSA – SIRACUSA

The Font of Arethusa, sung by many poets, including Virgil, Pindar, Ovid, Milton, André Gide, D’Annunzio, is a source of fresh water flowing from a cave a few meters from the sea, symbol of Syracuse since ancient times. The myth of Arethusa, nymph of Syracuse, reveals the deep connection between the Greek colonies and the motherland Greece. Arethusa, the maiden of the goddess of hunting Artemis, was seen by the god Alpheus (son of Oceanus) who fell in love and tried to seduce her against her will. To escape from her lover, Arethusa fled to Sicily, where Artemis turned her into a source close to the port of Syracuse, Ortigia (sacred to Artemis). Zeus, moved by the love of Alpheus, turned him into a river located in Greece, near Olympia, so that he could flow underground to reach the Font. Even today near the Lungomare Alfeo (alpheus seafront), near the famous fountain, a spring called the Eye of Zillica flows. Cicero in the Verrines describes the Aretusa Font as “a source of incredibly large, full of fish and so located that the waves of the sea would flood if it were not protected by a massive stone wall.” Today from the road you can admire the font, just a short distance from the sea, adorned with papyrus vegetation, populated by ducks and freshwater fish, with spectacular views of the coast of the “Porto Grande”, site of the naval battle against the Athenians occurred in 453 B.C. There are no barriers and you can admire the site also from the lower level, where the aquarium is located.