Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel, Syracuse, Sicily. Baroque atmosphere of an old palace on the waterfront in the historic center of the city ....
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The Fonte Aretusa of Syracuse

This curious freshwater spring has the peculiarity of flowing right to the seashore. This unusual phenomenon has affected the establishment of the city, which originated on the island of Ortigia in part because of its presence. It since has captured the imagination for millennia, making the reservoir famous in legends and literature.

Arethusa Fountain Siracusa

Since ancient times the fountain was, in fact, cited by poets and writers (Pindar, Moschus, Ovid, Virgil, and then John Milton, Alexander Pope, Gabriele D’Annunzio), and even inspired the Polish composer Karol Szymanowski.
In ancient Greek myth, the origin of the spring was attributed to the fate of a nymph, Arethusa, who was transformed by the goddess Artemis into a spring to escape the stalking courtship of Alpheus (son of the god Oceanus). He, in despair, was in turn transformed into a river by Zeus and thereby succeeded to finally mix his water with that of Arethusa. The myth probably attempts to explain the brackish taste of the water that results from the infiltration of the bordering sea. 

The fountain has changed in appearance many times over the centuries. The last alteration was in 1540 when, constructing ramparts around the island of Ortigia, the Spanish reduced the lake created by the spring of approximately 200 meters to the much smaller, semicircular pool (at the foot of the wall) that one sees now.
These overlying walls were demolished in 1847, with the bases of the ramparts transformed into the Belvedere (redesigned in 1947) that one can admire today. 

This pond also has a second peculiarity: at its center a collection of wild papyrus has grown for millennia. This thicket, together with the similar growths along the Ciane/Anapo river, constitutes the only wild papyrus existing in Europe. To the delight of youngsters, freshwater fish and domesticated ducks swim in the deep water of the spring.

Arethusa Fountain Siracusa

How to reach the Fonte Aretusa from the Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel and from the Antico Hotel Roma 1880.  
From the Hotel Algilà, one finds the Fonte Aretusa on the opposite side of the island of Ortigia, whereas it stands within a short walking distance from the Hotel Roma. The entrance to the Aquarium opens onto the foot of the Spanish ramparts, a few meters from the seaside and the Arethusa Spring. Given the modest size of the island, one can easily reach it by foot, perhaps visiting Piazza Duomo along the way. 

For those, however, who don’t want or cannot go by foot, bus #20 is available (which makes a loop around Ortigia every 30 minutes and runs from 7:20 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. every day), as is taxi service or the complimentary bicycles that the Hotel Algilà makes available to its guests. Please ask at the hotel’s reception desk for information on the availability and reservation of taxis. 

Visitor information.
One can admire the fountain from above from the Belvedere, which runs along all sides. No accessibility exist, as the descent between the top and the base of the ramparts is served by a ramp and not a stairway. Those who wish to admire the fountain from ground level can enter the Aquarium (with a ticket), make their way to the exit on the sea, and walk directly to the wall of the fountain


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Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel Syracuse Sicily - Tel. +39-093-146-5186
Baroque atmosphere of an old palace on the waterfront in the historic center of town.

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