According to a legend from Greek mythology, Arethusa was a nymph, daughter of Nereus, who fled from her home beneath the sea, in Arcadia, and became a fresh water fountain on the island of Ortygia.
Inside the pool of the fountain, grows papyrus, Ortygia being one of the two places in Europe where this plant grows, with the other being the Fiumefreddo River, also in Sicily, near Catania.
Over the centuries, the fountain undergone several transformations. At first, it was located outside the fortification walls of the city, and could be accessed from the sea through a steep staircase.
In the 16th century, the water source was divided into several streams used for tanning leather, which formed a lake of about 200 meters in diameter.
In 1540, the fountain was incorporated into the fortifications of the city, when the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V strengthened the military structures of Ortigia, to be freed in 1847, when the reservoir took its present form.
The viewpoint next to the fountain is what remains of the ancient bastion, demolished in the second half of the 19th century.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Arethusa Fountain is located 250 meters from the Cathedral of Syracuse, 750 meters from the Temple of Apollo and about 2 kilometers from the Syracuse railway station. If you need precise directions to the fountain, you can use the map below.