This is the most famous legend about Siracusa. It' s the tale of a nymph, Artemis' handmaid. Beloved by Alpheus, son of Ocean and river god, she ran away from him to Sicily, where Artemis changed her into a spring next to the Ortygia's sea. The island was sacred to the god.Zeus, moved by this, changed Alpheus into a river near Olympia,and so he followed Arethusa and mixed his waters with hers. After that, according to the greek poets, when in Olympia victims were sacrificed, Arethusa's waters turned red.
Near the famous fountain, there is another spring, "Occhio della Zillica" is the name.And this would be Alpheus according to a legend.
Many ancient poets celebrated the spring.Cicero said that it was incredibly big and so close to the sea that it would be submerged by the waves without its stonewall.
Here Nelson provided himself before to win Napoleon in Abukir, and because of that, he defined miraculous those waters.
Only through some works, fifty years later (1847), the spring assumed the current shape,surrounded by walls with little railing above.
It' s the only place in Europe where wild papyrus grows up.
And it' s always one of the most important attractions of Ortygia. Well, however, it's also one of those attractions i love less.