A small island amid myths and legends
Ortigia is the oldest nucleus of Syracuse, a small island of just over one square kilometre now connected to the rest of the city by two bridges, Ponte Umbertino and Ponte Santa Lucia. Always linked to Greek mythology, Ortigia was the place where Latona found refuge to escape the wrath of Hera, wife of Zeus, and also the place where she gave birth to the sun god Apollo and the goddess of the hunt Artemis.
Many of Syracuse's wonders are located on the island of Ortigia, such as the striking Fonte Aretusa, a freshwater spring linked to one of the many springs found in this area. Within a few metres' walk you can admire the Cathedral of Syracuse and the ancient Church of San Giovannello, the remains of the Temple of Apollo, the Temple dedicated to Athena and the Temple of Artemis, built between the 7th and 6th centuries BC.
Ortigia also boasts some of Syracuse's most characteristic buildings, with styles ranging from Baroque to Art Nouveau, not forgetting Rococo, while at the tip of the island stands Castello Maniace, one of the most important moments of the Swabian time in Syracuse.