A CITY WITH THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF HISTORY
The name Siracusa, or Syracuse, comes from the Siculian Syraka or Sùraka, for the abundance of water it was blessed with from the many rivers and marshland. Founded by Corinthian Greeks under the command of Archias in 734 BCE, in just a few years it became a Pentàpoli with five districts: Ortigia, Acradina, Tiche, Neàpolis and Epipoli. In 212 BCE, after a heroic resistance effort that included Archimedes and his creative war machines, it was conquered by the Romans and became the capital of the Province of Sicily. A slow but relentless period of decline brought on by the frequent sackings and barbarian invasions followed, and in 878 it eventually fell into Arab hands. Centuries later, in the XI century, the Byzantines finally recaptured it and it then came under Norman control. Although in the XIII century it was briefly under Genovese dominion, it basically took part in the history of all of Sicily: the Kingdom of Sicily in the XII, the XIX century Kingdom of Two Sicilies and then the Kingdom of Italy.
STROLLING THROUGH ORTIGIA
Strolling through Ortigia you’ll come across several monuments linked to Greek mythology, like the fountain of Diana and the Spring of Arethusa, a source of inspiration for poets of antiquity and modern day alike, now a point of reference for artists and visitors. At the far end of the island, jutting out into the sea and offering visitors enchanting views, is U Casteddu, or Castello Maniace, a citadel of Swabian architecture built at the behest of King Frederick II.
The narrow streets of the Island of Ortigia twist and wind their way through the centre and bear witness to the Arab domination of the past. The city is also graced with buildings that date to Byzantine, Norman, Swabian, Aragonian, Renaissance and Baroque eras, buildings that give the historical centre a truly unique flavour. One of the most fascinating points of interest in Ortigia is the Jureca district. It was inhabited by Jews until 1492, when they were expelled by a Royal Decree signed by Ferdinand the Catholic. Here you can still see the ancient purification wells and baths.
And, finally, we have Siracusa’s religious buildings, which date from early Christian times in the form of catacombs – secondary in importance only to the Roman ones-, to Byzantine basilicas like the Basilica of San Giovanni Evangelista, and the modern Madonna delle Lacrime sanctuary.
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Erga has implemented a sustainable management system that is adequate for its size and scope. Its organization complies with all the regulations in force at local, national and international level, with particular reference, among others, to health, safety, work and environmental aspects. Erga undertakes to respect and enforce the rules of conduct appropriate to the places visited, the sea, nature reserves and places of worship. Particular attention should be paid to avoiding waste in the environment and, where existing, to respect the rules of separate collection.