The history

You have often heard about Syracuse as the biggest and most beautiful Greek city. Its reputation is not misused, the city occupies a hard position, wonderful to see from every point you can see it while you are arriving there, by sea and by land, and It has twoharborsalmostenclosedandembracedbythe city's buildings. The harbors have different entrances, but they join themselves to the other side. However in the point of contact, called ‘the Island’ (Ortigia), separated by a sea loch, it isgatheredandconnected to the rest by a narrow bridge. The city is so big to be considered the union of four great cities: one of these is the yet mentioned'island', which enclosed by thetwo ports go up to the entrance that give accessto both harbors. In the island there is the Ieron II royal palace, now utilized by the Praetors, and there are also many temples, the most important are the Diana’s Temple and the Minerva’s Temple, full of art jewels before Verre’s arriving. To the other side of the island there is a wellspring of soft water, called Aretusa, swarmed by many fishes and so placed it would be overwhelmed by sea waves if isn’t protected by a great stone made dam. Another city is called Acradina, where there is a very big Forum, wonderful arcades, a prytaneion rich of art jewels, a wide Curia and a considerable Olympian Jupiter Temple; the rest of the city is occupied by private buildings and it is entirely divided by a large street dissected by many small streets.

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The third city is called Tycha because there was an ancient Fortuna’s Temple; this city has a very big Gymnasium and many temples: it’s a very refined and populated district. The fourth city is called Neapolis (New City) and it is so called it was the newest city: in the highest part there is a big theater, the Libera’s Temple and Cerere’s Temple and the Apollo statue called Temenite, that is very big and beautiful and If Verre was able to bring it away he would have done it. “ (Verrine, II 4, 117-119). So Marcus Tullius Cicero described Syracuse in his Verrine, that are prosecutorial beads he pronounced in the Roman Forum in the 70 a.C. against Gaius Verre, Sicily Governor from 73 a.C. to 71 a.C. , Verre was extortion accused by the famous lawyer because he imposed unjustified taxes. From Cicero’s times to now the city has changed, but it succeeds to keep unchanged its original structure. Situated in the south-oriental part of Sicily, face to the Ionian sea, Syracuse extend itself in the small Ortigia island, that separates the bays of Porto Grande (Big Harbor) and Porto Piccolo (Little Harbor) and it is connected with the land by a bridge. Ortigiais the realhistorical center of Syracuseand it showswithout interruption, all the ages it passed by, from the foundationto the present day. The Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Normans, the Swabians, the Aragonese dynasty, the Catalans, the Savoy... However amongall the Temple ofApollo, the Gymnasium and the Forum are ofgreat interest.