The city of Syracuse situated on the south east coast of Sicily, was founded by the Greeks in 734 BC. According to Thucydides the Corinthians lead by Archia landed on the shores of Ortigia and founded the original nucleus of Syracuse. The city grew and expanded over the centuries and the new quarters of Acradina, Tyche, Neapolis and later Epipoli, were added to the original settlement of Ortigia. The name Syaracuse derives from Greek “Syraka” meaning “abundance of water” and the colony soon flourished thanks to the fresh water spring, its exceptional site, its splendid position with the island of Ortigia, the large sheltered harbour and the navigable river Anapo.
Today Syracuse still contains many examples of its Greek past recalling the splendour and power of the mighty tyrants who governed the island and the rivalry with Athens and Carthage. All the great civilizations which dominated the city have left their indelible mark, making Syracuse one of the most important Greek cities in history. From the Romans to the Barbarians, the Byzantines to the Arabs, the Normans to the Swabians, the Angevins to the Aragonese and finally from the Spanish to the Bourbon dynasty, more than a millennium of invasions and dominations together with the magic touch of the Baroque period is immortalized in the monuments and churches, the squares and palace and the very street of city that echo history and traditions. Defined by Cicero as “the greatest and most beautiful of all the Greek cities”, the native city of Archimede was included in the World Heritage List of Unesco in 2005.