Ortigia Island excusion

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A small island of south-eastern Sicily, on which stands the oldest part of the city of Syracuse. Together with three bridges on the mainland, the island of Ortigia stretches out in the Ionian Sea stretching from north to south for over 1.5 km, between the wide inlet of the large port, to the west, the open sea to the east and the port. small to the northeast, ending in the south in the narrow peninsula (200 meters) on which stands the massive castle Maniace, erected by Frederick II of Swabia.
The famous and picturesque Aretusa spring flows from the south-west coast.
The historical age of the city "Aretusea" begins in 734 a.c., when Archia, departed from Corinth, lands in Ortigia defeats the Sicilians and founds the colony of Syracuse.
Soon the city took a leading role in both economic and military, imposing its supremacy over the entire Mediterranean basin.
In 480 a.c. with Gelone (tyrant of Syracuse) defeats the Carthaginians in the famous battle of Imera, in 474 a.c. with Ierone I beats the Etruscans in Cuma, in 413 a.c., during the reign of Hermocrates, the Syracusan fleet inflicts a resounding defeat to the Athenian one.
At the beginning of the fourth century a.c. under Dionysius the great, with its approximately one million two hundred thousand inhabitants, Syracuse becomes the most powerful city in Europe, extending its dominion over all of Sicily and part of Calabria.
And it was in the 4th century that the city conquered a position of notable prestige, becoming the new economic, political and cultural hub and consequently a center of gravitation for all the greatest literati of the time (Plato, Aeschylus, Pindar, Simonides and Bachilide) .
After a brief period of decline, Syracuse "raises its head" thanks to Timoleonte and with Agatocle defeats the Carthaginians again. Under the reign of the sage Hieron II relives a new period of economic and cultural splendor.
At this point in history, the interests of the "city of Archimedes" clashed with those of a new nascent power: "Rome".
In fact, after a very long and exhausting siege in 212 a.c. it is conquered by the Romans. Despite this Syracuse remains the capital of Sicily, maintaining this role during the Byzantine domination (535-879 ad), even between 662 and 668d.c., thanks to the emperor Constant II, it becomes the capital of the entire Byzantine Empire (title this which, on the death of the emperor, returns to Constantinople).
Conquered and sacked by the Arabs in 879d.c. it is the capital of the known valley, one of the three great territories in which the Muslims divided Sicily.
In 1085, freed from the Arab domination, it passed under the Norman dominion, to subsequently become a commercial base, of the Pisans first (1197-1204), and then of the Genoese (1204-1221). The year 1221 is Swabians of Frederick II until 1266 when the Angevins succeeded (1266-1282).
From 1282 onwards, the city participates in the War of Vespers.
The arrival of the Spaniards brought two dominations: the Aragonese until 1412 and the Castilian rule until the early 1500s. Between 1305 and 1536 it was the capital of the Spanish royal chamber, a sort of state in the state governed by the Aragonese and Castilian .
Thanks to the Reginal Chamber, Syracuse goes through a further period of splendor, the businesses return very flourishing and cultural exchanges with Spain favor the birth of an abundant Catalan-Aragonese building, which still characterizes Ortigia from all the other Sicilian historical centers .
In 1536 Charles V (King of Spain) decided to abolish the royal chamber, and transformed the island into one of the most powerful Mediterranean rocchaforti.
This new military function cuts off Ortygia from any commercial exchange, causing economic catastrophe and long decadence.
To the serious economic crisis are added: the earthquakes of 1542 and 1693, the famine of 1646 and the continuous plagues that ended up decimating the city.
The '700 is marked by numerous passages in power: from the Habsburgs to the Bourbons, then with the treaty of Ultrecht come the Savoy, then the Austrians (1718-1735) and then return to the Bourbons from 1735 to 1860 (substantially up to the unity of Italy) During the anti-Bourbon uprisings of 1837 the city was punished with the loss of the title of provincial capital that passed to Noto, a city loyal to the Bourbons.
Only in 1861, with the unification of Italy, the capital was returned to Syracuse.
From this date on the city is identified with that of the Italian state.

Private tourist agency that deals with boat trips around the island of Ortigia and along the coast of Syracuse | info@ortigiaislandexcursion.com

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