The legend of Alfeo and Arethusa
The legend of Alfeo and Arethusa, which tells of an eternal love, is intimately linked to the fountain of Arethusa in Ortigia.
Arethusa was a nymph known throughout Greece for her beauty. From an early age she was raised by Artemis, goddess of hunting and girls. One day after a long run in the woods, Aretura decided to cool off in a beautiful stream, took off his clothes and allowed himself a bath. Suddenly Arethusa heard noises and, frightened, she got out of the water and started running quickly. A voice told her to stop: it was Alfeo, the divinity of the watercourse, who was struck by its beauty.
Alfeo began to chase her and she, no longer having the strength to run, asked Artemis for help. This wrapped it in a cloud and blew hard in the direction of Sicily to shelter it. Once in Ortigia, the cloud began to make Arethusa fall, which turned into a source of fresh water.
Alfeo, still in love with Arethusa, asks his father Oceano for help. He opened the waters of the Ionian allowing Alfeo to reach Sicily. Arethusa, convinced by so much love and insistence, yielded to the requests of Alfeo.
Thus it was that Artemis, to seal their love, dug a cave under the spring, so as to make the waters of Arethusa run together for eternity and Alfeo.
Today, young couples touch the waters of the Fountain where the love between Alfeo and Arethusa flows as a wish for fruitfulness and happiness.