Oil and Water, No More: A Sequel to Alpheus and Arethusa's Love Story

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Oil and Water, No More
A Sequel to Alpheus and Arethusa’s Love Story
By Piologo Tabernilla

Centuries have passed and Arethusa has remained the lovely spring that she is. The same goes for the island of Ortygia. It has remained a cultural hotspot for Sicily. True, it adjusted a bit to the modernity of the times and the influx of tourists. Restaurants and cafés have lined the streets in Piazza del Duomo, Ortygia’s real center. Tables and chairs, covered by large off-white umbrellas, are aplenty. A large pedestrian square lies in the middle, often used for large installations by artists. All these new add-ons did not do anything to the old feel, though, as the island pretty much stayed the same. It also helped that the later medieval buildings did not look so much different from the remnants of the Greek and Roman edifices. Transformations are so seamless that everything blends beautifully. For example, towering in front of the piazza is a cathedral built on the site of an ancient temple for Athena while at its side is the church of Santa Lucia. There is also the Palazzo Beneventano del Bosco, a large Baroque townhouse now made available for public use. It is in the quieter western side of the island where the historical and mythological wonder can be found. Affected by improvements, the banks of the stream have become tall concrete walls, always lined with people wishing to look down and to get a glimpse of the waters which the follower of Artemis turned into. The spring continues to fascinate natives and visitors alike because of the continued re-telling of the love story, coupled by the recurrence of the unexplained surfacing of flowers from the bottom of the water. The believers are right. Beyond the people’s knowledge, the love story never ended. Alpheus never ceased in courting the hesitant Arethusa. This is despite the fact that Arethusa has grown to be more irate, embittered by her turning into a body of water. She even questioned her mistress if...
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