Augusta is an important Italian commercial port concerned primarily with oil refineries and the production of “green” (lead-free) petrol. This industrial conglomeration has incurred considerable damage be it as a result of the 1693 earthquake, the Allied bombing of 1943, or, indeed following major seismic tremors as recently as 1990.
The town was founded by Frederick II on account of its strategic position with regard to defending the Bay of Augusta: hence the overpowering defensive quality of the Swabian castle, despite its neglected state of repair. The city became the most important Siracusan military outpost during the Second World War.
Augusta claims as impressing cultural and tourist attractions as historical ones. The entrance to the citadel is by the Spanish Gate, flanked by two imposing bastions. The main axis of the old town is Corso Principe Umberto, the commercial thoroughfare which runs north to south.
The tour throughout Augusta can begin in the Swabian Castle, an imposing square building unfortunately reduced to a poor condition hence not accessible. It probably comprised a square tower at each of its four corners and other two polygonal towers in the remaining sides, one of these being only visible. The castle served longtime as a prison. The Forte Avalos, the Forte Garcia and the Forte Vittoria, all built during the 16th century, are also worth-seeing.
The religious buildings include the Baroque Chiesa delle Anime Sante and the 1600’s Chiesa Madre dedicated to Our lady of the Annunciation.
The tour includes the archaeological site of Megara Hyblaea (see MEGARA HYBLAEA) and the sea resort of Brucoli; this is a charming fishing village combining naturalistic attractions, such as the porto-canale formed by the estuary of the Porcaria creek, and historical ones represented by a 1600’s fortification designed to defend the local harbour area and the Castello consisting of a 1400’s square tower.