The province of Syracuse on the southeastern coast of the Italian island of Sicily is pictured in this image from the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2A satellite. The provincial capital—also called Syracuse—is visible in the lower-central part of the image.
Founded by Greeks in 8th century BC, the city was described by Cicero as “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of all.” Today, the ancient town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with notable structures including the Temple of Athena, a Greek theatre, a Roman amphitheatre and more. With vestiges providing testimony to Sicily’s troubled history, Syracuse demonstrates the development of Mediterranean civilization over three millennia.
Farther north along the coast is the city of Augusta, with ships speckling the water near its port, which serves numerous oil refineries up and down the coast; the large, circular oil storage tanks are visible from space. Augusta also is a point of entry for migrants who made the dangerous journey by boat from Africa to Europe.
Along the left side of the image are the foothills of the Hyblaean Mountains. This range was once a plateau, but has since eroded. Deep-cut canyons appear like green veins where vegetation has grown in.
Photo Credit: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by ESA