The real fact of the submergence of Santorini or other islands in the Aegean Sea during an eruption of the volcano, together with the imagination or wish for a Perfect City may explain the legend.
The legend which Plato presented in his dialogues Timaios and Kritias is a story which was told to Kritias by his great-grandfather, who had heard it from his father Dropidas and he from the sagacious legislator Solon. According to the story Atlantis was an extensive insular continent whose inhabitants had developed an exceptionally high standard of civilization. The unique power of the kings of Atlantis was not only confined to their own continent but extended to the surrounding islands and they controlled part of Libya, as far as Egypt, as well as part of Europe up to Tyrrhenia (Northern Italy).
From the days of Plato to the present day many attempts have been made to interpret the myth or even to rediscover Atlantis. Thousands of studies and articles have been written on this subject. The fact is that Plato, through the myth, presented to his fellow-citizens a paradigm of an ideally organized state which flowered and prospered for as long as men respected and enforced the laws and worshipped the gods who had given them the legislation. However, when the men became arrogant and ceased to obey the laws of their state the wrath of the gods was such that they were condemned to annihilation.
Nevertheless, Atlantis can be more than true, at least within our imagination. It is believed that Atlantis was very close to Santorini.