Sicily is an amazing land, is the perfect mix of traditions, culture, history and art. Moreover, it’s also the place to be for those who want to enjoy their holidays by the sea, explore nature reserves and more. But this island hides some secrets too. Sicilian Secrets is ready to reveal you some curiosities about Sicily.
Hidden treasures, legends and incredible tales? A lot of spots around the island hold secrets, mysteries… Maybe you don’t know many curiosities about Sicily, so it’s time to read the article and discover more! Pick your favorite story and don’t miss the chance to learn more in person.
Aci Trezza and the Cyclopean Isles
Aci Trezza is a village on the eastern coast of Sicily and became very popular thanks to “I Malavoglia”, a novel by Giovanni Verga. In front of this town, you can see the so-called Cyclopean Isles…what a bizarre name! Many geologists think that in the past the islands were part of the mainland, but the legend says something different! According to Homer, Cyclopes inhabited this area. Odysseus visited Sicily and met Polyphemus on his journey home to Ithaca. Unfortunately, the monster killed two of Odysseus’ fellows and when Odysseus made the cyclops blind putting a wooden stick into his only eye, Polyphemus started throwing massive rocks and tried to hit his enemy. Those huge stones became the Cyclopean Isles!
“A larger rock then heaving from the plain,
He whirled it round–it rung across the main:
It fell and brushed the stern: the billows roar,
Shake at the weight, and refluent beat the shore”.
Tindari and the Black Madonna
Tindari is a small town in the province of Messina very well known for the sanctuary and for the poem “Vento a Tindari”, by Salvatore Quasimodo. One of the curiosities about Sicily concerns the sanctuary and the famous cedar wood-carved Black Madonna. How did she arrive in Tindari? According to a local tradition, this Byzantine statue was smuggled out of Constantinople and brought to Sicily in the 8th/9th century, but the most famous legend is about the creation of the beach right in front of the sanctuary.
Once upon a time a pilgrim went to Tindari to ask for a grace for her daughter. When she arrived in town and saw that the Madonna was black, she decided not to pray and accidentally threw her baby in the ocean. In that moment, the Black Madonna raised the sand and saved the baby. So, the woman realized that a miracle had happened and went back to the church to thank the Black Madonna. If nowadays you look at the shape of the beach, you will probably notice that it looks like a woman with her arms extended towards the fallen little girl.
Colapesce, from Messina
One of the most famous curiosities about Sicily is the legend of Colapesce. He was a guy from Messina and his biggest passion was diving into the ocean and tell everyone the amazing treasures he had seen under the sea. One day, the king Frederick II decided to meet Colapesce in person and asked him to find out what was able to hold the island up. The Sicilian boy satisfied the request of the king and told him that Sicily was held up by three columns. Unfortunately, one of them was burning and the island risked sinking forever. Everybody was seriously worried, so Colapesce decided to go back under the sea and disappeared. Nobody saw him again, but they say that he turned himself into a sort of mermaid and replaced the broken column to hold up the island and save all the Sicilians.