28 Gennaio 2023


Another legend is that of the well of Gammazita, in the historic centre of Catania, next to the homonymous city walls. Gammazita was a beautiful and virtuous Catanese girl. She was loved by a French soldier who was however not returned, because Gammazita was already engaged. On her wedding day, as Gammazita went to get water, the soldier violently assaulted her and the girl, unable to escape, preferred to throw herself into the well rather than into his clutches and losing her honour. Later versions of the story are richer in plot and characters. Gammazita is joined by the figure of a woman, Macalda Scaletta, the beautiful widow of the lord of Ficara, in love with her young page Giordano. Giordano saw, however, one day, the young Gammazita embroidering in front of the door of the house and fell hopelessly in love with her. The feeling among the two triggered the anger of the woman, who agreed with the French De Saint Victor to tend a trap to Gammazita: if she had fallen in love with him, Giordano would have been his. Here, the second version of the legend joins the first: De Saint Victor ambushes Gammazita who, rather than allowing herself, leaped into the well. The iron deposits on the walls of the well, are considered traces of the blood of the young woman, who has long been a patriotic example of the honesty of Catanese women. Other stories, take their sap from the panegyric of Don Giacomo Gravina, written in honour of the Duke of Carpignano, Don Francesco Lanario: in "Gemma Zita" ('gemma' that is girlfriend and 'zita' that is bride) the story of the wedding between the pastor Amaseno (or Amenano) and the nymph Gemma, of whom Pluto was also in love (according to Gravina, Polyphemus). He unleashed the wrath of Proserpina, who out of jealousy turned her into a spring. The gods, touched by Amaseno's despair, turned him into a spring too: the well of Gammazita would be the place where the waters of the two lovers come together. Another tale is about a hard-legged man (iamma zita), who lived in a cave near the spring; the well would therefore take its name from his physical defect. Some, on the other hand, tie the toponym to the letters of the Greek alphabet gamma and zeta, which occupy the ancient wall surrounding the source. The legend of Colapesce is linked instead to the presence of the island itself. It is said that Nicola, whose diminutive was 'Cola', Messinese, son of a fisherman, was particularly skilled in moving underwater: like a fish. Every time he returned from his expeditions, Cola recounted the wonders that inhabit the seabed of the surroundings and sometimes welcomed his family carrying a treasure.

Source: news

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