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The legend of Gammazita PDF Print E-mail


Gammazita is the name of a young girl, the protagonist of a legend tied to the vicissitudes of the family of Anjou in Sicily.

The folk tale tells about a virtuous girl from Catania that, around 1280, chose to throw himself into a well, instead of succumbing to the wiles of a French soldier (traditionally denoted by the name of Droetto) who fell in love with her. It appears that the islanders identify the foreigners through the use of the shibboleth "ciciri" ("chick"): any person who was not able to correctly pronounce the word was killed.

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The horrific end of the girl and her virtue roused deep emotion to all the inhabitants of Catania and were always cited as an example of patriotism and honesty of Catania's women, while the iron deposits that created red spots on the walls of the well were traditionally explained as traces of blood of Gammazita.

The story certainly has a connection with historical reality: it refers to the oppression committed by the French rulers in Sicily, one of the causes of the outbreak of the Sicilian Vespers in March 30, 1280.

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