The legend of Colapesce

The Colapesce legend is a very ancient story, which has its origins in songs and stories of the ancestors.

The Colapesce legend tells of Nicholas, said Cola, the son of a simple fisherman who lived in Messina.  Cola was a true lover of the sea, much to spend his days to swim like a fish.  No coincidence that he was nicknamed Colapesce. The outstanding capabilities of him in swimming, urged him to explore the wonders of the sea, to find treasures to take on the mainland. Quite interested by his story, the ‘Emperor Frederick II called him in his palace, to challenge him in a swimming race. The purpose was to find, in the seabed, a cup that the same king had previously thrown into the sea. So it was that Colapesce, diving, managed to retrieve the object. Federico II decided, then, to challenge him again, choosing a more remote place, where the water was deeper. In this case, having to be recovered was the crown of the same emperor.  Even in this challenge, Colapesce came out the winner, bringing to the surface the object.

But Colapesce was put to the test again by Frederick II, who threw a ring, in a part of the very treacherous sea.Here Colapesce, while swimming toward the depths, he realized something strange: three big columns.  Their purpose was to hold Sicily and keep it from sinking However, one of the pillars was so damaged that Colapesce was alarmed and this pushed him to make a decision: replace it.  So it was that he never resurfaced more, leaving a stunned family, the emperor ‘and the’ entire court. According to the legend, Colapesce is still located there, to hold strongly Sicily. 

It is also said that the tremors of the earth, in the areas of Messina and Catania, are due to the movements of Colapesce, intent on changing shoulders.

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Salvatore Rizzo


4B Liceo Scientifico – Istituto Minutoli Messina -Sez. Quasimodo

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