If you cross the Strait of Messina admiring the stunning landscape the view offers, how couldn’t we think of the famous legend of Colapesce? Every child in this city have been told the famous myth of Colapesce, a story handed down from generations to generations which arouses the enthusiasm of children and adults.

 It tells the story of a certain Nicola (Cola from Messina), son of a fisherman, nicknamed Colapesce for his ability to move in the water. 

Even the well-known painter Guttuso celebrated him in one of his frescos, installed on vault of our piece of art Vittorio Emanuele Theatre, which host the most wonderful plays, operas and concerts.

The legend says that Colapesce’s fame reached the king of Sicily at the time of Frederick II of Swabia who decided to test him: the king and his court, therefore, went offshore aboard a boat and threw a cup into the water which was immediately recovered by Colapesce.  

The king, then, threw his crown in a deeper place and Colapesce succeeded again in getting it very quickly. The third time the king tested Cola by throwing a ring in an even deeper place and on that occasion Colapesce never re-emerged.  

According to the most widespread legend, going deeper and deeper Colapesce noticed that Sicily was supported by three columns and one of which was cracked due to the signs of aging. According to another version, it was consumed by the fire of volcano Etna. However, in both cases, Colapesce decided to stay underwater, supporting the column to prevent the island from sinking saving the destiny of our city.

By the way it is told that every 100 years he re-emerges to greet his beloved Sicily. So, keep your eyes open during your next trip on the waters of the Strait… you might be the lucky one to see him again! 

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Gioele Giacoppo


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