Trinacria is seen by Sicilians and Italians every day on the flag of the region. Tourists see it on fridge magnets bought during their holidays in Sicily, but not many people know the story behind the head of a woman with three bent legs which protrude from her head.

In the ancient representations, we can see a symbol of ancient Greece: the head of Trinacria resembles the Gorgons (some monstrous Greek creatures). The Gorgons represented perversion in all its forms. Eurial represented it in general, Steno from a moral point of view and Medusa dealt with the intellectual one.

No wonder Trinacria is the symbol of Sicily. In the past, the name of the island was Triquetra, due to its shape. Sicily does not have a classic shape, typical of an island – it has a shape similar to a triangle.

However, the question is: where does this symbol come from?

Many coins have been found in Asian cities, representing Trinacria. People believed that the three-legged woman was the Sun God. In Sicily, Agathocles was the one who spread the coins with the famous Trinacria on them.

In Roman times, in Palermo, the three-legged Gorgon became a definitive symbol on coins, later becoming the emblem of Sicily, with various changes: instead of snakes on the head, the Gorgon is now crowned with strands of wheat, representing the richness of grain in the island during the Roman Empire. 

For some people, Trinacria represents evil, but for many others it represents well-being, for that reason it is often used as a talisman which is supposed to bring good luck.

Today, Trinacria is the emblem of Sicily, combining itself perfectly with the red and yellow of the flag.

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Denisa Nagy


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