Love runs through Italy thanks to Myths

Romance in ancient Mythology

It is not just a cliché nor a stereotype thinking about Italy as a place inexorably full of love stories; rather it is the result of centuries of myths and legends that have found the ideal setting for the most romantic adventures in this enchanting peninsula. These histories exploit the natural characteristics of this area, with its scents, flavours and landscapes, and are capable of moving the most intimate passions of everyone, indulging in some uncontrollable impulses of love.

Crossing the entire peninsula, from North to South, you immediately get the impression of being dropped back into those places where the most famous love stories of the past took place: think about the Juliet’s terrace in Verona, the coasts of Italy where Ulysses found and loved countless women or the magnificent Naples spots serving as a backdrop to some of the best films starring Sophia Loren. But, in addition to the great cities of art, also the Italian countryside, the crystalline southern coastal area and the small medieval villages jealously preserve the memory of wonderful legends and myths dedicated to the great love.

For those wishing to visit this corner of Paradise, I recommend to experience every place through the stories and the confessions of its inhabitants whose their proverbial hospitality and friendliness make every story more fascinating. Indeed, they will be glad to share the most beautiful legends with you.
I chose to tell you one of the several myths and legends that permeate our beautiful country, helping you to capture the true essence of every place.

The story I am about to tell you is probably my favorite, but you will surely listen to other beautiful stories during your unforgettable stay in Italy.  Here, in fact, everything inspires an aphrodisiac atmosphere and unleashes a love spell to which will be difficult to escape, from dinners on the seashore to the traditional village festivals and different wine aromas.

One of the most fascinating and romantic Italian place is undoubtedly Sicily, an island  characterized by a unique charm due to its multiple dominations and surmounted by a majestic volcano, Mount Etna, where the Greek myth of Aci and Galatea took place.

Galatea, a sea nymph gifted with a divine beauty and long hair adorned with pearls, was chased by the jealous Polyphemus, the gigantic Cyclops, son of Poseidon, who lived inside the lava-stone cavities on the slopes of the volcano, and who wanted to marry the girl and bring her with him in the bowels of Etna.

But Galatea did not reciprocate the Polyphemus’s love and one day, while she was walking looking for berries, met Aci, a young shepherd from the Etna peaks that, thanks to its charm, captured the beautiful nymph in the blink of an eye. It was immediately love, and the passion led them to indulge in a fit of kisses and caresses, disregarding the danger they were putting themselves in.

Polyphemus, who was passing by looking for his beloved, witnessed the betrayal and unleashed all his rage on the unlucky young man: so he threw huge boulders against Aci, who was killed at the foot of the poor Galatea. The Cyclops, not satisfied, cut the body of the young man and threw each single piece in nine different places so Galatea could not have reassembled them. It was then that the grief-stricken girl, slumped on the still fresh Acis’s blood and miraculously transformed it into crystalline water that would have gushed forever along the steep trails of the volcano until the sea, in memory of that sincere but fleeting love.

Still today, all the villages affected by the throw of Polyphemus bear the name of Aci (such as Aci Reale, Aci Castello and so on), as a sign of devotion towards their “son” killed by the anger of the giant.Every single village has its own small river that flows up to the sea. These small rivers have a system of underground passages that make fresh their waters which, at sunset, almost magically, turn stunning colours, ideal for evening and undisturbed swims.It is said that when the sun sets down on these waters, you can still hear the tears of Galatea coming from the sea.

You will find many other legends in these magnificent landscapes that will make your Italian stay unique. On the shores of Garda Lake, where the beautiful Adelaide, a Lombard princess, escaped from one of the tower overlooking the lake, where she was imprisoned and accused of betrayal. Or on the seashore, in Apulia, where a majestic and imposing white monolith is nothing else than a brave sailor who, while awaiting his lost beloved woman, turned into a stone, for eternity. Or on the wonderful islands of the Tuscan archipelago that may be the pearls fallen from the necklace of Venus, the Goddess of beauty and love.

All these myths, well known by Italians although presented in a variety of interpretations according to the memories, faith or imagination of every storyteller, are just a few amongst those that the local inhabitants are willing and able to offer you during your stay.

Therefore I suggest you to visit this splendid corner of Paradise wearing “love lenses”, which enabled the Italian people (too often invaded and conquered), to treat the old wounds with legends, magic and passion.

You will enjoy a vacation within a vacation, where every place, every taste, every sound, will tell you about stories, faces and love, wrapped in mystery and full of poetry.

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About the author
Aldo Unstoppable wanderer and passionate lover of good food

Adopted son of Naples and Florence he is always travelling. He...

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