The story goes that Sicily rests on three columns: one is broken and lies at the bottom of the sea, the second is badly damaged, while the third is still standing, at least for the moment. Maybe, however, it’s not really a marble column but rather an ancient tradition that feeds on myths and legends. A background melody, the musical score of that magical and joyful isolation so loved by the Greeks, who of all the civilizations that populated the island through the centuries, left an indelible mark that is now part of the character and soul of the island. A refuge for gods and heroes, nymphs and philosophers, monsters and kings, Sicily is the incarnation of that magical isolation whereby the sound of Hercules calling his herds, Ulysses laughing at the Cyclope still ripples through the sun-kissed fields, the theatres, the mountains, calling us like a siren moulded in the land, the rock and the sea.
Illustrations by Michele Tranquillini.
Giulio Guidorizzi taught Greek Literature at the Università degli Studi of Milan and Turin.
Silvia Romani is an associate professor of Mythology, Classical Religion and Anthropology of the Classical World at the Università degli Studi of Milan.