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Gratteri, the village shrouded in Mystery History Legend

Gratteri, the village shrouded in Mystery History Legend

There was once and there is still an old village on the hill, a crater of roofs, suspended by godly hands, between burning rocks and the Etruscan Sea that covers up a mysterious treasure concealed for centuries. A legendary story of alchemist monks and knights and a passage to the underworld through a dangerous cave, the “mouth of Hell”, protected by an evil creature, “Macigna” like a new sicilian Jerusalem. And then a medieval abbey, lonely in the woods, myielded to the Knights of Malta, heirs of the Templars and a prophecy of millenary legends of the most enigmatic village of the Madonie.


The most enigmatic village of the Madonie

From the project “Racconta il tuo borgo e ripartiamo viaggiando in Italia” launched on social networks by the travel blogger Andrea Petroni of during the lockdown period – and which has immediately gathered the enthusiasm of thousands of Italians – was born this intimate guide, born both to satisfy the overbearing desire that we all feel to travel, and to relaunch small realities and our internal tourism. It includes a selection of our villages, written with the heart by those who live in those villages and leads us to the discovery of precious hidden places, but incredibly close and fascinating.

Story chosen by Andrea Petroni and included in the book “In viaggio tra i Borghi d’Italia”

Dario Flaccovio Publisher

There was once and there is still an old village on the hill, a crater of roofs, suspended by godly hands, between burning rocks and the Etruscan Sea that covers up arcane legends of the most authentic Sicily. Overhanging valleys that reveal seaside scenarios towards Panormus and faraway echos, get lost. Mother voice that calls missing daughters at the horizon, sunny island or lonely islets raided by Poseidon. And the traveller will reach the top of the mount San Mamiliano – guard nest between giant agave flowers and peasant mist.

A nativity awaits there, overlooked by the time, with young-faced centenarians, and limestones crying in a stone spring, where, hissing in the cave, the wind talked to women, the oracle of an inhuman Old lady. And so a story is handed down over time of a faraway outpost: “ bunches of golden-teeth deer”, seer stones called beryls and a passage to the underworld through a dangerous cave, “The mouth of Hell”, protected by the evil Macigna that dragged into the abyss audacious children who, in order to become great, performed the rite of leaning out of the cliff of Mercy. In this way, since time immemorial, the Archangel Michael was chosen to defend the village, like a new Sicilian Jerusalem.

This is Gratteri, fairytale home of ancestors, of my people where the holy mountain, Pizzo Dipìlo, courts the clouds protecting the village from above and an eagle defends its nest on the Dufìsa rock scanning in flight the land called the Golden Valley, down the stream of Gargilumeni, to indicate from the sky the path to the jacopeo pilgrim. And that pilgrim will reach a hidden abbey, alone in the wood, in order to carry out the sacred promise that Count Roger made to Saint George, appeared in battle in Cerami riding a white steed, pride of a thousand Normans against fifty thousand Saracens.

So the first stone was placed to build a mysterious monastery, “San Giorgio dei Crateri” (St. George of the Craters), entrusted to unusual french canons of Amiens, that in Sicily had their only monastery at the dawn of the year 1000.

Charming stories, about magic and sorceries, and about a treasure hidden by the hermits before leaving the abbey in a hurry on a cold winter night, chased away by the same villains that washed with blood the shame of a virgin disgraced lady of the rich Giboino family, passing with drums among the wolves.

And an unusual prophecy appeared: three people will have to dream of a treasure spot and eat a whole focaccia right there without dropping any crumbs. And the elders feed tales of supernatural presences about those times when some people, digging, remained paralyzed, stuck, like struck by Medusa, finding just snail shells and ashes of metal. But the story of Truvatura (discovery) of Saint George got more and more gripping and concealed when the goods of the Abbey were yielded to the Knights of Malta, heirs of Templars, who kept it for the following centuries leaving secrets in the village and a hospital for wrecks and pilgrims.

Lonely Gratteri, what did you hide? All that’s left of that glorious past is a norman gate. Gratteri from crater, goblet, Grail. Raw diamond in the concave rock. In your coat of arms a step and a dove “Tuere nobile Gratterium (Protect the famous citadel of Gratteri).

But now I open my eyes. Godlike peace, pounding silence and a hand stretching from distance. So when I come to visit you, I come down again the stairs of time and I hear voices filling the streets, I see vanished faces, the colors of happy seasons and a fragrance of ancient. But perhaps other times the Arab phoenix awaits. A thriving Spring, a new season of dreamers and lovers. And forever dear to me remains that mystery of my village.

``Borghi d'Italia``, book by Andrea Petroni

``Gratteri, Coppa, Graal``, book by Marco Fragale

You can learn the whole story about the mystery of the Holy Grail in the new book “Gratteri da Crater, Coppa, Graal. Grezzo Diamante nella concava Roccia. Il Borgo più misterioso delle Madonie”.

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