Buongiorno a tutti! Anyone who has visited my website and read the descriptions of the Sicilian regions will already know how fascinated I am by the myths and legends that surround the mystical island of Sicily. So many enchanting stories are embroidered into the island's history and some offer such an insight into Sicily's past that it is difficult to divide fact from fiction. As Halloween is upon us, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to share one of the lesser known, and rather more ghostly, legends that I have heard about the area.
This legend that I have recently come across is called 'il tesoro di Pizzo Lauro', or 'the treasure of Pizzo Lauro'. It is set close to the town of Villalba, a remote, inland town which is situated 55 kilometres from Caltanissetta. Just outside of Villalba there is a tall, steep rock which dominates the skyline and is cloaked in mystery - its name is 'Pizzo di Lauro'. Residents of nearby towns do not dare to venture close to the mountain at night, however shepherds in the neighbouring hills have long told tales of spirits that dance in the night, of fierce dogs that protect the area and of witches ready to ward off curious eyes.
The legend tells of a hoard of treasure hidden inside the mountain containing enough gold to pave the streets of the whole island of Sicily. In the past, many courageous people have attempted to find this treasure but none have returned. It is said that they fell into the deep abyss below never to be found again. On stormy nights, the tale tells that it is possible to hear the spirits of these adventurers singing their sad sicilian song -
Pizzu di Lauru, pri la to ricchezza (Pizzo di Lauro, for your treasure)
nui pirdemu la via e la salvezza (we lost our lives and salvation)
Only when the bravest of the land will reach the rock's summit and find the hidden treasure, will the curse be broken and the souls of these men set free.