By Melissa Cannavo-Marino and Sara
Finalmente quasi sta per arrivare l’estate. (It’s finally getting to be summertime). I non- ni e mamma si preparano per andare a visitare i parenti in Sicilia. (Nonno, nonna and mamma are getting ready to go to Sicily to visit relatives.) Nonno says on the trip down we are going to stop and tour Civita which nonno says is one of the most charming villages in northern Calabria. Quando arrivia- mo mi sento un po’ confusa. (When we arrive I am feeling a little confused.) The town’s people were speaking a language I couldn’t understand. Non era nemmeno un dialetto italiano. (It wasn’t even an Italian dialect.) Nonno explains that in the 15th century, Albanian refugees fled to and settled here. Their influence can still be seen and heard today as locals still speak the Albanian language and uphold ancient traditions. Ora capisco perchè. (Now I understand why.) As we walk through this enchanting village, we look up and see the ‘comignoli.’ The Albanians built these oddly shaped chimney stacks because they believed it would ward off evil spirits.
Just outside the village we found Il Ponte del Diavolo, (Devil’s Bridge) an ancient bridge linking the two sides of the Raganello canyon. Secondo una leggenda (According to legend) that after several unsuccessful attempts of building the bridge, local villagers deciderono a fare un patto con il diavolo (decided to make a pact with the devil). In exchange for l’aiuto del diavolo, (the devil’s help) the soul of the first person to cross the bridge would be sacrificed. However, once the bridge was erected, the villagers made an animal cross the bridge first which infuriated the devil. He kicked the bridge leaving marks that many say can still be seen today.
Ecco i miei pensieri su questa legenda, (Here are my thoughts about this legend) whether you believe in legends and superstitions or not, Civita is a great little town with an impressive rich history not to mention it is also surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Raganello canyon, Plains of Sibari and the Ionian Sea.
Do you have any favorite small town legends or superstitions?