The Gammazita well is located in the historic center of Catania, not far from the Ursino Castle and adjacent to the ancient city walls. The well, which is characterized by its reddish waters, is known for a legend linked to it, dating back to the time of the Angevin domination in Sicily, during the War of the Vespers.

the Gammazita Well


The story, passed down from generation to generation, tells of Gammazita, a beautiful girl from Catania who went every day to fetch water from the well. A French soldier fell madly in love with her, but Gammazita did not give in to her advances because she was already betrothed. Blinded by her jealousy, the soldier decided to attack her. It happened just the day before her wedding. The poor girl, rather than give in to the man's overbearing fury, with great courage chose to die by throwing herself into the well. Since then, it has been said that the red stains at the bottom of the well are traces of Gammazita's blood. These are actually iron deposits.


There are other versions of this legend. It is said that a beautiful widow, woman Macalda Scaletta was much courted by the French soldiers. However, she did not reciprocate her attentions because her heart had been kidnapped by the young Giordano who, however, loved Gammazita. To get Giordano to notice her, Donna Macalda made an agreement with a French soldier so that he would kill the girl when she went to draw water from the well. The poor girl managed to free herself from the man's grasp, but not being able to escape from the place of the attack, she preferred to throw herself into the well rather than tarnish her honor. For her part, Giordano, having learned of the death of her beloved, was pervaded by desperation and stabbed to death the soldier who had attacked her.


Symbolic place, to be reevaluated

The Gammazita well is one of the symbolic places of the relationship between the city and its waters. About 15 meters below street level, it opens into a closed courtyard between nineteenth-century council houses, so it is not immediately visible. The courtyard is accessed via a staircase of sixty-two steps. Today it is possible to visit the well thanks toGammazita cultural association, which has been working for some time to enhance it. Since 2013, the association has redeveloped the area around the castle and the San Cristoforo district which houses the well. To this end, musical and artistic events, workshops and theater courses are organized there.

(Photo: The Gammazita Well and the ancient waterways in Catania, Facebook Page)

The well of Gammazita and the legend of the young betrothed last edit: 2024-06-08T07:28:00+02:00 da Antonietta Malito

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