Sicily (Sicilia) is the biggest island in the Mediterranean, separated from the mainland by the strait of Messina. Sicily was known by the Romans as Trinacrium, meaning “star with three points.” La "Trinacria" is a 3 legged woman referenced as the symbol of Sicily.
The symbol is the head of Medusa (a head of snakes) surrounded by three bent running legs and three stalks of wheat. The three bent running legs represent the three capes of Sicily: Peloro (Punta del Faro,
Messina – northeast), Passero (Syracuse – south) and Lilibeo (Marsala – west). The three stalks of wheat represent the fertility of the land (the breadbasket of Italy).
The Medusa head in the middle of the Trinacria implies protection by Athena, the patron goddess of Sicily. It is composed of the head of the Gorgon, whose hair is entwined serpents with ears of corn, from which radiate the three legs bent at the knee. The Gorgon is a mythological figure who was each of the three daughters of two Gods of the sea. The Three daughters were Medusa, Stheno (“strong”), and Euryale (“the large”). Medusa was mainly known for her ability to turn mortal men to stone with one gaze. But the goddess was also known for her help to fight the forces of evil.
The triangular shape came to be in the center of the Sicilian flag in 1943 during WWII and symbolized a plan to help Sicily become independent and a free republic. The symbol made its debut on syracusan coins in the fourth century B.C.
Nowadays, the Trinacria is found on everything from ceramics to fashion houses and represents a unique passion and ties to our Sicilian culture.
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