Curiosity - The Mata e Grifone Myth

The name of this B&B comes from the most famous and dearest legend of our town. The story tells of Messina when the city was among the last bulwarks resisting the Saracen occupation (964 -970 AC), a giant Moorish invader called Hassan Ibn-Hammar, landed in the city and during one the many looting raids saw the beautiful daughter of King Cosimo II of Castelluccio. The mighty Saracen fell in love and asked for her hand but received a refusal. The Saracen decided to kidnap her with the hope that he could convince her to marry him. The Saracen managed to convince his love but the white lady accepted to marry him only after his conversion to Christianity. His name from Hassan became Grifo or better Grifone (big Grifo) due to his size.
The two lovers prospered and had many sons and daughters: the people of Messina.
Around the 17th century two giant papier- mache statues were made one of Mata and the other of Grifone, that are brought in procession during the feast of the Vara every year in August.

 Anyone wishing to know more of the history of Messina
 can find all the available resources at the Library Bonazinga
 located in Via dei Mille 110 - 98123 Messina,
 Tel 090 718551 - www.libreriabonanzinga.it