Gammazita Well in Catania
The Pozzo di Gammazita in Catania is located a few steps from the Castello Ursino, albeit hidden from the eyes of passers-by because it resides shadowed in the darkness of the houses which, regardless of its presence, are they have been climbing on it since the end of the 19th century, imprisoning it in a courtyard.
The well is a medieval spring from the 12th century and is one of the symbolic places of the close relationship of the historic center of Catania with its waters. In the twelfth century, next to the walls of Charles V, a rivulet of underground water flowed which, before getting lost in the sea, fed a source called Gammazita. In 1669, like most of the city buildings, the well was also the victim of the most destructive lava flow in the history of Etna and the source was buried under a 14-meter layer of lava. Its importance, however, was so significant in city life that the people of Catania themselves began digging with makeshift means to bring it back to light and in the 1700s it was equipped with the picturesque staircase that we can admire today. Thus was born that singular well dug into the lava rock, a deep escarpment that extends over the sixteenth-century city walls, at the bottom of which the Gammazita spring gathers.
The Well has become the setting for a legend that tells of the courage and determination of the beautiful commoner Gammazita ready to die by throwing herself at the bottom of the well rather than yielding to the violence of the Angevin ruler. On the walls of the well there are still iron-red marks that legend attributes to the sacrifice of the heroine Gammazita.