Legend of the Arch of San Benedetto


Gabriele Falco - CC3.0

According to legend, the ghost of a headless horse wanders along via crociferi in Catania, near the arch of San Benedetto.
The legend of the Headless Horse dates back to the eighteenth century. At that time the nobles had got into the habit of using via crociferi as the scene of their clandestine meetings. So to avoid that the street was frequented by any unwelcome witnesses, they spread the rumor that at midnight the ghost of a headless horse ran in the street and that after midnight it was possible to hear the trampling of its hooves. The very superstitious and superstitious people of Catania easily fell into deception so the nobles of the city were able to continue with their love affairs undisturbed.
One day, a commoner wanted to prove that the story of the headless ghost was just a fiction, so he bravely ventured into the dark street in the minutes around midnight. He would have testified to the falsity of the story and proved the goodness of his story by driving a nail under the Arch of San Benedetto, as proof that he had been in that place and that it was only a lie. In the night, frightened by the dark and lonely place, he quickly drove the nail where in that silence the only sound was that of his hammer. Anxious to go away, he felt his cloak being pulled, he turned to find out who was holding him, but seeing no one terrified, he suffered a heart attack and died. The next day at dawn, the boy's body was found on the ground, with his cloak entangled under the nail that he himself had planted. Today, the nail in the wall under the arch of San Benedetto brings together legend and reality.

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