Legend of the Sultanas of Aci
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The legends of the four sultans of Aci tell the stories of brave women who lived in small villages on the Ionian coast.
The protagonists of these legends are four women, the four sultans of Aci: Stella, Venera, Rosalia and Rosa.
The first legend tells of Stella. In 1582 and at the age of 7, she was kidnapped by Algerian corsairs on the beach of Santa Maria La Scala , a seaside village at the foot of Acireale, and sold in Constantinople, together with his brother, as a slave to Sultan Selim II. Stella learns to read, write and speak Arabic, Persian and Turkish correctly. The girl dances excellently and her vast notions of history and geography fascinate the sultan. Amuratte III, in 1595, succeeds his father Selim II and marries the young Sicilian. Stella gives birth to 7 daughters, no sons. Although officially deprived of the crown for not having given an heir, Stella remains the favorite. Beautiful, intelligent and loved, she ranks among the most interesting figures. The revenge of the slave, with the strength and courage to know, learn and free oneself.
The second legend tells the story of Venera, an unfortunate but very strong character. Venera, daughter of the widow Lona, meets Halidè, daughter of the Bey of Tunis. The story begins in 1650, when an Ottoman fleet is surprised by a violent storm and a surviving galley runs aground on the rocks of the beach of Santa Maria La Scala, a fishing village at the foot of Acireale. The crew is captured by the inhabitants to enter into negotiations with the Ottoman Empire and to make an exchange with Christian slaves. The idea comes from Friar Lazzaro who subsequently leaves for negotiations that will last two years. Halidè knows and binds to Venera. He takes her to the Castle and then to Constantinople when Lona dies. Here, Venera marries the sultan and the following year gives birth to a boy. The sultan, however, asks her to renounce the Christian faith and convert. Venera, even if in love, refuses and runs away. She escapes with Friar Lazzaro, returning from a mission, but is chased and killed by the sultan's henchmen together with the religious.
The third legend tells the story of Rosalia. During the marriage of a fisherman, little Rosalia was kidnapped in Acitrezza and taken to Constantinople. The memories of Sicily remained vivid in her, so much so that she always sang about her land. His voice again attracted a sultan. Thus Rosalia became his favorite. The young woman expressed only one desire: to let her parents know about her. The sultan agreed on the condition that he had a male heir. As soon as a son was born, a messenger was sent to Sicily. The parents and even the relatives, however, had already died. The sultan never told his beloved about the horrible discovery, but Rosalia knew in her heart. Melancholy sighed and took the blame for the death of her loved ones. She alleged that she was punished for denying God.
The fourth legend speaks of Rosa. The young woman was captured by pirates in Capo Passero, in the province of Syracuse. Daughter of a wealthy sailor from Acitrezza, she was betrothed to a man who lived in Malta. The girl, also a favorite of the sultan, was named sultan by Selim I, who never violated her purity. Rosa spent her days thinking about Felice, not the man chosen by her father, but the grandson of the castellan of the Aci fortress. One day, walking in the garden of the menagerie, he heard a song. Rosa recognized the voice, it was that of Felice, who had also ended up in slavery. This time, fate turned out to be benevolent and the two, after the sultan's death, taking advantage of the ensuing riot, fled together and finally reached their Sicily.