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"Mata and Grifone legend" Top 5 Page for this destination Messina Things to Do Tip by isolina_it

Messina Things to Do: 65 reviews and 202 photos


Mata and Grifone are two figures, one a beautiful young lady, the other a Saracen soldier, on horseback. There are many versions of the legend of Mata and Grifone, some say they were the true founders of Messina, others that they were Muslim prisoners taken by the mercenary soldier Ruggero D'Altavilla in 1086. Our favourite, and the most popular one, brings us back in time to 964, when Messina was the last outpost in Sicily to resist Arab occupation. During the siege of Messina the Arab general, Hassas Ibn-Hammar, set his eyes upon Mata, the beautiful daughter of a local merchant. He fell hopelessly in love and forced her to marry him. The Saracen did all he could to captivate Mata but nothing would melt her heart until he converted to Christianity. He changed his name to Grifo, and soon became known as Grifone (Big Grifo) for obvious reasons. The two, Mata and Grifone, needless to say, lived happily ever after

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  • Written May 12, 2003
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