It is said that around the year 1100, the period of Arab domination in Sicily, in Palermo, lived a beautiful girl. The girl spent her days almost exclusively at home, devoting herself to the care of the plants that adorned her balcony. One day a young dark man saw the beautiful girl intent on watering her flowers, and immediately fell in love with it. He decided to want it all for himself and, without delay, went into the house of the girl to declare his love.
The girl, struck by that ardent and intense feeling, returned the love of the young dark-haired, but when she learned that he would soon leave her to go back to her lands in the East, where the wife and her children awaited her, she took advantage of the night and he killed him as he lay asleep. The girl cut off his head, and with this he made a vase where he planted a basil plant. Finally he put it on display outside in the balcony, so that the man would remain forever with her.
THE GENIO OF PALERMO
The Genius of Palermo is one of the most ancient and complex mythological figures of the city tradition and expression of an ancient popular spirituality, probably dating back to pre-Roman times. The Genius (from the Greek ghenos = birth and from the Latin genius = generator of life) was an immanent being able to protect the place, natural or not, in which the man and his family lived or lived: it is the Genius loci for the note. The Genius is always depicted as an old man seated on a throne and crowned, he is accompanied by a snake in the act of biting or sucking his chest and sometimes surmounted by an eagle or with a dog at his feet. The snake nourished by the Genius is indicative of renewal and transformation, also thanks to relations with foreigners who in the course of the city's history were sometimes conquerors and sometimes guests, produced commerce, trade, trade, remixing of ethnic groups and matrix of cultural changes. The majestic golden eagle is the symbol of the city of Palermo, while the dog crouching at the foot of the Genio represents loyalty.
While a terrible epidemic raged in the city from a ship coming from Tunis, the Saint appeared to a poor 'saponaro' on Monte Pellegrino. On June 9, 1625 a solemn procession took place with the relics of the Saint found, immediately freeing the city of Palermo from the plague, thus dividing the patron saint of the city, depriving the other patrons of the city, including Cristina, Oliva, Ninfa and Agata.
The cult is particularly alive in Palermo, where every year, on the 14th and 15th of July, the traditional "Festino" is repeated, culminating in the fireworks show of the 14th night and in the procession in his honor on the 15th.