To mark the tenth anniversary in memory of the victims of the Twin Towers, in New York, I decided to publish an ancient legend that tells us about the need of people to live in Peace on Earth.
Wars, after all, are always tragically the same.
Same for all, in space and time.
But it seems that men are not interested at all to learn from past mistakes.
Each year, in February, the picturesque scenery of the Valley of the Temples, in Agrigento, is home to a unique event of international scope for which, symbolically, all the peoples of the Earth come together in a big hug, in the name of Peace.
So it’s celebrated the early arrival of spring in Sicily.
|Streets and cars under the valley by night...|
It’s manifested in the miraculous blossoming of almond flowers, which abound in the Valley of the Temples, wrapping this piece of ancient Magna Grecia in a magical light that warms the soul.
The origin of everything is an ancient and significant Greek myth, a story of war and love.
|Almond tree blossom|
Legend says that the flowering of the almond tree, is related to love between Acamas, glorious son of Theseus, and Phyllis, a young princess of Thrace.
Acamas, an expert warrior, set sail with the Achaeans to the Trojan War, fighting alongside Ulysses and other famous Greek heroes.
The war lasted ten interminable years, during which Phyllis waited faithfully Acamas.
Conquered and destroyed the city of Troy, the Greeks were at last able to travel to their homeland.
But as the survivors returned to their homes and their women, Phyllis did not see her beloved.
So she thought that Acamas was lost somewhere during the war.
Days were passing by for lonely Fillis, until when she was left to die, because of desperation.
Goddess Athena, moved with pity for the tragic end of the young girl, transformed her into a tree of Almond.
But Acamas was only restrained by a failure of his ship, he was not dead.
When he reached home he knew about the death of Phyllis and her extraordinary transformation.
He ran to the hill and hugged lovingly the tree.
Suddenly, the green foliage of the almond tree were covered with white and pink flowers, as if to reciprocate the tender embrace of Acamas.
Even now, in the Valley of the Temples, this miracle of nature is renewed every year in February, remembering to all the peoples of the world the sacred value of Love and Peace.
No matter who you are and where you come from: you’re welcome here, if you bring Peace.
A walk in the valley, among gods and heroes...
In 1997, the Valley of the Temples, in Agrigento (ancient Akragas, founded by Agragante, son of Zeus and the nymph Asterope), was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
It's easy to understand why, walking among the remains of this great civilization.
The gaze of the contemporary visitor lands on the noble ruins of the temple of Castor and Pollux, Dioscuri twins, to rest enchanted.
A little further on there stands the temple of Juno, wife of Zeus, protector of marriage and childbirth.
Even today, some betrothed couples come here to seek the protection of benevolent goddess.
The Temple of Concord, the only one still intact in its grandeur and beauty, was, in its time, Christian necropolis. Here are still visible in the vicinities, the typical burial niches.
The Temple of Hercules, demigod son of Zeus, is the oldest;
but of this now we can see only some columns,
to remember it in its importance and wealth.
It’s inevitable to think about it: southern Italy was considered by the Greeks a second homeland.
Indeed they called it Magna Graecia (Greater Greece).
Wandering among the ancient temples and tombs, we seem to take a walk back in time.
We can imagine to meet ancient priests and vestal virgins inside the temples, or try to follow the common men on their way to bring honor to the gods,
in search of peace and serenity for their home.
250 grams of peeled almonds (which some bitter)
1.250 liters of water
80 grams of sugar
Put the almonds in a bowl with boiling water for a couple of minutes, then depriving them of the cuticle and, little by little, crush in a mortar (if you do not have a mortar you can use a mixer), then collect them into a linen cloth.
Form a pouch, often wet with water, and every time, squeeze with your fingers to collect the white fluid that comes out in a bowl.
Repeat this a few times, until all the almonds and until you have maximized the proceeds pesto (you will put aside).
At this point, diluting the resulting liquid water (if you want to get milk from a stronger taste, decrease the amount of water).
Add the almonds and sugar (already stored after pressing), add sugar and keep in infusion for about two hours.
After the interval filter and collect the milk of almonds in a glass bottle.