Trinacria: The Symbol of Sicily

 In Culture & Arts

The Trinacria Symbol is known worldwide as the emblem of Sicily. But why a woman with three legs? And what does it mean? Let’s find out more about the history of Sicily.

The history of Trinacria

The Triskelion, known in Sicily also as the Trinacria, is the three-legged woman that symbolises Sicily. First adopted in 1282 by the Sicilian Vespers, it is currently the official flag of the autonomous Sicilian region.

Officially, the Trinacria became the Sicilian flag in 1943, during the World War II. The leader of the independence movement, Andrea Finocchiaro Aprile, was the first to adopt this symbol. During WWII, the Sicilian independentists helped the Allies to land in the coasts. After winning the war, the Allies helped Sicily become independent from Italy.

Eventually, independentists used a yellow and red flag, with the Trinacria in the centre. They wanted to remark their detachment from the Italian government. After the end of When World War II, the Italian government recognised Sicily as an autonomous region.

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Trinacria Symbol in Sicily Mythology

Medusa

In the Ancient Mythology, the Gorgon is a mythological figure who was each of the three daughters of two Gods of the sea. The Three daughters were Medusa, Stheno (“strong”), and Euryale (“the large”). Medusa was mainly known for her ability to turn mortal men to stone with one gaze. But the goddess was also known for her help to fight the forces of evil. In the Trinacria, the head of Medusa stands in the centre.

In the Symbol of Sicily, the head of Medusa appears with entwined serpents hair and ears of corn. The ears of wheat represent the symbol of the fertility of the land.

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The Three Legs

The three legs in the Trinacria Symbol stand for the three promontories of Sicily. Those promontories are Cape Pelorus, Cape Passero, and Cape Lilibeo.

Moreover, in ancient mythology, the arrangement of the three legs suggests a rotation. Researchers linked this shape to the Eastern religious symbol of the God of the Moon, where the Scythes replaced the three legs.

The Trinacria Symbol Today

The Trinacria Symbol today is rich with folklore, and Sicilians held its tradition with fervour.

Besides from Sicily, Trinacria symbol is used on the Isle of Man flags. Over the history, we can find the use of Trinacria also in Crete, Macedonia, and in Celtiberian Spain

The Trinacria Symbol was also present in the coats of several noble dynasties. Among these, we can name the Stuarts of Albany, the Rabensteiner, the Schanke, the Drocomir, and that of Joachim Murat, King of Naples and Sicily.

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Discover Trinacria Arts in Sicily

If you are interested in Sicily Mythology, the Trinacria Symbol, and the Tradition of Sicilian Ceramics, you can check our Sicily Tours.

In particular, you can book a Five Days Tour of Sicily, if you want to see and learn everything about the history of Sicily.

On the other side, if you have just a few hours, you can choose our One Day Escorted Tour of Cefalu and Santo Stefano or our Classic Taormina Shore Excursion.