Ceriana and the Talking Fountain

Lucia Gaggero | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Ceriana is the village where my mother's family comes from, it's part of my origins, part of me, and even if I've never lived there and my mother left the village with her parents when she was only six, I always felt a connection to this place that I love so much. Ceriana is also a particular place, full of mysteries, legends and stories, I remember when I was a child both my grandmother and my great grandmother telling me all kind of stories happened here in the village, sometimes scaring sometimes less however impressive for a little kid. Lately I've came here quite often when visiting my parents, enjoying the local Liguria di Ponente recipes and started investigating a little about all those stories.

By the facts Ceriana is a Pre-Roman village, and has in total 17 churches or chapels, which is a really big number for a small town of the Liguria's backcountry, it's the only village in all Liguria to have such an amount or religious places within a single village. To contrast the catholic religion, like in Triora the presence of Basure (witches in the dialect of Liguria)was well known. So, between religion and paganism, mysteries and mystical stories are present all over the village.

For Exemple it is told that the witches that are represented in the frescos from the 1500 in the Count Palace walls, become alive during night of summer solstice and dance on the floor of the palace. Another funny story my grand ma used to tell me and before my great grandmother used to tell my mother it's about a fountain. there is not far from the main place of the village under a vault formed by one of its carrugi (narrow Ligurian streets) a fountain that apparently was a magic one.

Unfortunately nowadays the original fountain was closed, and then replaced by just an ugly faucet forgotten by everyone. I wonder however, if the magic is still there. It was told that that fountain was an oracle, and that it used to talk. The Grandfather of my grandfather was a blacksmith and one day he went to the fountain to clean his tools when suddenly he saw some hair coming out of it with the water so he pulled them to pulled them out and he heard a voice saying, "be gently you hurt me!". I've talked about it to some old people of the village and they remember the same story he wasn't the only one who found some hair coming out from the fountain, others in the village experienced it as well. But more extraordinary, one day my grandfather's grandfather was cleaning his tools again and he thought out loud how wonderful it would have been if his works never got rusted. Suddenly the fountain talked again and said:"Salt, sand and beat" he waited a little looked around him and the fountain repeated it again "Salt, sand and beat" he run home and tried all the possible combinations until he found the solution and he became famous in all village because any of his creations, gates, restorations were rusting with time. Still today old from the village remember the works of my grandfather's grandfather telling the legend that apparently nothing was rusting.

Unfortunately he never told the secret to anyone, today the fountain has been replaced, but who knows maybe its magic is still present and one day someone will hear it talk while drinking its water or just washing his hands.

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