In the Footsteps of Samson

By Antonio Porreca

From a magazine that I stopped to look at, I was able to gather some news that seemed to me to be very interesting about the walk being programmed for 15th August to the Madonna of the Roses.

Maybe not everyone knows that near the Church of the Madonna of the Roses, in a small cliff that rises opposite Lama Dei Peligni on the western side of the Aventine River, there is a footprint of the mythical pagan hero, Samson, to whom Turricell has dedicated a street (abbal p lu calacroce).

At Civitaluparella, on a large cliff there are some giant-sized prints that bring to mind human footprints similar to those found at Lama and at Torricella. G. Finamore also speaks of the legend about Samson (Samsonís Thumb) when he refers to a tradition at Gessopalena regarding the "Morgia". The Morgia is a hard, rough rock that rises alone above a flat zone near to Torricella.

According to one legend Samson took it from the mountain at Lama and carried it there taking three steps: with the first he reached Colledimacine, with the second Fallascoso and with the third Gessopalena. In depositing the block, however, he rested his right hand on the ground and in fact, on a plate of rock nearby there is a hollow of elliptical shape that is believed to have been made by the thumb of Samsonís hand.

Apart from this legend, there are documents that testify to the cult of this Pagan hero in the Aventine Valley.

In fact in the Roman era, as for other neighbouring zones this was dependent on the Town Council of Juvanum.

I have not been able to identify the footprint in the rock, but I am sure that by taking advantage of this walk and with the participation of more people, this research can be carried out and a disclosure can be obtained.

© Amici di Torricella

Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca

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