Why "Giardino di Ausonia"

“Where Apsia, most sacred river, falls into the sea, the female joins the male, a city found thou there, the land of Ausonia is thy gift”:

this is the prophecy of the Greek god Apollo, who wanted a group of Chalcidian people to find the land of Ausonia, the land of the Sun, on the Ionian Sea. As told by the myths, this blooming and fruitful land is where a grape-vine entwines about a wild fig-tree. According to a story of a Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus, this was the sign that made the ships of the colonies to anchor along those shores, because they observed various marks featuring in the prophecy of the god. Hence, they founded a city there called Rhégion (probably derived from the Greek verb ρήγνυμι /regnumi/ = to break, to split); the name refers to the detachment of the land from Sicily. There are several other legends that surround the deep past of the city, for instance, the legend of commercial exchanges among Indo-European, Mediterranean and Oriental people (1260 B. C.). This is the period when the most demanded commodity was the Liparian obsidian, the source of economic power and supremacy of the people on Lipari Islands. When the last prince of Lipari Islands, Giocasto arrived in these lands, he found an agglomeration of cabins and caves between the rivers Scaccioti and Calopinace: he established his residence on the heights of Pentimele, on a plateau whose name underwent phonetic distortion from Liparini to Luparini and Lupardini. The origin of “Via Lupardini” can be traced back to the name of this place, and it also signals the way to our establishment. At the time, when Heracles crossed the Straits, Giocasto lived and ruled on these heights and he controlled Eastern and Western water traffic in the bay below. This was a glorious era for the city, which was remembered as a memorable period even in the time of the tyrant Anaxilas of Reggio (498 B. C.), the only person who managed to revive such splendor. And even in those days, there was talk about the extraordinary Menhir (vertical, monolithic superstructure), which was erected to the memory of Giocasto, the most regal and most powerful lord of the coast of Reggio. The Menhir was built after the death of Giocasto on the current heights of Lupardini in a way that every seaman could pay homage his greatness. Naturally, the structure of the Menhir refers to the mystery of power, the passage of souls and the Orphic rites: these rites soften the bloodiest parts of the Dionysus cult with offers accompanied by dancing and liturgical songs. These ceremonies were widespread in Ancient Greece and were practiced in the woods of these heights. For centuries, the Menhir of Giocasto was being kept in Lupardini or Pentimele, to which we can connect the song of the wind, the gift of the god Aeolus to Giocasto and the forest of the hill, that is, the place of Orphic rites which summarize the roots of the community of Reggio. The slope of the hill of Pentimele was probably, a taboo to an extent that the Romans used it to build a prison tower (1 B. C.). There are many other rumours and testimonies about this hill which make evident its important role in the history of this ancient and fascinating city. When you come to these places keep your ears open just for a moment and you will recognize the song of the wind; take a deep breath and you will smell the scent of fruit-trees on the hill; open your eyes, look around and you will feel the warmth of the land of the Sun, Giardino di Ausonia.