The online resource on slow and experiential tourism
Join our community

The legend of the love between Cristalda and Pizzomunno

Monday 17 july 2023

One of the most popular legends of Gargano. A pure and unstoppable love, contrasted by some wicked sirens, which will be the protagonist of the song that Max Gazzè will present to the 68th Sanremo Music Festival.

The legend of the love between Cristalda and Pizzomunno

We are in Vieste, a beautiful village on the Apulian coast, where the crystal-clear sea kisses the sand of the beaches and the warm colours of the sunset magically transform this land, making it the ideal place for a poignant love story. Walking along the coast, perhaps hand in hand with a loved one, we cannot help but be further enthralled by the imposing white monolith known as Pizzomunno.

The white monolith is the most impressive in the world.

25 metres high, the Pizzomunno stacks up against the coast, proud and powerful, a presence on dark nights, on which the moon's rays are reflected, almost as if inhabited by a luminescent soul, a trapped and impetuous ghost, but at the same time powerless, motionless, desperate.

There are those who say that sometimes the monolith inexplicably disappears. There are those who convince themselves, sailing at night and not finding it within sight, that they have ended up somewhere else and not in front of Vieste, even though they know the coast by heart. A mysterious fact, which may instead have an explanation for its being or not being… the….

In ancient times, the population of Vieste was mostly made up of fishermen, who lived in huts on the edge of the sea to facilitate the transport of fish from their boats. Among these fishermen, young Pizzomunno stood out for his strength, beauty and vigour. All the girls in the village had eyes and attention only for him.

High, charming, good-natured, he was not enticed by the courtship of his peers. His heart was only for the sea, which he sailed every day in his boat, and for Cristalda, the most beautiful girl in the village: her hair as blond as the sun, her skin the colour of roses and her eyes the colour of the sea.

The heart was also for Cristalda, the most beautiful girl in the village.

The maiden's heart, too, was only for him.

A feeling in every way reciprocated, pure.

The two could be seen holding each other and flirting by the sea every evening. When Pizzomunno returned in his boat, the girl was already waiting for him.

An unbreakable love that aroused envy in the girls of the village… and not only.


During his fishing trips, Pizzomunno had to face dangers other than the force of the sea and its capricious waves. Every day, bewitched by his beauty, a group of mermaids tried to beguile Pizzomunno with their songs, promising to become his servants, to give him eternal life, to make him king of their magical kingdom. But the love that bound the young man to Cristalda was so strong that he resisted the traps of the sirens and always returned home safe and sound. His passion for the maiden was so powerful that it rendered the efforts of those enchantresses futile, making him deaf to their bewitching song, blind and indifferent to the beauty of their naked bodies, which they generously displayed to him in the waves, to flatter him, provoke him, take him forever. To their temptations Pizzomunno replied that his love for Cristalda could not end, not even after their deaths.

When he sat on the beach embracing Cristalda, gazing out to sea on calm summer nights, just hearing the distant song of the sirens, Pizzomunno laughed, pitied them. But the wrath of a mermaid cannot be pitied, it can only be feared.

Rebellious, feeling that the presumptuous Pizzomunno always thwarted their efforts to ensnare him, the sirens decided that his affront, and that love so pure, had to be punished. Resolutely outraged, after consultation they devised a terrible revenge to end the love between the two lovers forever.

One night that seemed like any other, the two lovers stood embraced on the seashore gazing at the stars, unaware of the danger that would soon befall them. The sirens approached the two lovers and, with a flick of their wrists, forcefully snatched the beautiful Cristalda from his arms, chaining her up and dragging her with them to the bottom of the sea.

The sirens, who were in love with the two lovers, were the first to take the beautiful Cristalda from his arms.

Invano Pizzomunno launched himself in pursuit of the sirens, but worry and exhaustion gradually drained his strength. Despair at losing Cristalda assailed him and he finally petrified.... frozen, inanimate... transforming himself forever into that imposing stack in front of the beach at Vieste. At the sight of her beloved in an enormous, immobile rock, Cristalda, chained and heartbroken, began to weep, and some say that she turned into a pink coral, from the top of which came tears and laments.

The sudden transformation of Cristalda into a pink coral, from the top of which came tears and laments.

L'improvvisa trasformazione del giovane e il pianto disperato di Cristalda colpì profondamente le sirene, che si resero conto del dolore che avevano provocato e s'impietosirono di fronte alla forza di un simile amore. Nonostante fossero riuscite a separarli, ogni cosa in quella spiaggia era intriso di quella forza, dal mare alla spiaggia tutto continuava a parlare di loro. Così le sirene concessero loro di potersi riabbracciare di nuovo, ma soltanto per una notte, ogni cento anni.

Da allora ogni cento anni, e per una notte soltanto, Pizzomunno ritorna umano e Cristalda riemerge dagli abissi del mare, in modo da potersi riabbracciare ed amarsi sulla loro amata spiaggia. 

Se passando da quella spiaggia nella notte del 15 agosto (dicono) vi sembra che Pizzomunno non sia dove dovrebbe essere, allora vuol dire che è una notte d’amore, di compassione e di passione; una notte speciale in cui i due amanti ricongiunti si stringono, consapevoli che all'alba torneranno ad essere divisi per altri cento anni.

Vieste in notturna

Questa leggenda, è stata cantata da Max Gazzè durante la sessantottesima edizione del Festival di Sanremo, contiene una variante meno conosciuta. Si dice che Cristalda fosse anch’essa una sirena e che il suo amore, contraccambiato dal bel Pizzomunno, provocasse l’invidia e lo sdegno delle sorelle, le quali, ingelosite dalla fortuna del loro amore, trasformarono il giovane in una roccia, permettendo ai due di potersi ricongiungere solo per una notte ogni cento anni. Al faraglione di Pizzomunno è legata anche un’altra peculiarità: si dice che girando attorno al macigno ed esprimendo un desiderio, questo si avveri.

Questo racconto ci offre la possibilità di congratularci con Max Gazzè, suo fratello Francesco e il noto autore Francesco De Benedettis (coautori del testo del brano), ed apprezzare il loro tentativo di portare sul più famoso palco della canzone italiana una storia legata alla tradizione, all'amore, al territorio, ma sopratutto, ad un borgo.

Don't miss anything from the world of e-borghi

Like us on our Facebook page and click on “Follow”
See great photos on our Instragram profile
Subscribe to our exclusive Youtube channel
Follow our tweets on Twitter

Sleep, eat, buy...

what else do you want
to discover?
e-borghi 2019-2024 All rights reserved • 3S Comunicazione - P. IVA 08058230965
Via Achille Grandi 46, 20017, Rho (Milano) | 02 92893360