The Hand of the Devil at San Felice Circeo

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Strange tales and legends are woven into the wild places, rocky spurs and thickets of the Lepini Mountains and the Pontine Area.

According to a popular folktale, in the 19th century, along the Via del Faro in San Felice Circeo, there was a rock formation near the 1st-century Latin inscription that read the following riddle in Latin: "Whoever could decipher the inscription would become rich, as the mountain would break apart, letting gold coins rain down".

It is said that this rock, a kind of stalactite, was right under the Latin inscription and was shaped like a large hand. This was so big that it was called the hand of the Devil.

Today, that hand is no longer there, and no evidence of its existence has ever survived: neither paintings of the time nor black and white photos. Yet the people of San Felice Circeo continue to talk about it and the story remains linked to the suggestive territory of San Felice Circeo.

Some say that the rock was destroyed when the ancient Roman road was laid out and widened, and others instead that a local monastic order destroyed it with explosives because they considered it dangerous and wanted to avert any pagan rites being celebrated at the demonic structure. In short, a real mystery surrounds its disappearance.

It is said that a nun had also disappeared in the same area and that her sighs echoed throughout the night.

Who destroyed the Devil's hand?

Did anyone really manage to decipher the inscription and did the mountain split apart?