Faeries have always held an important position in Italian folklore. They were powerful, numerous and were a part of everyday life. There are several races of faery: sprites, elves, dwarfs, giants, trolls, changelings, and sirens.
In Sicily, there was a belief that the elves or fairies would make contact with humans, mostly women, whom they took to Benevento, the Blockula of Sicily. The fairies were called donas de fuera, which was also a name for the women who associated with them. The fairies where described as beauties dressed in white, red or black; they could be male or female, and their feet were the paws of cats, horses or of a peculiar “round” shape. They came in groups of five or seven and a male fairy played the lute or the guitar while dancing. The fairies and the humans were divided into companies in different sizes (different ones for noble and non-noble humans), under the lead of an ensign.
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the fairies met the humans belonging to their company in the woods. In March, several companies gathered, and their “Prince” instructed them to be benevolent creatures. A congregation called The Seven Fairies could transform themselves to cats and something called aydon; ayodons where able to kill.
The fairies could easily be offended by humans. In one story, a man who was not associated with the fairies and was unable to see them developed a painful cramp after hitting one of the fairies who was listening to him play music. Another story involves several people who had disturbed the fairies while they nocturnally travelled from house to house, eating and drinking as they routinely embraced the town’s infants. On those occasions, the person in question paid one of the people associated with the fairies to be the host of a dinner at their homes, meeting the fairies while the owners of the house slept.
This is a race of female spirits. They are the spirits of the mountains and hills, and the streams and rivers. They love to wear the color red and usually have a magic cap of red to provide invisibility. Their associated element is Water.
Known as the ‘woman-kisser’, he rides the noonday breezes and steals kisses as he passes by. Their associated element is Air.
These are trooping faeries who are small, skinny and always nude. They are all partially or totally blind and spend their time trooping together. If you encounter the Callicantzaroi, identify yourself as a friend and offer them some pork, as this is their favorite food. Their associated element is Earth.
The Candelas typically appear as a grouping of tiny flickering lights, almost like fire flies. They may be seen just after sundown. Their associated element is Earth.
These are the guardians of forests and fields. They are a wood spirit. When the Fauni mated with the Faunae, the Incubi were born. Their associated element is Earth.
FOLLETTI – FARFARELLI
The Folletti travel in the wind and can be seen at play, causing swirls in the dust. They are female. One of their favorite appearances is in the form of butterflies. They are usually friendly towards humans, but can be mischievous. Their associated element is Air.
The Folletto travel in the wind and can be seen at play, causing swirls in the dust. They are male; small and light and practically invisible, but their distinguishing feature is that their toes point backwards. They seem to pay no attention to humans, but can be mischievous and annoying. They change the weather merely for their own sport and not for any baneful purpose. Their associated element is Air.
They are female, solitary wood elves who will occasionally aid humans. They are master cloth weavers, but weave for fun rather than for anyone’s benefit. Divination is another one of their talents. Their usual method of divining to to scry into their moving spinning wheels. Their associated element is Earth.
The Incubi were originally herd sprites. Their associated element is Earth.
This is a race of sprites. They are less than two feet tall, have black eyes and black curly hair. The Lauru are rarely seen during the day. Their associated element is Air.
LINCHETTO – BUFFARDELLO – CACCAVECCHIA – MAZAPEGOLO
They belong to the elven race, specifically night elves. They hate disorder and will not dwell where there is disorder. These elves are said to cause nightmares and odd noises in the night. Their associated element is Air.
MASSERIOL – MAGUT – MAZAPEGUL
They are always male, dress in red and have a booming laugh. He is plump but always impeccably dressed and groomed. They have been known to help out on farms as long as they don’t have to get themselves dirty. In some legends they give a lot of gold to people (essentially woman) that like them. Their associated element is Earth.
These a gnome-like spirits associated with caves or tunnels. Their associated element is Earth.
MONACIELLO – MAMUCCA – PUNDACCIU
They are always male, dress in red and are always drunk, but not unfriendly. Their name, Monaciello, means ‘little monk’ which is how their hooded cloak-dress makes them appear. They inhabit and guard wine cellars. They have merry personalities and like to steal human clothing for sport. Their associated element is Earth.
They are dwarves with a mean disposition. They are master shape-changers and smell horrible. When they are seen, they appear as bearded males. They dwell in caves. Contact is not advised. Their associated element is Air.
They are giants with a mean disposition. When they are seen, they appear as bearded males. They live on clouds and only descend to earth for food. Contact is not advised. Their associated element is Air.
They are the elemental spirits of the North. They are very etheric and have influence over mental processes, creativity, thought and concept.
They are spirits who are especially good friends to lovers. Their associated element is Fire.
They have influence over inner motivation, the subconscious, and life fluids. Their associated element is Fire.
SILVANI – SALVANI
They appear as winged wood nymphs who have a very filmy appearnce, almost ghost-like. They are of no use to humans, but do not seek to harm us. Clothed in red, they wear animal furs. Their name, Silvani, means ‘wooded’ or ‘woodland’. They love the color red and are attracted to anything of this color. The Silvani are the protectors of all animal wildlife. Their associated element is Air.