Patron saint of the city, Agata was born to a rich and noble family of Catania at the beginning of the III century. At 15 she devoted herself to God’s service and soon after she became Deacon. According to the oral tradition, during her consecration (called Velatio) she was invested with the red veil symbol of the faith. That was the time when Roman Emperor Septimius Severus tightened the persecutions against the Christians. In Catania, pro-consul Quinziano, an evil and arrogant man, took particular interest in fighting Christianity, mostly for economic reasons because he would confiscate the land and property of the prosecuted. Tradition states that he fell in love (or lust) with the young woman. He tried to seduce her, repudiate her faith and to force her to give into his desires. He tried but with no avail, so he decided to arrest her and put her through torture. First lashed, then her breasts were removed and, finally, she was placed on the hot coals. While she was in the furnace a big Earthquake shook the city and the population rebelled forcing the proconsul to transfer the dying Saint Agata back to her cell, where she died a few hours later.
Astonishingly her veil remained unblemished and it was immediately consecrated amongst the most important relics of the saint. It is to pay homage to this tradition that the headboard and the carpet on which the reliquary float is rested are a tint of red between the burning flame and the spilt blood of the Saint. The bed echoes the reliquary float hinting the colours and translucent veil. The float is placed between two fabric prints that encapsulate the processions during the festival. We relive the mystic fervour of the “santuzza” (Sicilian for Dear Saint) by representing the jail of her torments with a single piece of iron at the entrance, on her votive altar hinting at her suffering, in the golden splendour of the space, descending through a chromatic mist.