Origin. Almonds come from Asia, in fact, it is a very common fruit in Russia, Japan and China. It was brought for the first time in Sicily, by the Ancient Greeks that used to trade with populations from the East. The almond, now, is a real icon in South Italy and in Apulia. The word comes form the Latin amygdalus which maybe refers to the ancient name of the Goddess Cibale; it means Great Mother.
The Myth. The origin of the almond tree, though, could refer to the Greek myth about Phyllis and Acamas. The myth sys that Phyllis, princess of Thracia, fell in love with Acamas, or Demophone as other sources say, who left to go to Troy to fight in the war. The princess promised to wait for him until the end of the conflict. However, after more than ten years he had not come back yet. So, Phyllis cried herself to death. The Goddess Athen, moved from this sad story, turned Phyllis in an Almond tree. Although Acamas was still alive and he was told that his lover was dead. On his way back to Thracia he hugged with all his love the Almond tree-Phyllis who bloomed his delicate flowers. This hug has happened since then at the beginning of each Spring.
This myth reminds of the Apulian tradition. Since the almond trees are the first to bloom in Spring, farmers and countrymen say that the real Spring starts with the blooming almond trees.
Nowadays the production of almonds in Apulia and Sicily represents the 90% of the whole Italy. The typology of almonds in Apulia are Filippo cea, Falsa Barese, Genco, Tuono, Fra Giulio. Among the Sicilian typology of almonds there is the Avola, Fascionello and Romana.