Ruggero the Norman, the descendant of the Altavilla Dynasty, Count of Calabria and the first Great Lord of Sicily, born in 1031 in France, in Normandy, almost certainly in the village of Hauteville-la Guichard and arrived in Italy, at the age of 26, together with his elder brother Robert Guiscard, to conquest new territories.
He was a testimonial, as we would say today, of the perfect aristocrat according to the description of the Benedictine Monk Goffredo Malaterraauthor of a "Chronicle" on the arrival of the two noble brothers in Calabria and Sicily.
"He was a young man - he wrote- very handsome, of tall stature and elegant proportions, ready to speak, wise in his advice, far-sighted when dealing with business. He was always of friendly and cheerful character. He was, moreover, endowed with great physical strength and great courage in fights.
And by virtue of these merits, he soon gained the favor of everyone".
In short, a sort of social fashion, ahead of his time, for a few years, in perfect agreement with his brother, made known the name and power of the House of Altavilla in the South of Italy conquered by their own armies. The harmony was interrupted by the strong contrasts on the division of the Calabrian territories. This was the beginning of a feud in which Gerace found itself siding in favor of Ruggero despite its previous approval of the lordship of Duke Roberto whom in order to take back the power entered the city, hidden by a large hood and with the help of Basilio, a local noble that would pay with his life for having helped Duke Roberto.
A sad ending that would have seemed to also be that of Guiscardo. He was however imprisoned by the followers of Count Ruggero despite his having retracted, writes Fra' Simone from Lentini in "Manuscript on the Normans": "The Count having heard such sad news, moved by the family tie which he still felt so strongly that he began to cry and gathered a group to take weapons and horses in order to free his brother". Once freed and upon seeing each other, the Count and the Duke embraced one another and cried because their adverse fortune had returned prosperous". The Count then took him about the town where the citizens promised their vassalage to both.
A happy ending that Gerace remembers with "Il Tocco", a historical re-enactment that involves the locals and tourists , which is re-created to be able to witness the newfound harmony again reacquired between the two brothers, French by birth but Calabrian by adoption. So generous, supportive, ready to open the doors of their homes while exclaiming with a smile,making the tourist feel like a unique and important friend, affectionately awaited.