During the 17th century, many academies that were developing had to satisfy certain requirements, among which were having a name, a motto, and a Patron Saint. In the case of Teatro Grande, Accademia degli Erranti chose Saint Catherine of Siena as their protector and adopted the crescent moon symbol surmounted by the motto Non Errat Errando. This sort of “slogan” acquired even more meaning when it was also added over the entrance of the academy’s headquarters.
Hic reparatis Hephesi ruinis / Cynthia comitata musis vallata Amazonibus / non errat errando. /
Haec si cupis intueri quis quis es / uno dempto Herostrato / ascende viator.
The sentence is intentionally written in emphatic Latin and the reference to the Greek myth of Cynthia (Diana in Latin, a goddess identified with the Moon) provides the fundamental principles of the academy. Some argue that the reference to the myth of Diana derives from the fact that in the St. Faustino monastery area, old headquarters of the Accademia, there was once a Roman temple dedicated to Diana. So, as Cynthia fled from the burnt debris of Ephesus temple and – accompanied by the Amazons – found a shelter where to start her own activity again, the academics did the same by leaving their first residence to establish their final headquarters in this new place. “Errare” means wandering but also being wrong, however here it is to be interpreted positively, as a way to start again and gain more experience from past lessons to improve in the future. Therefore, those who want to learn more – except those who deny the importance of the arts and of intellect, as Herostratus did by setting fire to Diana’s temple – are invited to “ascend”. This verb has both a literal meaning (go up the stairs of the academy) and a metaphorical meaning that suggests the possibility for those who go to the academy to increase their knowledge, culture, and artistic vision.