Hidden treasures

The Pietro Aretino's tomb in San Luca church in Venice

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The Pietro Aretino's tomb in San Luca church in Venice

The little-known church of San Luca in Venice (in St Mark's district) has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries for people who are decidedly not devout: libertines, non believers, journalists, writers, free thinkers. In fact in 1556 Pietro Aretino, a unique character of the Italian and Venetian Renaissance period was buried here.

He was a very versatile writer, famous for his Lascivious Sonnets – which caused great scandal at the time – and  for his manual about a perfect prostitute, but also for his satirical verses, addressed to all the powerful people in Italy, without forgetting the many plays that he wrote for the theatre.

Legend has it that he died in Venice in a extremely particular way: while listening to an obscene story he laughed so hard that he fell backwards and bang his head. He was buried in St Luca church and on his tombstone a singular epitaph was placed: Here lies Aretino, poet Tosco, that every one spoke poorly about, except Christ, who apologized saying: 'I do not know him'!.

At  the end of the 1800s, during the reconstruction works of the floor of the church, this plaque disappeared, but that did not stop the many 'pilgrims', who came looking for some trace of the poet. On either side of the main altar there were canvases from the first half of the 1600s, in which according to tradition, Aretino was portrayed in a crowd: a zealous pastor of the mid 19th century had them removed - they are still missing - so as not to get any more visiting non-believers!

To know many other curious anecdotes about Venice enquire about the availability of Francesca! The author of this fascinating section will reveal the most hidden and unique stories of Venice with a special itinerary tailored for you!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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