Sior Rioba at the Madonna dell' Orto in VeniceMysteries & Legends
Sior Rioba at the Madonna dell' Orto in Venice
Next to the Church of the Madonna dell'Orto in the sestiere of Cannaregio in Venice there is a small courtyard, Campo dei Mori, where you can see some odd looking statues, dressed in oriental costumes.
The legend says that the ancient inhabitants of the nearby Mastelli Palace (originating from the Morea region in Greece and therefore called ‘Mori') were ruthless bankers, who had robbed a Venetian noblewoman. In order to get justice, she prayed to ask Saint Mary Magdalene to put a curse on them. The three con men were consequently turned into stone to remind all passes by that divine justice would always punish the sinners.
In reality, these are three statues with pieces of sculptures from different epochs assembled during the 14th century, whilst the basements are portions of a former roman altar.
The statue in the corner, known as ‘Sior Rioba' is very famous and, similarly to the statue of Pasquino in Rome, was used to hang poems and satirical pieces of protest against politicians or prominent people in Venice.
In the 19th century ‘Sior Rioba' lost his nose that was later rebuilt in a makeshift fashion with a piece of wire. This gave rise to the legend claiming that luck would be on the side of those who rubbed the nose. During the night between 30th April and 1st May 2010 Sior Rioba had his head chopped off causing the immediate reaction of security forces and local people. Luckily the head was found in Calle della Racchetta on 3rd May and the statue was promptly repaired.
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