Hidden treasures

The crocodile in San Michele Extra in Verona

Mysteries & Legends

The crocodile in San Michele Extra in Verona

Built by the famous architect Michele Sanmicheli starting in 1559, to house a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Pace is located in the suburb of San Michele Extra near Verona.

A building adjacent to the church oddly houses a 5 meter long stuffed crocodile, hanging from the ceiling.

Legend has it that it was donated by Bianca Bevilacqua Lazise, who had inherited it from an ancestor who had taken part in the crusades in 1608.

Another legend tells us instead that the reptile was brought to San Michele by the members of a wealthy family... Once adult, the crocodile was abandoned in the marshy countryside along the River Adige, where he wandered undisturbed terrorizing the local people and gobbling up herds of animals and children, whilst hunters were unable to catch it. Eventually, a girl, inspired by the Virgin Mary, came up with the advice of digging up a well and covering it with shrubs with chunks of meat hanging over it to act as a bait. The crocodile fell into the trap and, once embalmed, was given to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Pace, as a very original votive offering.

If you are on holiday in Verona, our advice for you is to pay a visit to San Michele Extra to see this original creature!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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