Hidden treasures

The legend of Melusina and the stone heart of Sotoportego dei Preti

Mysteries & Legends
Melusina

The legend of Melusina and the stone heart of Sotoportego dei Preti

February: the feast of lovers is approaching and you are thinking of relishing magical experiences together with your better half in Venice, one of the most romantic cities in the world ... what's more romantic than discovering and sharing tender moments in the places where great and lesser-known love stories were born? Today we take you to a secret corner that hides a small stone heart, the Sotoportego dei Preti (Sottoportico dei Preti) in the Castello district.

There are no mentions of this heart in history guidebooks, however there is a fairy tale about it which, by word of mouth, still survives today.

One night near Malamocco, a young Venetian fisherman named Orio, was intent on pulling the nets onto the boat when he distinctly heard a female voice shouting: - ‘Please, set me free! I beg you!’ and saw the face of a beautiful woman emerge from the water. Shortly afterwards the man realized that he was in front of a beautiful mermaid whose name was Melusina. The two fell in love and Melusina, in order to live together with her promised husband, gave up her aquatic nature and moved to live in Orio's home, however, on the condition that he keep away from the house every Saturday until the wedding day. Initially the fisherman obeyed the request of beautiful Melusina. However, after a few weeks, driven by jealousy and curiosity, one Saturday he stormed into the house and found himself in front of a terrifying snake which turned out to be Melusina herself, who every Saturday was condemned to be transformed due to a terrible curse which could be ended only with love and marriage. The couple married and had three children. One day, however, the beautiful mermaid became ill and died. The poor fisherman was left alone with his three children, and, on top of feeling very sad, he had to cope with his work and household chores, but every time he returned home, he found the children and his home always perfectly tidy. One day, after returning home earlier due to a storm, he found a snake in the kitchen. Worried about the safety of his children, he killed it. Since that moment, the house was never tidy again and Orio understood that the snake was none other than his love, Melusina, or rather, her surviving animal part, now dead forever by his hand.

So, in memory of this story, in the place where the house of Orio and Melusina was located, a red brick heart was placed which is said to bring good luck... if you touch it together with your loved one, your love will be destined to last forever!

If you want to treat your great love in romantic Venice, don't miss our ideas for a truly unforgettable Valentine's Day!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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