Hidden treasures

The Valley of the Seven Dead Men

Mysteries & Legends
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The Valley of the Seven Dead Men

Halloween is just around the corner: have you already got into the fascinating terrifying aura of the scariest party of the year? No yet? Well, we will take care of it and tell you about a famous folks’ legend set in the lagoon of Venice which will give you goose pimples whilst also carrying an important ethical meaning.

On a peaceful night, off the coast of Pellestrina, seven fishermen were busy pulling the nets on their boat. They were happy because from the weight of their fishing nets, they guessed it was going to be a bumper catch. However, instead of finding beautiful thick fish in the nets, they found the swollen body of a drowned person. The chill of fear and death took hold of them, after pulling themselves together, they hauled the poor man onto the boat and laid him on the deck, but they did not even have time to cover him with a cloth, when a terrible storm unleashed followed by choppy and roaring waters: the bragozzo boat was out of control, tossed around by the waves. But after sails were put down and thanks to the experience of the ship master, the seven men miraculously managed to reach the valley and save their lives.

Once on the shore the cold and hungry sailors noticed among the reeds an inviting light that felt like home, heat ... as they approached it, they saw a beautiful illuminated thatched house. In here lived Zaneto, a young and skinny orphan abandoned by his masters who had been living alone for a long time. As the fishermen approached, the young man jumped to his feet to meet them but the seven men ignored him completely, like a ghost.

They entered the thatched house and took control of it: whilst swearing they thrashed it, lit the fire to dry their clothes and then prepared the pot for a nice polenta. Meanwhile, poor Zaneto, holed up in a corner, watching in fascination the dinner being cooked and as soon as the golden polenta was poured on the table, his stomach began to grumble, claiming his portion. Unfortunately, the voracious mouths of the fishermen quickly devoured bite after bite the polenta that was disappearing in front of his eyes!

Thus, the boy, fearing he’d be left with none of it, came forward to take a small piece but was brutally pushed away by those mean fishermen. At the umpteenth attempt of the young man to grab a slice of polenta, the most prankster of the seven men told him that if he wanted to earn his share, he would have to go on board their fishing boat and bring in their fast-asleep companion. Then Zaneto, running, reached for the boat, shook the cold guy lying on the bridge without being able to wake him up in any way. Therefore, the young man, bitter, returned on his steps and told the laughing fishermen, who were making fun of him, that he had been unsuccessful.

The ungrateful men then, too amused by their prank on innocent Zaneto, sent him back out to awaken the dead man who was sleeping. The poor young man, driven by desperation, returned to the boat and asked the poor man lying down to wake up and, against all logic, slowly the dead came back to life, opened his eyes, turned his head towards him and caressed him.

Zaneto was now very happy and, accompanied the awakened dead man, returned to the fishermen who continued to laugh at him, but when the dead man now alive appeared behind Zaneto, the laughs froze and an immense fear swept the men: before them was Saint Theodor who came to judge them. The Saint with a stern gaze pointed his accusing finger at each of them and while he was listing their sins, the fishermen were petrified, turned into the same material as their hearts, insensitive and devoid of compassion for the misfortunes of others.

Since then, the place where the story happened took the name of Valley of the Seven Dead Men... and if you happen to go there, look carefully as you could still see the ruins of Zaneto’s thatched house ...

Do you like Halloween with its gloomy ambience, smiling pumpkins, witches and vampires? If you are in Venice on October 31, don't miss the most gruesome party in the city at the Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal! It will be an evening full of scary surprises!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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