Like every millennial city, Venice has a great collection of tales and legends. Let’s find out about the story of Orio and the mermaid Melusina.
The legend takes place in the Sotoportego dei Preti in the Castello’s sestiere, which has a small heart made of red brick. The couples meet in the underpass in order to touch the heart hoping that the local legend is true and that their love will last forever.
The legend tells about the fisherman Orio, who one day at sea saves a beautiful mermaid called Melusina. A beautiful love story is born from that meeting: Orio asks the mermaid Melusina to marry him and she agrees with the promise to not meeting her on Saturday on the days before their marriage. Orio accepts her request, but on the third Saturday gets the better of him. At their usual meeting point, the fisherman finds not the mermaid, but a big sea snake that reveals to be Melusina, who was hit by a curse. The curse transforms her into a monster every Saturday and the only way to end the spell is to find someone willing to marry her. Orio loves her so much that he decides to marry her anyway: the mermaid Melusina becomes a woman and she gives birth to three sons. The marriage is happy until the moment the woman dies because of an incurable illness. Alone, Orio keeps working in order to support his family: back from work he notices that the house and the children are always tidy. Suspicious, he decides to come back home early to thank whoever is helping him; but there isn’t a person waiting for him, but a snake. Scared and afraid for his children’s safety, Orio kills the snake. Only after some days, finding the house untidy, he understands that he killed no one but Melusina.
The heart made of red brick put in the underway wants to remind and to celebrate this tragic, but true love story.
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