The Mysteries of Cannaregio
In Cannaregio there are many hidden stories. Legends and tales halfway between reality and fiction, exciting to tell and fascinating to listen.
The Phantom of Marco Polo's wife
Marco Polo was a famous Venetian merchant. During a trip to China, he fell in love and married the Emperor's daughter. Together they returned to Venice, but the young Chinese princess was not well received by the sisters of Marco Polo, envious of her grace and beauty. In 1298 during a battle, Marco Polo was captured and taken prisoner. The wicked sisters told the princess that her husband had died although it was not true. In pain, the princess threw herself out the window and died instantly.
According to legend, if at night you pass in Corte del Milion, where Marco Polo once lived, you can glimpse the silhouette of a young woman dressed in white and hear her singing oriental songs.
The Camel House
The legend tells that a wealthy oriental merchant, having to leave his homeland for Venice, had a camel with a camel driver carved on the facade of his new Venetian home to make it easily recognizable to his beloved, who had not accepted his proposal to marry him: “so I leave with a broken heart and I will try to forget you, but if one day you want to reach me in Venice, all you have to do is ask where the camel house is”.
The girl never showed up... I guess she got lost in the narrow streets of Venice...
The Brothel of the Spirits
Near the Fondamente Nuove there is a lonely and melancholic outbuilding of Palazzo Contarini dal Zaffo, called the Brothel of the Spirits because considered to be the most haunted place in Venice.
It is said to be the seat of a sect that organized satanic ceremonies and rites. The stories describe hooded people and strange noises, similar to Gregorian chants that spread throughout the surrounding lagoon.
At night, through the windows there are those who saw the reflections of dim lights, similar to those of candles wandering around the halls of the building...
The Petrified Merchants of Campo dei Mori
Not far from the Camel House there is Campo dei Mori. Here lived Rioba, Santi and Alfani, three greedy unscrupulous merchants from the Peloponnese who deceived and defrauded the poor people. One day a woman prayed to God to curse the three merchants who had deceived her. Her prayers were accepted and the three merchants were transformed into statues.
The three stone busts were placed on walls of the square as a warning to swindlers and criminals.
Written by Margherita Pasotto