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The Lady of the Well

Annie's recent entry on vera da pozzo reminded me of one of the stories Mom and I heard on our March 2006 Ghost Walk of Venice. (Note: the photos below are all mine, but were not taken during our Ghost Walk...I think they illustrate the story quite well anyway! I am almost positive the Lady of the Well story was told in a campo in San Polo...)

Our guide, Isabella - with her marvellous sing-songy Italian-accented voice - was perfect for this evening tour of Venetian nooks and crannies. We met on the Rialto...

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...then strolled around first one, then the other side of the Grand Canal. Isabella filled our heads with many fantastic tales of ghostly wonder and intrigue, pointing out the places where these events supposedly occurred. I wrote down only brief summaries in my journal, so have lost the details, but have at least enough to take me back to that magical, mystical evening.

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One of the stories was begun with a soft comment, almost in passing, that in this particular campo long ago, some believed the Madonna herself intervened with a miracle...

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Venice was in a drought, her citizens parched and desperate. They could have joined the Roman aquafer system, but chose not to because of paranoia that someone would poison the water flowing into their city from the mainland.

The residents around one well agreed to share, to take water only twice per day and not take any at night.

A boatman approached one night and a White Lady told him to stay away or the square's cobblestones would be filled with blood. He came toward the well anyway, and a neighbour stabbed him. The neighbour had meant to scare him only, not wound him, but the knife's cut was enough to draw blood, causing the White Lady's prophesy to come true...the cobblestones did indeed run with blood.

The boatman was so frightened he promised never to steal water. The Lady then dipped her handkerchief in water and wiped his wounds, and at her touch he was healed. The Lady said that if he and the neighbours were good people, their well would never again run dry.

"Could be the Virgin Mary, huh?" Isabel asked as she ended the story...

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Comments (9)

How cool! What great memories. I love the photos!

We are supposed to have some great ghost walks here in Hawaii, but I have been to chicken to go on any of them.

37 days!!! WOWEEE!!!

Oh how I long to go back to Venice. :)

Anne:

girasoli - there are a couple Halifax ghost tours too. One through the old Citadel fortress sounds especially creepy. I might take the girls around Halloween. I can't believe I'm already down to 37 days!!

Leslie - me too! I may split my Oct trip between Florence and Venice. I blame this temptation on Annie and her wonderful blog ;)

Oh I love this! I love that story and your photos are just stunning - perfect illustrations of the mood of the story and of Venice. Thanks so much!

And seriously, you are thinking about splitting your trip?!! Awesome! Please let me know if it happens and I'll give you a little list of churches - you would love that one I just blogged about!

Anne:

Oh thanks Annie, I'll definitely touch base with you if I decide I can't live without Venice this trip!

Halloween! I would be even more chicken. I had a huge nightmare the night I saw Poltergeist for the first time. I lived in a house in Colorado where I was going to school. There was a huge old tree in the back yard. I am a wimp when it comes to scary things. :-)

Venice??!! How cool!!

sandrac:

Anne, those are fantastic photos, wow!!!!

What a great idea, to spend a few days in Venice during your trip to Italy. Any time I hear about Venice, it makes me long to go back!

I did a Ghost Walk a couple of years ago in Venice, but I can't really remember many of the stories I heard -- I guess I'll have to do it again!

Chiocciola:

Great story and great photos!!

Anne:

I've started looking for a place to spend an October week in Venice...but the cost might squash that plan. (I won't be horribly disappointed if "forced" to spend my whole time in Florence though!)

Chiocciola, good to hear from you, I've been wondering where you've been!

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