A Venetian Story: The Butcher of Venice

This is a story of a long time ago, full of darkness and full of terror. In those years, the city of Venice was always covered by a thick layer of mist. Still, people used to carry on their lives without reckoning with what was going on around them. Merchants were busy with their trading, priests and monks were focused on collecting golden treasures and relics for their churches, shopkeepers and carpenters were dully hard-working and their industrious women used to take care of the household and look after their children.

Lunchtime was the only moment of the day in which the inhabitants of the city could break their tedious routine and chat while eating and drinking a glass of wine. For example, the most chattered argument of those days was the mysterious disappearance of some kids in the district of “Santa Croce”. The best place ever for gossip and for eating was Biasio’s Tavern in campo San Zan Degolà. There you could find the most delicious “sguazeto” in the neighbourhood, so delicious that also people from Mestre used to reach the famous tavern to try its well-known specialty, although the innkeeper – Mr. Biasio the Carnian, known as “el Luganegher” – was a dark and creepy character, who was always ready to swear against his patrons.

El Luganegher was a giant from the Carnian mountains, fat and almost bald, with a disfigured head and a big nose stamped on his malevolent snigger. But people were used to bearing all of this, for his soup was still the best in town. One day, as foggy as many others, a bunch of carpenters reached the tavern and ordered, as you might expect, a portion of “sguazeto” each. Just a few minutes passed from the moment in which they started to eat and that when Bepi the Carpenter noticed a strange small bone inside his soup. At first, he thought it was just a piece of pig bone but then he realized that the bone was too small and that it resembled a small phalanx. Bepi connected the dots and got out swiftly and without being noticed. Out of the Tavern, he ran as much as he could and after two or three turning points he found some guards on their patrol. He explained everything to them and in a bunch of minutes, Biasio’s Tavern was surrounded by guards. In the kitchen of the Luganegher, they found what they were looking for. Other rests of kids were found in the boiling soup of the innkeeper. After a few hours under pressure, Mr. Biasio confessed his crimes. He had murdered the children and used them in his soup in order to hide their corpses. He was put in in jail and executed some months after these events took place.

Although the citizens tried to forget this distressing and creepy story, the name of Biasio remained embedded in the city itself, so much that a small part of the Gran Canal’s side is still called “Riva de Biasio” and if you find yourself walking through campo San Giovanni Degolà on foggy days, you might still hear the terrible laughter of the innkeeper echoing around.

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