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  • Italian Folklore/Legends

    La Befana
    This holiday marks the end of the Christmas season and it is one of Italy's oldest and most celebrated legends.

    A Crime of Honour
    Gianciotto tricked the beautiful Francesca into marrying him by having his handsome brother Paolo act as his proxy. As fate would have Paolo and Francesca fell in love and the jealous Gianciotto has his revenge by killing them both.

    The Devil's Column
    Just outside the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio in Milan is an ancient Roman marble column that is part of one of the city's oldest legends. To many it is called the Colonna del Diavolo (Devil's Column) and it is believed to be a portal to hell.

    Fairy Tales
    These wonderful and delightful stories are great to read to your children. They include such classics as Cinderella, Pinocchio, and more.

    Fear the Evil Eye Our Paesani -
    Italians are a complicated people. On the one hand, many of them, especially the older ones, are ardent believers in the Catholic Church. On the other hand, a large chunk of the population, especially in the south, believes in the malocchio or evil eye. As I understand it, the malocchio happens when someone wishes bad on you and gives you an evil look that has the power of an evil spell. I thought these beliefs were dead in modern Italy, but some people are hanging onto them.

    Folk Songs
    Find the lyrics to many great Italian folk songs. In some cases the lyrics are in both English and Italian.

    Folktales, Legends, Myths, Lores and Fairytales
    Every culture is blessed with many tales and legends. Here is a collection of stories for you to read and enjoy.

    The Legend of Alaric's Treasure
    Legend has it that the King of the Visigoths was buried in Cosenza, Calabria after he ransacked the city of Rome in 410 AD. Is this just another tale of folklore or is there truth to this story?

    Legend of La Madonna della Corona
    Legend tells us a bright light eminated from a cliff on Monte Baldo. Brave villagers lowered themselves down to see what was there. When they did they found a beautiful statue of Mary holding Jesus' lifeless body (Pietà).

    The Legend of Marmore Falls
    This legend tells us the story of Velino and Nera and how their love created the Cascata delle Marmore (Marmore's Falls) .

    The Legend of the Tarantella
    Did you know that this popular Italian folk song and dance has ties to the epidemic of tarantism that swept through Italy during the 15th-17th centuries?

    The Little Blue One
    The legend says that every five years at the summer solstice, her slight figure holding a red rag ball in her hands appears among the castle walls. Light footsteps, sighs and cries are heard and her voice saying "Dad, dad, I'm here".

    Proverbs are a part of every culture. They are a common way of expressing ideas and beliefs. This collection includes Italian proverbs with and English equivalent.

    Rainbow Lake
    Located at the foot of the Latemar Massif of the Italian Dolomites is Lake Carezza, which is one of the most beautiful areas within the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northern Italy. If you were to ask the Ladin people they would have a fascinating story as to why the lake sparkles like the color of the rainbow and why they call it Lec de Ergobardo (the Rainbow Lake).

    La Sarneghera
    These massive thunderstorms that roll through Lake Iseo are a result of a legend that dates back to the Middle Ages.

    Spells, Saints, and Streghe: Witchcraft, Folk Magic, and Healing in Italy
    This is a fascinating multi-part article by Sabina Magliocco that covers the following topics: Stregheria, or Italian-American Witchcraft, Problems With the Concept of an Organized "Italian" Witchcraft, The Survivalist Bias, The Influence of the Catholic Church, The Context of Traditional Italian Folk Magical Practice, The Folkloric Witch, Il Malocchio or the Evil Eye, and its Relations, Amulets and Protective Devices, Witchcraft as Folk Healing, Magic and Counter-Magic and The Fate of Traditional Folk Beliefs

    Stomping on the Bull's Balls
    Tradition states that if you firmly plant your right heel on the bull's balls located on the mosaic tile floor in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan and rotate counter clockwise three times it will bring you good luck.

    Legend tells us of a great dragon like creature named Tarantasio that roamed the Po Valley during the 12th and 13th centuries. This creature that terrorized the land and had an appetite for humans especially children.

    Trendy Beaches, Deceiving Witches
    Legends say that no woman can become a witch just by a wink of the eye in Romagna. Come the witches' night between the 23 and 24 of June the town of San Giovanni in Marignano, in province of Rimini is filled with witches who are said to be particularly active and deceiving this night.

    This ancient Italian amulet is worn to help protect against the evil eye.

    Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts
    A collection of various fairy tales and folklore from all over the world. Includes a variation of the story from different countries.

    Folklore in Calabria
    Learn more about the customs and traditions of Calabria.

    Leggende della Provincia di Lucca
    There are over 20 legends from the towns of Lucca, Montagna and Viareggio e Versilia.

    Mano Cornuto
    This is another ancient amulet that is used to ward off the evil eye. You can wear it as a charm or use your hands to make the gesture.

    Mano Fico
    The fig hand is another ancient amulet used to ward off the evil eye. This also can be worn as a charm or you can use your hands to make this gesture.


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