Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I'm Feeling Lucky
While this photo might look like it came from a place like Montana or Texas, it was actually taken at Squero San Trovaso.
Walking around the yard, stepping betwen gondolas and equipment, I spotted this lucky horseshoe tacked to the side of one of the buildings.
We think of horseshoes on walls and above doorways as a typical scene from the American Southwest, but they've been pinning them to walls and doorways in Europe for centuries.
Among the many superstitious beliefs associated with these crescent-shaped pieces of iron, is that "a witch cannot pass under it".
I don't know if it's true, but I didn't see any witches in the squero that day.
I guess I should count myself lucky.
Posted by Gondola Greg at 2:04 AM
Labels: random fun stuff, Squero San Trovaso
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> I don't know if it's true, but I didn't see any witches in the squero that day.
According to Malleus Maleficarum witches have the ability to become invisible! You need a mirror or look in a holy water to see their reflection.
Maybe Venice is especially bad for them, with the local mirror-making industry and so many churches standing by canals?
And yes, horse-shoes, four-leafed clover and chimney cleaner men are supposed to bring good luck in Europe. Some affix it to the front of their car for luck, but I haven't seen it on a boat in Venice..
Horse-shoes are sometimes thrown at sticks pushed in the ground, so the person with the best aim will be the luckiest one among the competitors.
It is commonly held that truly strong men should be able to break or twist a horse-shoe with their bare hands.
Yeah Greg! "with their bare hands!"
As long as they're not using "bear hands"!
Why the incredulity? Gondoliers are reputed among the most muscular people.
According to Vasari, Leonardo da Vinci was famous not just as a painter, but being the strongest guy in town. He tore apart a horseshoe and pulled horse-tie rings out of the wall, even in his old days.
(Of course it was wrought iron in those old days, not steel. But there are people who can rip a phonebook in half, which is probably more difficult.)
mucca di burro?
George Washington was also report to be very strong. He often had visitors to his home and on one occasion two males guests were flinging heavy iron bars to see who could throw farther. On seeing their host come by they begged him to have a throw. Washington, sober and serious, declined but finally gave in. His throw was twice as far as his guests, and off he walked leaving them speechless.
I thought you were going to say that he bent the iron bar, threw it, and it came back - thereby inventing the first American boomerang.
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