The red stone

The history of the red stone of Venice that should never be trampled

There is the story of a Venetian stone, a real Venetian relic to be rediscovered and not to be touched if you were to be nearby. Why? Because it brings bad luck!

We are located in the Castello district, in the sottoportego della Corte Nova, which in its pavement has a single red stone that is impossible not to see. Not everyone knows the history of this stone just as not everyone knows that it should never be walked on.

The history of the red stone of Venice has its origins in 1630, the year in which there was an epidemic of plague in Venice that killed almost eighty thousand Venetians. The plague struck all areas of the city except one: Corte Nova which was miraculously protected from this terrible disease. A woman, Giovanna, who lived in that area had in a dream a vision of the Madonna who told her to paint a picture that should have depicted her holy figure together with that of San Rocco and San Sebastiano.

Once the painting was completed, the woman should have placed it on the wall of the Zorzi sottoportego. Giovanna, incredulous but at the same time enthusiastic about the apparition, carried out what the Madonna had asked her to do by placing the painting in the place chosen by the saint. And it was here that, when the plague arrived in the sottoportego to spread also in the Corte Nova area, it was immediately blocked by the miraculous image of the Madonna with the two saints and, defeated in its intent, it fell to the ground dissolving in the exact point of the sottoportego in Corte Nova where today we find a red stone on the ground.

This place remained a symbol of the end of a terrible pestilence that had finally been eradicated from the city. Today they remain as evidence: the red stone on the pavement, the two altars dedicated to the Madonna, the photographic reproductions of four paintings of the ‘600 depicting the event (and exhibited in the church of San Francesco della Vigna) and an inscription, at the entrance of the sottoportego that says thus:

“Plague you must flee and do not think about entering / this court is blessed by Mary”.

Since that moment when the plague stopped in the middle of the sottoportego, the Venetians have avoided stepping on that red marble stone to avoid the possibility of running into another misfortune, like the plague of 1630!