Legend of Riva de Biasio

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Butcher Biasio
the "terrible" legend of the monster of Venice
legend of riva de biasio

16th century in the Republic of the Serenissima: Biagio Carnio (in Venetian dialect Biasio) left his native town to seek his fortune in the lagoon city. His specialty was the preparation of cured meat and sausages, as his parents had taught him. He settled in Venice and soon opened a tavern in Santa Croce, near Campo San Zan Degolà. Legend has it that the customers of the tavern came from all over the city to taste the “sguaseto”, the meat stew with sausage and aromatic herbs, a real delicacy that not even the best chefs were able to prepare.

One day, the discovery that shocked the population. While enjoying the meal, a boatman found inside it a small phalanx of a child’s finger, including the fingernail: horrified, the customer hid the finger in a handkerchief, paid and immediately went to report the incident. After being arrested, Biasio confirmed that the “special” ingredient of his stew was child’s meat, which he himself procured, committing atrocious murders. 

Sentenced to death, Biasio was first tortured, then beheaded and dismembered into four pieces. The butcher’s house and shop were razed to the ground so that in the city of the Serenissima no trace of such brutality remained. From then on, the nearby shore became “la Riva de Biasio” for the Venetians.

The legend of Riva de Biasio is a story of terrible horror that is part of the past of this city that however was able to give an exemplary punishment to the “monster”. According to ancient memories, the bas-relief of a head set on one of the walls of the square where Biasio’s tavern was located would be the reproduction of his head placed in the future memory.

Location: Campo San Zan Degolà, Venice

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