Italians are superstitious. Many people will tell you “I don’t believe that nonsense!“. But then they will carefully avoid walking under a ladder, or putting a hat or a bag on the bed, will throw salt over their shoulders if they drop some and will go into despair if they break a mirror or a bottle of olive oil.
I am very superstitious so you will see me do all of the above! 🙂
There are some rituals which people believe bring bad luck to specific aspects of their life. For instance, university students in Pisa believe that if you walk around the Baptistery or climb the Leaning Tower before graduating, you will never finish your degree.
Similar superstitions will be found in any University city. So if you are a student in Florence you should not venture up Giotto’s bell tower (or the dome if you are an architecture undergraduate). In Siena, you should not enter Piazza del Campo passing under the arches or go through the little columns that surround it.
Many bad luck / good luck rituals have to do with animals. So, people think that when a black cat crosses the road in front of you it is a sign of bad luck. So is having an owl on your roof.
[Photo by Glen Bowman]
There are also animals associated with good luck of course, like ladybirds. A ladybird landing on you is certainly a good omen.
[Photo by DM]
Some of the students’ propitiatory rituals involve animals. So, in Pisa, if you touch the little lizard on the portal of the cathedral you will have good luck.
[Photo by Tom Anderson]
If you happen to visit Pisa on the day that marks 100 days to the “esame di maturità”, the exam that all students need to take to graduate from high-school, you will see crowds of kids lining up to touch the lizard.
[Video by Fabio Muzzi for the local newspaper Il Tirreno]
If you are in search of a bit of good luck and you happen to be in Florence, then you need to visit Fontana del Porcellino!
[Photo by sunshinecity]
To get your share of good fortune, you need to stroke the boar’s nose, then put a coin in its mouth. When the coin falls out, if it goes over the water, you will get good luck. Otherwise, you will still have had a nice day in Florence!
Italy Blogging Roundtable
This is a post in a monthly series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Here you can find the posts of the other bloggers who participate in the roundtable. Our topic this month was “animals“:
- Italy Explained – Italian Truffles & Animal Instincts
- ArtTrav – Winter is the best time for Birdwatching in Tuscany
- Brigolante – For the Birds: The Lake Alviano WWF Oasis
- Italofile – taking a break this month
- Driving like a maniac – taking a break this month
- Bleeding Espresso – Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick