The ‘Devil’s stone’ in LuccaMysteries & Legends
The ‘Devil’s stone’ in Lucca
Lucca has always been a very rich city, as testified by its many elegant and refined palaces in the historic center. One of these is Palazzo Bernardini. Why are we talking to you about this building? That’s easily answered, because there is an astonishing story related to it. Read on to find out.
In 1512, Martino Bernardini commissioned the construction of the palace to Nicolao Civitali, but very soon a problem emerged: the presence of a sacred image, probably of the Virgin Mary, where the palace was meant to be erected. What to do? Destroy it or include it in new building? According to legend, the Devil worked so hard in those days to have it demolished that in the end he succeeded: the Bernardini family, in agreement with the architect, decided to destroy the effigy.
After the workmen had proceeded to build a large window, instead of the image, on the right hand side of the entrance door, the Devil, feeling smug with his accomplishment, wondered how to remind people of his misdeed. A brilliant idea came to him at that point: he would tilt the stone! The workmen fixed the stone to the wall and soon after this sagged. How could a stone do that? Many attempts were made to straighten it but they all failed. At that point the Bernardinis decided that if that was to be the fate of the jamb, so be it. To stop it from falling off, they had it secured to the wall with an iron bar. And that's exactly how you can still see it today!
It is said that over the centuries, there were many attempts at straightening the jamb, but to no avail. In particular, a skilled stonecutter called Cecilio, apparently challenged the Devil: with a powerful lime powder, he set out to work, watched by his companions and once he fixed the stone, he began to boast of the success of his feat. But he hadn’t even come to the end of his sentence that a sharp noise came from the jamb. The stone exploded, crumbling into a thousand pieces and seriously injuring Cecilio. Ever since, no one has dared defy the Devil.
Well, now that you know the legend of the 'Devil's Stone', you just have to go and see it in person! If you want to visit the rest of the city, we suggest you take part in our 'Excursion to Lucca and Pisa from Florence': you will spend a day exploring these two beautiful cities!
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