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TONI RIOBA - why Venetian merchants must always be honest


Ever heard of “Toni Rioba” from Venice?

When visiting, you should go touch his nose: it’s a legendary lucky charm!

Set in Campo dei Mori, in Cannaregio, it’s a story about controversial scams by three merchant brothers and one of their servants… turned into the fascinating marble statues that adorn the Campo since the 12th century.

It used to be the residence of three brothers from Morea, merchants of spices and fabrics: Rioba, Sandi and Alfani. They were believed to be scammers.

One day a mysterious lady knocked at their door, in disguise, to buy some fabrics. “May God petrify me, my brothers, and our servant, if these aren’t top quality textiles”, said Rioba.

Evidently Rioba wasn’t stating the truth, and the 4 men were instantly turned into stone statues!

Next time in Venice take a walk to Campo dei Mori. Even better by night, with a good lantern. Find the four statues… and don’t forget to caress Rioba's black iron nose!

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