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Italian Essay on Connection with the Heritage of the Countries


Over the centuries many legends have been handed down from generation to generation and in every tale the most important part is represented by the cultural heritage which is the main connector with the other European countries.

The heritage of a country has always been essential because it has made society grow according to the same  traditions, customs and languages, and actually the legends are the ones that give a lot of relevance to the heritage of a country and  which have often helped people describe  and pass on their artistic, architectural and cultural richness, which is indeed present in every monument, tradition and artistic form typical of each country.

The majority of the legends have a religious heritage, due to the history and the traditions of Italy. In the Italian world view, the presence of religious symbols, such as churches, abbeys or the cross, is very important. For example, the legend “Beautiful Alda” mentions the Monastery of the Sagra of Saint Michele and the Archangel Michael. We can find another religious building in the legend “The Devil’s Column”. The basilica of Saint Ambrogi, in Milan is the setting of the legend.  Italian history is also rich of  Saints and their representations. For example, the main character of the legend “Saint George and the dragon”, Saint George, is represented on the façade of an ancient palace in Genoa (palace Saint George), while he is fighting and winning against the dragon of the legend. In the Montesiepi Church, relevant in the legend “Saint Galgano and the sword in the rock”,  together with the sword in the rock in the middle of the church floor, it is possible to admire some religious paintings by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

It is quite evident, then, that the religious heritage is closely related to the artistic heritage of Italy, as the religious buildings in the legends are also quite important works of art in themselves. The Sagra di San Michele, Mostesiepi Church, the Basilica di San Galganoand  the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio are important artistic buildings which are known all over Italy and which attract many visitors and tourists. We can say that the religious heritage and the artistic heritage  cooperate to make these places outstanding examples of Italian culture.

 Another type of heritage that is present in these legends is the natural- one. This one is present in particular in “Lake Misurina and Mount Sorapiss”. The Dolomites, which are the setting of this legend, are known also as “the Pale mountains”, and have been  part of UNESCO since 2009. Mountains, rivers, lakes and forests are part of the natural national heritage of every country and they are often protected areas or national parks. Also the legend of "Scylla and Charibdis" is a tribute to the beautiful natural marine landscape, which can be both attractive for its beauty or dangerous for the havoc that a very rough sea can create.

The last type of heritage, present in these legends is the historical one. A striking example is the Italian legend of “Romolo and Remo and the Foundation of Rome”. This legend explains, not only the origins of the city of Rome, but also the origins of its founders Romolo and Remo. History also plays an important part in the legend “the Devil’s Column” and in “Saint Galgano and the sword in the rock, which are set in the medieval period and refer to some relevant episodes in Italian history.

Lake Misurina is an Italian legend which has the beautiful Dolomite  mountains as a background. This tale tells  how Mount Sorapiss and lake Misurina were created and it is similar to  two legends from other countries about the creation of mountains, for example the Bulgarian myth, Rhodopa, and the Polish legend Mount Ślęża. Like the Dolomites Rhodope peaks are very important in fact they are part of a natural site and of the natural heritage of Bulgaria; mount Ślęża  is also very prestigious. Neither legend  features the birth of a lake, as it happens for Lake Misurina, however, they show the presence of rivers and long watercourses.

“Lake Misurina and Mount Sorapiss” is also connected to the Romanian legend “Bride’s Cave” by the presence of a lake in the story. Both lakes are natural and they are near mountains. The Romanian lake has salt-water and it has a particular shade of green; lake Misurina is famous for its changing colours. The Romanian lake is overshadowed by a mountain, called BaiaBaciului; lake Misurina is overshadowed by Mount Sorapiss. BaiaBaciuliu’s lake has an unfortunate story of a young bride who committed suicide;  Lake Misurina tells of the death of King Sorapiss’s daughter Misurina.

The creation of a lagoon is present in the Lithuanian legend “Legend about Neringa’s conquest”.

Other famous legends which were born to explain why some mountains and rivers got their name are the Polish legend “Bies and Czady”, the Bulgarian legends “Belintash” and “The Pirin’s Dragon”and the Romanian legend “Dragon garden” 

Many legends are set in monasteries. In fact in the legends Beautiful Alda, MasterulMonole and Belogradchik the background is a famous convent or monastery.  Curtea de Arges (MasterulManole)  is one of the most famous monasteries in Romania. It is a monumental church and its style makes it the most representative monastery there. Sacra di San Michele (Beautiful Alda) is also known as Abbey of St. Michele of Chiusa or also as Sagra of St. Michele and it is part of the religious and historical heritage of Piedmont. In these legends, the monastery is seen as an element of salvation, as a place where it is possible to take shelter from an enemy. A different and less imposing church is the place where St Petka finds shelter from the enemies, it is not a monastery but a stone church similar to a cave.

In the last Bulgarian tale there is always a convent but it is not a place of salvation as it is presented like a prison for the nun and the monk.

Churches have always been an important part of every town and small village and the setting of many legends.

For example the Italian legend the Devil’s Column takes place just outside St Ambrogio’s basilica, which is one of the oldest churches in Milan and after the death of the saint was dedicated to him.

Also in the Lithuanian legend, the Devil’s Stone , there is a church which was the most important monument of the small town where the tale takes place.

But there are also differences between the two legends: in the second legend the stone which was thrown away has now become a natural heritage, while the importance of the column in the first tale is now less relevant than the artistic  beauty of Saint’ Ambrogio basilica.

In additio,  the column is still being considered a connection with the devil and hell, while the stone in the other legend is sacred to Lithuanians and has a magical and divine meaning


The famous legend of Saint George has a very important historical and architectonic heritage like  the Romanian legend Dracula.

First of all the main similarities are the crusades, which are the background in both legends. Moreover, Saint George has been especially venerated as a military saint since the crusades and in Dracula’s legend it is written that the father of the historical character Vlad Tepes  created a new order of knights whose main goal was to protect christianity and to join the crusades against the Turks.

The setting of the Romanian legend is Dracula’s well-known castle which is a real historical heritage; in the other tale there is Palazzo San Giorgio which is the building dedicated to the saint in the city of Genova.

The two places have two different architectonic styles, the Italian one is a typical example of medieval and renaissance architecture, while the style of Bran castle has changed through the centuries.

Another connection between the two legends is  the fact that according to  the Romanian tradition on the day of Saint George (which is on 23rd April) vampires are believed to hang around crossroads.


In very old times Christian faith comforted and supported  people who tried to deal with a problem by praying the Lord.

In the legend of Saint Galgano the theme of christianity is very relevant as is the religious heritage.

In the Italian legend the church isn’t a simple church, it is a hermitage built above the stuck sword, which is also the place where the saint died; this element of the legend connects it to the legend of  StPetka

Here too a very strong Christian faith and a stone church dedicated to the  saint are  relevant to the story.

Of course the two churches have different artistic and architectonic styles; the hermitage in the Italian legend is bare and simple, and the other important building in the legend, the Abbey of Saint Galgano, is now roofless. The Bulgarian church is very small and outside it has a particular coloured style, made of various types of stones; inside it is full of gold and very important mural paintings.           

Moreover the two monuments are located in two different places: one is on a hill and the other one is in the centre of the city.

The legend of Saint Galgano and the sword in the stone is also related to the Lithuanian legend “The hill of Crosses”, as in both legends  the cross is relevant to the religious heritage of both countries.


The foundation of a city has always been transmitted orally or with the help of written tales and some legends about the foundation of an important city are now very famous and part of the national heritage of the country.

The legend of the foundation of Rome is known all over Europe and it has similarities with the Lithuanian legend about the foundation of Kaunas city; moreover, this last one, besides describing the creation of a new city, is also the proof that Lithuanians have Roman origins.

“Romolo and Remo and the Foundation of Rome” has also a really interesting similarity with the Lithuanian “Legend about Vilnius City Foundation”. In both legends it is really important the figure of an animal for the foundation of both cities, specifically a wolf, which then becomes a symbol and in the case of Rome part of the heritage of the city.


The legend of Scylla and Charibdis is connected to the beautiful natural heritage of Italy, just like the other Italian legend of lake Misurina and Mount Sorapiss. The former celebrates the clear but dangerous waters of the Mediterranean sea, the latter celebrates the breathtaking beauty of the mountains.

In other European legends we find the celebration of the natural heritage; the Romanian legend “The Dragon garden” celebrates the natural reservation called the Dragon Garden and its attractions. The Lady’s rocks, another Romanian legend, features another natural resrvation in Suceave county.

Also Bulgarian legends are rich in reference to the natural heritage, for example Belogradchik rocks or Rhodopa.

However, the most important heritage represented by the legend of Scylla and Charibdis is the literary one: Homer, Virgil and other world famous ancient writers took inspiration from this myth and made it immortal. Greek mythology inspired both the legend of Scylla and Charibdis and the Bulgarian legend of Devil’s throat cave.