During the Austrian occupation in the 19th century, a young Venetian girl fell in love with an Austrian soldier. The two of them were very happy and started to make plans for their future together. But the girl’s family wasn’t very content about this “unpatriotic” union and tried to convince her not to get married to the Austrian.
The girl insisted on her wedding with her young foreign lover, thus the family decided, as they “didn’t have any other choice”, to kill the young man.
Out of desperation, the girl asked a witch to bring her love back from the dead. The payment: Seven souls of seven children to be delivered to the devil on Christmas Eve for seven years, one soul a year. The girl accepted the condition and thus the two women decided to meet on Torcello island on a bridge: It was the perfect place for a magic ritual as the island is quite isolated and remote.
It was in the middle of the night when the witch evoked the devil who brought the Austrian soldier back to life. The girl fell happily and with tears in her eyes into the arms of her lover and both of them immediately fled from the city.
The witch herself died in a fire immediately after this pact with the devil and couldn’t fulfil it. Therefore, every year on Christmas eve (24th December), the devil still waits for his souls at the Devil’s Bridge disguised as a giant black cat.
Did you know that the Devil’s Bridge on Torcello is one of the last two antique style bridges in Venice without a handrail?
The second bridge is located in the historic centre of Venice in Cannaregio: The famous Ponte Chiodo.
In reality there is a third one in Venice (that is quite unknown) where you can still see the shape of the antique bridge
Have a good look at the picture taken from the inside of the B&B Casa Manina sul Ponte. In the background you can see a bridge and the old shape of the bridge as the former steps are still visible on the side of the structure. A real unicum in the city!