TRAVELING THURSDAYS

The Ghost of Marco Polo’s Wife

Legend has it that, during his stay in China, the well-known Venetian merchant Marco Polo fell in love with the daughter of a great emperor and married her.

He took her back to Venice with him. The young girl was sweet and polite, but didn’t feel comfortable in the lagoon city, and also became the victim of jealousy on the part of the Marco’s sisters.

When Marco Polo was captured in battle, his sisters-in-law told his wife that he was dead.  Reeling from pain, the girl set fire to her clothes and jumped from the windows of Marco Polo’s house into the underlying canal. According to the legend, sometimes when you pass through the Corte Secondo del Milion (where Polo’s houses stood) you can see a white figure floating in the air or hear a sweet song of Eastern origin.

While excavating the foundations of the Malibran Theater (built on the site of Polo’s old houses), the remains of an Asian woman were found, buried with objects of clear Chinese origins and a tiara with the imperial coat were found.  It is still unclear whether this was Polo’s wife.

Given that there is little historical record on Marco Polo, it is only fitting that a ghost story would be associated with him that is likely far more myth than fact.  

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