I have always been attracted by places like Dolceacqua village, real medieval towns where residents hold strongly to their traditions, even when there are tourists visiting from different countries.
It is early morning when I arrive in Dolceacqua by car, in front of me the ruins of the Doria Castle and the famous stone bridge painted by Monet in all different shades of light. One word comes to my mind: Charming!
I decide to get a walk among the old and narrow alleys of the village. I am totally captured by the old architecture of this place. It is unique!
I try to take pictures with my camera, but I feel that I can’t capture the real atmosphere of this old town. It seems that I have taken a walk back in the time!
I continue to wander among the alleys speaking with the local artists without realizing it is already afternoon and I have not had even a break for lunch yet.
So, it is late afternoon when I enter a “panificio” (bakery) to get something to eat and I discover the “michetta”, a small typical sweet similar to a brioche. There’s more to know about this typical sweet and the lady in the bakery explains me the Tragic Love Story behind the “michetta” pastry.
In the fourteenth century, a young couple, Basso and Lucrezia, deeply in love, celebrated their wedding together. But that very night, before they could consummate their marriage, the marquis of the castle, Doria, commanded soldiers to take Lucrezia by force.
He intended to practice the infamous right of “jus primae noctis“– the law of the first night – in which the lord steals the virginity of each serf-bride that lives on his lands. That night Lucrezia resisted the marquis and he could not have his way with her, so he threw her into the dungeon. She starved to death within its rock walls.
Furious at the loss of his wife, Basso vowed to take revenge!
He entered the castle and faced the marquis with a dagger, rather than kill the evil lord, Basso demanded that an edict be written, abolishing the terrible law of jus primae noctis.
The next morning the women of the village celebrated the edict and its freedom by creating a pastry, called the michetta (its shape is the symbol of the female body).
From then till present days, it is celebrated the Michetta Festival in Dolceaqua every August to remind us of this Love Story and that the terrible “ius primae noctis” rule which was abolished in 1364.