A story made up and illustrated by Maestro Alberto Zucchetta. A culinary fairytale that we never get tired of telling! Here is “The Legend of the Love Knot”.
At the end of the 14th century, during the many wars that scarred Northern Italy, the Lord of Milan, Giangaleazzo Visconti, known as "the Count of Virtue", reaches the banks of the Mincio with his troops and establishes a stronghold there to develop a military plan against his enemies. Meanwhile, inside the camp of the Visconti troops, Gonnella the buffoon entertains the soldiers by the light of a bonfire, telling an old legend... it is said that the waters of the Mincio are populated by beautiful nymphs who sometimes come out of the river to dance near the banks, but an old curse forces them to take on the appearance of hideous witches. Later, whilst the soldiers are sleeping, some of these creatures appear from the river and start dancing among them. Only Malco, their brave captain, wakes up and confronts the mysterious beings. One of them is captured and, in a desperate attempt to escape, loses her cloak, unexpectedly revealing herself to be a beautiful nymph. That night, the two fall in love and by dawn they promise each other eternal faithfulness.
Silvia, the beautiful nymph, must return to the depths of the river before sunrise and leaves Malco a tenderly knotted handkerchiefas a token of her love. The following day, three beautiful messengers arrive in the presence of the Count of Virtue. During the reception, some beautiful young girls perform a dance in honour of the guests. Captain Malco recognises Silvia as one of them, a girl driven by love to face the troubled world of humans.
The loving glances between Silvia and Malco however, arouse the jealousy of Isabella, a noble lady, cousin of the Count of Virtue, who has long aspired to the captain's love. Out of jealousy, Isabella declares that the beautiful nymph is a witch to the Count. The party is immediately interrupted and an order is given to arrest Silvia. Malco hurriedly puts himself between his beloved and the guards, allowing her to flee towards the river, then surrenders his sword to the angry Count. At nightfall Isabella comes to Malco, who is now in a cell: tormented by her actions, she desperately pleads for the prisoner's forgiveness and understanding.
As the two talk, Silvia reappears, emerging from the river once again to save her beloved, forcing Isabella to retreat in defeat. Silvia offers Malco the only way out: not on earth where there can be no happiness for the two lovers, but in the water where the nymphs live. Malco accepts without hesitation and heads with Silvia towards the river Mincio. The Count of Virtue, alerted by the guards, sets off in pursuit but is momentarily stopped by Isabella who, repentant, asks for respect andunderstanding for a love that knows no bounds.
When they reach the river, shortly after Silvia and Malco have jumped into the water, the Count of Virtue finds the golden silk handkerchief abandoned on the bank, symbolically knotted by the two lovers as a reminder of their eternal love. Still today it is told how the women and girls of that time, during the holidays, would repeat the story of the two lovers by rolling out a dough as thin as silk, then cutting and knotting it like the golden handkerchief once it was filled by some delicacy. This is how the legend of the Tortellino di Valeggio came about.
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