The Devil and the Wind

The Devil and the Wind
28 June 2016 0 Comment

Between Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo of Florence) and Giotto’s Bell Tower, in any season and at any time one passes there you will feel a wind blowing; gentle sometimes and strong at other times, but always present. Once upon a time the locals would sit at this spot on summer evenings to enjoy the cool, ever present wind but would pass by quickly in the winter to avoid the cold wind and any sickness it might bring.

The wind they say has been there from ancient times, long before the cathedral was built and will be there forever. And so it happened that one day the Devil came to Florence to speak with the canons of the Cathedral for important business! Upon passing through the door of Hell he too was tormented by the wind and cried, “Am I not better than this wind?” Upon which he was transported by the wind in a heartbeat to his destination. Transported to the piazza in front of the church he found the entrance to the bell tower and entered the temple to attend to his interests.

The discussions were long and tedious and the canons presented many objections and created many difficulties as the Devil spoke and spoke without arriving to any conclusion. Irritated and exasperated the Devil took his leave through another door and forgetting about the tormenting Wind waiting patiently for him outside.

And the wind is still waiting for him: in the winter when it blows hard and cold, while in the summer when it becomes a grateful breeze. Who knows when the devil will reappear to argue and bellow, frustrated with the ever present wind.

The legend of the Wind that waits for the Devil is widely known and told in various other locations in Tuscany and in Italy: in Piazza Grande in Montepulciano for example and in the sacristy of the Duomo of Pienza the story of the Wind and Devil is well known. The same version of the story is told around the front of the College of the Jesuits in Rome, and in the streets of Vogogna near Como.

The Eternal Battle between good and evil has been told for centuries. To make the stories more ‘accessible and entertaining’ to simple folk, particularly in the Middle Ages, such stories were given human or natural qualities like wind or fire. By doing so the teaching of complex themes of morality or the deciphering of the gospels was easier to understand, although not often practiced by those very same teachers!

Peter Kilby
About the Author

Peter Kilby is an artist, writer, story-teller, journalist and avid traveller who has lived and worked in Italy since 1987. He created Perfect Traveller to bring the world of art and history closer to you. Download the “free” Perfect Traveller app and enjoy the best audio tours available; about Italy today and yesterday. Sign Up to this website and submit your travel stories and become part of the Perfect Traveller community.

Leave a Reply

Join now to get started

Signup with twitter or Email Address