The story of Paciugo and Paciuga is a Ligurian, ancient legend that tells a love story of a young couple.
Paciugo and Paciuga were a couple of 11th century newlyweds who lived in Genoa. He was a sailor and very often stayed away from Genoa for several months. While his wife was waiting patiently and taking care of their house.
One day, during one of the journeys, Paciugo was captured by the Saracens pirates and imprisoned.
Time was passing and Paciuga didn’t receive any news from her husband any longer. She was very worried about him however didn’t know what to do. That’s why she started praying for him and she went every Saturday to the Sanctuary of the Crowned Virgin.
Even if everybody believed him dead, she didn’t lose hope and prayed for his returning.
After 12 years, Paciugo managed to escape from the prison and returned to Genoa. He arrived to the city on Saturday.
When he got home he didn’t find his wife. Without being recognized, he asked a neighbour, an old lady, where he could find Paciuga.
The woman, who had always envied their love, said that everyone knew that Paciuga went every Saturday to Sanctuary to pray to the Virgin to bring her husband back to her. However, according to the lady, that wasn’t true because Paciuga was going there to meet another man.
Paciugo was seized by a fit of tremendous jealousy and walked towards Sanctuary.
Along the way, he met Paciuga. She recognized him immediately and started kissing and hugging him and thanking the Virgin who had fulfilled her prayers.
Next day Paciugo and Paciuga took a rowboat and went into the open sea. When they were quite far away from the coast Paciugo asked the wife about her presumable betrayal. She remained so stunned and couldn’t believe the question that she didn’t answer. Paciugo interpreted that silence as an admission of her guilt. He became furious and stabbed Paciuga (!!!). Then tied a stone around her neck and threw her into the sea (!!!).
When his wife disappeared in the waves, he was seized with the sense of guilt. When he landed at the coast he ran to the Sanctuary because he wanted to pray the Virgin that had protected him all that time.
As soon as he entered the Sanctuary he saw Paciuga kneeling in the front of the altar. She turned, came to him and hugged him strongly.
It was a miracle of the Virgin that gave another chance to Paciugo. She had saved Paciuga because she knew that the wife was innocent and that she deserved to live her great love with her Paciugo.
The end 🙂
- Nowadays when a situation is very confused and messed up, Ligurians say that it is a “paciugo”.
- You can find representations of Paciugo e Paciuga in many places in Liguria. On the buildings, museums and local books. They are very important in the Ligurian tradition.
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