Bella Venezia

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Bella Venezia is an Italian fairy tale collected by Italo Calvino in his Italian Folktales. Calvino selected this variant, where the heroine meets robbers, rather than others that contain dwarfs, because he believed the dwarfs were probably an importation from Germany.Italo Calvino, Italian Folktales p 739 ISBN 0-15-645489-0

It is Aarne-Thompson type 709, Snow White. Others of this type include Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree, Nourie Hadig, and Myrsina.


An innkeeper named Bella Venezia asked her customers whether they had ever seen a more beautiful woman than herself. When they said they had not, she cut the price for their stay in half, but one day, a traveller said that he had seen such a woman: her own daughter. Bella Venezia doubled the price of his stay instead of halving it, and had her daughter shut up in a tower with a single window. Then one day Bella asked again whether her customers had seen a woman more beautiful than herself, and a traveller said that he had seen a more beautiful woman, looking from a tower. Bella Venezia asked the kitchen boy if he would marry her, and promised to do so if he killed her daughter. The kitchen boy led her daughter into the forest and killed a lamb in her place.

The daughter wandered until she saw twelve robbers order a cave open and shut: "Open up, desert!" and "Close up, desert!" She snuck inside and cleaned up the...
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