Get Lucky If You Rub a Statue or Sit in a Chair
On the island of Korcula, on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, we found a huge wooden chair, with Marco Polo cut into the top. Supposedly, sitting in the chair brings good luck—-interesting what people think up!
Korcula is very proud of Marco Polo and has been promoting him and his story, partly for national pride but also partly for tourism I’m sure.
Marco Polo (1254 – 1324) was a Venetian merchant, but is better known as a writer and world traveller. Marco Polo was amongst the first Europeans, together with his father Nicolas and his uncle Maffeo, to travel the famous Silk Road trade route, stretching from the Middle East to China.
The exact date and place of Marco Polo’s birth are unknown: some scholars believe he came from Venice, but others argue that he was born on the island of Korcula on the Adriatic coast, in what is today Croatia. They say his father was a rich merchant from Dalmatia named Maffeo Pilic, who Italianised his surname to Polo when he established himself in Venice, as was common in those days. Pilic, which is Croatian for chicken, became Polo in Italian. The Pilic/Polo family coat of arms shows a crown and four chickens.
It’s an interesting story and mystery, and we were quite happy to sit on the chair and wish to return here, as we really loved our stay in Korcula.
In Dubrovnik, a statue of Marin Drzic outside the Rector’s Palace in Old Town has a much-rubbed nose and rubbed knees.
Again, we wonder who this person was, and why this statue got chosen as one to rub for good luck.
Marin Drzic (born 1508 in Dubrovnik, died 1567 in Venice) is considered the best Croatian Renaissance playwright, especially for comedies, and prose writer. He was ordained as a priest but was often a bit of a rebel, very extroverted and popular. An annual drama prize is named after him.
Also in Dubrovnik is another very interesting statue/fountain, although this one is not actually rubbed (that we could see, anyway)—but people hold the knee. It’s of Lady Pi-Pi, outside a restaurant of the same name. It’s a popular place, serving excellent food and all the patrons want a photo of the Madame. It’s a rather graphic statue, which we never saw being used as a miniature fountain, and no-one could explain the origin to us.
We ate here a number of times and the food was always great (another food write-up later).