With its Riviera di Ponente, Liguria has benn for decades a popular destination for romantic journeys, couples’ excursions and exclusive weddings.
But hasn’t been always like this; in the Middle Ages, when Liguria was divided into duchies, marriage was a reason to escape.
Why marriage in Liguria was a reason to escape?
Some Marquises, including the Marquise Imperial Doria, issued an order for the “Droit de seigneur”, the newlywed bride’s duty to spend her wedding night with the aristocrat of the country, giving him her virginity.
Many young couples, in order to oppose this injustice, run away or married in secret.
The Legend of Dolceacqua
Of these couples, today we remember the story of Lucrezia and Basso, two lovers of Dolceacqua whose fight against the Jus Primae Noctis became legend.
While she was celebrating her secret marriage with Basso, Lucrezia was kidnapped by the Marquise’s guards so she could follo through her first night duty; but she refused and she was imprisoned in the dungeons of the castle, where she let herself die of hunger and thirst rather than fulfilling the Marquise’s demand.
Basso, mad with grief, broke in the castle and threatened the Marquies whit a knife at his throat to abolish the “Jus Primae Noctis”
with the knife at the throat of the Marquis, ordered him to abolish the “Jus Primae Noctis”edict.
The Celebration in Dolceacqua
On August 16th, then, the population in Dolceacqua celebrate the recurrence of this occurrence with a sweet, the Michetta, whose form is an obvious allusion to the female sex.
The Michetta, accompanied by “Rossese di Dolceacqua” wine, is the symbol of the victory for the women’s emancipation. Even today, the motto of the inhabitants of Dolceacqua remains: “Omi, au, at michetta to damu chi vuremu nui” (men, now we give the “michetta” only to the ones we want to).