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  • Tarantasio Dragon

    By Anthony Parente

    The Dragon Tarantasio
    Legend tells us of a great dragon like creature named Tarantasio that roamed the Po Valley during the 12th and 13th centuries. This creature resided in Lake Gerundo between Milan, Lodi and Cremona. Lake Gerundo no longer exists as it was drained, but there was a time where it was home to this creature that terrorized the land and had an appetite for humans especially children.

    Tarantasio had features of a dragon as well as a snake and was feared for good reason by those that lived in the area. The lake most likely more of a swamp area had a horrific gaseous odor that emanated from the creature's breath that was poisonous and caused many deaths. Many attempts were made to rid the land of this horrible creature but they did not end well for those who tried. Fortunately, a hero emerged, one who did not fear death who went to battle against all odds and killed the great Tarantasio. Once the creature was slayed, the lake dried up. Some believe it was either Saint Christopher or Federico Barbarossa who was the dragon slayer, but popular consensus leads us to believe it was Umberto Visconti. Upon his victory, Umberto added the biscione (a dragon/serpent devouring a child) to his family's crest.

    The great Tarantasio has long been removed from this earth, but you can still find reminders throughout Milan of his reign of terror. If you look at the carvings on the facade of Milan's Duomo, you will find a dragon. In the Visconti emblem, you will see the biscione. If you visit the Church of San Bassiano in Pizzighettone, you will see a gigantic bone that many say is the rib of the dragon.

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