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Official Tourist Information Site of Imola's Area

Bubano's Dragon


In the 16th century people believed in the existence of terrible dragons and snakes.

This was due to popular superstition but also to the woodlands and marshes which characterized Imola's area.

This hostile environment may give rise to popular tales which became legends such as that of Bubano's Dragon.

According to Imola's most renowned historians this legend comes from an episode which took place in the 11th century in the wetlands surrounding Bubano. The legend goes that in 1062 Bubano's farmers were terrified by a horrible and enormous snake which killed the cattle and poisoned water.

Cassiano Oroboni, who had bravely led Imola's troops against the Florentines, was chosen to kill the monster.

He reached Bubano with his soldiers and waited for the snake near its den. When the creature suddenly appeared, the frightened soldiers attacked it with their crossbows but the dragon's scales pushed back all the arrows as they were made of steel.

Cassiano was therefore forced to withdraw. After his defeat, the dragon's fame spread very quickly and farmers began to invoke God's help to free the town from the monster.
At this point of the legend authors report different endings. Some tell that a humble and pious farmer who, thanks to the Virgin's blessing, managed to kill the snake by offering it some consecrated bread.

According to others, St. Basilio pierced the monster through with the Virgin's veil. After his miraculous victory, he headed a procession towards the church to thank the Virgin. A painting depicting the dying snake was placed on the foot of her image.
It should be noted that these different interpretations only agree with the legend taking place in a marshy woodland near Bubano. 



Several authors wrote about this legend. Among them, abbot Ferri (end of the 17th century), Nicolò Gamberini, a learned priest from Imola (first half of the 17th century), Bologna-born Pier Lorenzo Galassi and an Olivetan monk who wrote about it in 1666. 
This excerpt is taken from the book "Draghi, santi, paludi e serpenti del Medioevo Imolese" (Dragons, Saints, Marshes and Snakes during Imola's Middle Ages), written by Marco Medri and available at Imola's Town Library.

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URP - Ufficio Relazioni con il Pubblico del Comune di Mordano

Via Bacchilega, 6 - 40027 Mordano (BO)

Tel: +39 0542 56911; Fax: +39 0542 56900


Last update: 21-10-2013