Even if you’re not very superstitious, can you really resist the chance to bring yourself some good luck? I mean, even if it seems impossible that something inanimate can have a positive impact on your life, what have you got to lose?
All over Europe, there are statues with parts of their bodies that have been polished clean by tourists in a bid to glean some fortune in their favour. Some have stories surrounding them which explain why a particular spot should be rubbed, whilst others have little explanation but are no less cherished.
Here are some great examples that you should look out for on your travels.
Good Luck In Love
Arguably one of the most loved statues in the world, the bronze cast of Shakespeare’s Juliet outside her house in Verona receives an abundance of attention all year round. Not only do people send her love letters leading up to Valentine’s Day, but they also arrive in their droves to visit her in the metal flesh.
Not content with admiring the statue from afar, a trend started whereby tourists would touch her left breast for good luck in love. This became the norm for a lot of visitors to the point that, in 2014, Juliet was removed due to damage to her arm and breast. Some years later, she was restored to the same spot, but the custom is somewhat frowned upon these days. That doesn’t stop many people ‘copping a feel’, though.
Good Luck In Your Creativity
Anyone suffering from writer’s block may want to head to Budapest and seek out the statue entitled Anonymous in the courtyard of Vajdahunyad Castle. Originally designed to depict poet Miklós Zrínyi, it was met with criticism because the facial features couldn’t be seen. However, once the statue was put in place it proved very popular with visitors and so the name was changed and it remained.
Anonymous was a 13th-century writer who chronicled the history of when the Hungarians first arrived in this part of the world. Hardly anything is known about him, making him the ideal subject for statue featuring an obscured figure. A tradition has developed whereby people will touch his pen in the hope of inspiration and creativity.
Good Luck In Your Travels
Everard ‘t Serclaes, Brussels
Everard ‘t Serclaes is an important figure in Brussels because of the role he played in freeing the city from the Flemish in 1356. After a dispute over who should rule the Duchy of Brabant, Louis de Male invaded Brussels and took over. That was until Everard ‘t Serclaes personally led the charge, by scaling the city walls, and ousted the Flemings.
A statue that features Everard lying down can be found in Rue Charles Buls and tourists regularly rub the arm to ensure a return trip to Brussels in the future.
Il Porcellino, Florence
Florence is such a beautiful and cultured city that it’s no surprise travellers want to try and secure another visit down the line. Well, if the stories are to be believed, that is exactly what you can expect if you rub the nose of the Il Porcellino statue on the Mercato Nuovo.
Il Porcellino means ‘piglet’ in English and the statuesque fountain depicts a young boar laying down on its haunches. As well as touching the snout, it is said that putting a coin in the pig’s mouth and letting it fall into the water will bring you good luck.
St. John of Nepomuk, Prague
There are various statues that line the beautiful Charles Bridge in Prague, each of them interesting and intricate. One of the most popular, though, is one depicting the story of St. John of Nepomuk, the priest in the court of King Wenceslas IV.
Touching the plaque at the bottom of his statue is said to mean you will return to Prague at some point. Ironically, the plaque shows St. John being thrown from the Charles Bridge after he invited an enemy priest to the city.
Good Luck In General
Bremen Town Musicians, Bremen
On the stunning Marktplatz in the centre of Bremen, there are plenty of fantastic buildings vying for your gaze. However, it is the statue of the Bremen Town Musicians that gets a lot of the attention, bringing good luck to all that touch the forelegs of the donkey.
The statue features a cock, cat, dog and donkey on top of each other, a scene from a classic German fairy tale in which the animals realise they are surplus to requirements and set off for Bremen. One thing to remember is that you should always hold both of the donkey’s legs with both of your hands. Otherwise, as our German guide told us during a visit, “it’s one donkey shaking the hand of another”.
Schöner Brunnen Fountain, Nuremberg
The gilded Schöner Brunnen Fountain, found on the Hauptmarkt in Nuremberg, is surrounded by intricate, black gates. However, one specific part of these stands out amongst the rest of the metalwork and you’ll often see tourists hanging off it.
The part in question is a gold ring that you are supposed to turn three times whilst making a wish. Doing so will bring you good luck and the wish will be granted.
Wishing Bell, Warsaw
In Kanonia Square, Old Town, Warsaw lies a bell with an interesting tale behind it. It is the subject of a heart-breaking fairy tale that involves a love triangle and a scorned bellmaker’s apprentice. The story goes that bellmaker Kajetan was in love with Marynia whose dad was also a bellmaker. Whilst fate kept the two apart, Marynia loved Kajetan and they hoped to one day marry.
However, Marynia’s dad had an apprentice bellmaker named Hans who was also in love with the young lady and was tremendously jealous of Kajetan. One day, Hans poisoned Kajetan’s wine whilst also sabotaging Marynia’s dad’s latest bellmaking project with tin. In the hope of getting the girl and the job of bellmaker when he returned, Hans left town. Days after, when the compromised bell was rung for the first time, it immediately cracked and Kajetan fell dead from the poison at the same time. Things didn’t end well for Hans, though, as Marynia’s father kept his job and Marynia went insane and killed herself.
The cracked bell is now said to bring good luck to everyone who circles it three times whilst touching the top. It also delivers any wishes made straight to heaven.
Good Luck And Warm Hands
Margaretha Krook, Stockholm
Our last inclusion is a bit different. When she was alive, famous Swedish actress Margaretha Krook remarked that she didn’t want a statue of her built because they are always so cold and unfriendly. So, after she passed away, the decision was made to create a statue heated to 37 degrees in her honour.
It stands outside the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, where she spent a lot of her time, and warms the hands of passing tourists who touch her stomach for good luck.
If you’re in need of some good luck and you want to visit any of the cities listed above, Fred.\ Holidays can offer a tailor-made package that suits your needs. Call us on 0800 988 3369 or sign up to our mailing list for regular updates.