And the innkeeper, who was one-eyed and bolognaise,
Imitating Venus' Navel
learnt the art of making tortellini!
(Giuseppe Ceri, L’ombelico di Venere)


It was always a great mystery how these curious shaped Tortellini were invented. Fortunately, the mock-heroic poem La Secchia Rapita (The stolen bucket) by Alessandro Tassoni in the early 1600s may get us a nice surprise about their origin.

One day the three Gods Venus, Bacchus and Mars stopped for the night at an inn called Corona after returning from a real-life battle between Modena and Bologna over the possession of a wooden bucket. The Goddess of love woke up the next morning, finding herself being left behind by the other Gods. Terrified as she was, she rang the bell for help.

The innkeeper immediately came to her side. Imagine how astounded he was by her voluptuous form, he returned to the kitchen where he was making his pasta dough, tearing a piece, cutting it into squares, stuffing them with filling and then folding them around his finger to get the form which he called Venus' Navel.

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