IT IS ONE of Venice's most shocking tales. Just one vaporetto stop from Santa Lucia railway station on the Santa Croce side of the Grand Canal is the Riva di Biasio ( It is named after a local butcher called Biasio Cargnio or Cargnico, so called because he came from the Carnia region in north eastern Italy.

Biasio was what was called a 'luganegher' because he made an Italian sausage known as a luganega, sometimes called a salsiccia a metro, that is not divided into links but comes in one long piece, hence the term 'sausage by metre'. They are made fresh and cannot be stored as salami and other dried sausages can.

Every day, bar Sundays, Biasio sold his sausages from his shop on the riva and also a delicious meat stew, known as 'Sguazeto' that was very popular with workmen who would often order a bowl of the hot, meaty sauce for their breakfast. That was until the day that a workman found part of a human finger, complete with finger nail, in his bowl.

The workman reported Biasio and city guards turned up on the riva to search his shop where they found an appalling sight. When they went into the storage area at the back of the shop the remains of children that the luganegher had been adding to his recipes were uncovered. The sausage maker soon confessed to his brutal crime although it was never discovered how many children he had murdered and cut into pieces or where he had found so many innocent, young victims.

His punishment was as swift and as brutal as his crime. First he had both his hands chopped off and strung around his neck before being led to the Piazza San Marco where he was beheaded between the two pillars that stand in the Piazetta. His body was chopped into four pieces and displayed on pitchforks around various parts of the city.

His shop was then burnt to the ground to leave no lasting memory of the dreadful butcher and his murderous crimes. However, the memory has lasted, because from that day on Venetians have called this little quay the Riva di Biasio. Whereas all the rest of the Vaporetto stops in the city are named after famous landmarks such as churches and palaces when tourists stop at the Riva di Biasio on the number one Vaporetto hardly any of them will know the reason for its name.