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Bellini’s Park Legend

Bellini’s Park Legend

In the Colonial Zone, at Don Francisco Billini Square, the elders still tell to the youngest that the name of this popular leisure space was in honor of Father Billini, a priest who had dedicated his life to Dominican society. It is an emblem of the gratitude from those who were benefited from the good will of this cleric and on the other hand, from those who honored their service and dedication to others.

Son of a Cuban woman and an Italian Russian man, Francisco Billini founded "La Casa de la Beneficencia" (The Beneficence House) on Santomé Street, which is currently the “Padre Billini Hospital”. In that place, he gave refugee and sustained a large number of the vulnerable people who found spiritual and wheat bread in this community.

During Colonialism, a house of Spanish nobles was the building what is now the park. According to the popular legend, one of the slaves of this brand-new residence dared to compare out loud the widow of the opposite house, where La Bricciola restaurant is currently located, with a dairy cow that could be milked in the middle of the street.

This woman nephew, who was the first-born male of the Franco de Medina family, and known for his courage in the March 30, 1844 Battle, took to himself the defense of her aunt's honor; asking for a punishment and an apology from the master of the offender, who did not agree.

The litigation to defend her honorability turned into a lawsuit generating a strong polemic in the public opinion of the time. Finally, the responsible for the insult was sentenced to compensate the plaintiff with his house and the payment of the costs of the trial.

According to the legend, the unfortunate man who lost in the courts exclaimed "That's the easy way to get richer and acquire property!", So the plaintiff pointed out: "It will not be for me, it’ll be for everyone" and then he demolished the building to turned it into a public house; that is the reason why the block is the largest in the whole area.

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TEXT: Elena Crespo; IMAGES: Archivos