You were a very naughty boy, Bajamonte

Some friends sent me in search of the bakery  (panificio) of Signor Giulio Cortella, the subject of the article linked below, and at 93, surely the oldest baker in Venice, if not all of Italy. His story is fascinating, please take the time to read it, it is in English.  (The link will open in another page.)

I found the bakeshop at  2321, Campo Sant’Agostin in San Polo, and spoke to both of his friendly, proud sons.


"Good bread"

“Good bread”

As I left the shop, clutching my purchases (the second fritelle of the day: I’ve well and truly fallen off the wagon), and a loaf of kamut bread which proved very tasty, I happened to notice this stone in the pavement outside (yet another) souvenir shop.


There had to be a story to this. I saw an elderly gentleman with his shopping trolley, and spoke to him. He was a proud Venetian through and through, but kindly spoke Italian to me. He explained it marked the spot where once stood a column of infamy dedicated to Bajamonte Tiepelo. Just around the corner is this nizioleto (street sign).


Bajamonte Tiepolo was among those who in 1310, organised a conspiracy to overthrow the Doge of the day (Pietro Gradenigo), and the Great Council of Venice. The plot failed, and Bajamonte was exiled to Istria, he was condemned to damnatio memoriae (he was not to be remembered), his house that was in the location above was destroyed.

After Tiepolo’s house was demolished, a column of infamy was erected bearing these words:

“This land belonged to Bajamonte and now for his iniquitous betrayal, this has been placed to frighten others, and to show these words to everyone forever.” (Wikipedia)

Bad Boy Bajamonte sent a henchman to destroy this column; he was stopped before he destroyed it entirely.  The stone I saw was placed there in 1785, and the words mean “Location of column of Bajamonte Tiepolo 1310”.

The remains of the column are supposedly in the storage area for the Civic Museums of Venice, in the Piazza. I asked at the Correr museum, but they didn’t know where to find it. I looked carefully in the cortile of the Correr, with no success. I’ve got the contact details, and I shan’t give up the search easily! I’ll let you know the outcome, promesso!

(PS There’s a lot more to the story of Bajamonte Tiepolo, refer to a good history of Venice, or search online.)

This lady featured in his downfall.



Filed under Venice

36 responses to “You were a very naughty boy, Bajamonte

  1. I love a good mystery, Yvonne. 🙂 You’ve definitely got my curiosity stirred up. Looking forward to your update. ~Terri

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  4. Great story Yvonne! It’s so good that you share your treasure trove of interesting explorations. Thank you! Loved this story.


    • It was the most amazing trail of circumstances, Lou. What are you folks up to, today? Have you heard anything about the fire at the Excelsior?


      • Haven’t heard anything about the fire?
        Quick trip to the train station for tickets to Cinque Terre 🙂 and a picnic on Burano on this glorious Venetian day! Guess you wish you were here and when you’re here we wish we we here!


      • Have a splendid day, and a good time in Cinque Terre.

        Yes, I’d like to co-ordinate my visits better, to be there at the same time as you folks.


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  6. dren

    I don’t. I just yesterday read about it while searching something else. And today here…


  7. Actually I am a Japanese living in Oklahoma. I have learned Welsh and have been writing a Welsh blog for years. I never knew there was a Welsh residing in Venice! I will indeed follow his blog. His book looks super interesting too. It sounds like the other book I enjoyed, the Venice Experiment by Barry Frangipane. I’ll get a copy. Thanks again for all the valuable information.


  8. I ate his bread without knowing all the history behind it! The Italian school I was attending was nearby this bakery. As I passed the shop I couldn’t resist buying a yummy looking round bread. It was so delicious that I went back a couple more times. Thank you Yvonne for the article about Giulio. I can’t wait to get another loaf when I go in May.


    • It’s such a self-effacing little shop, but mighty popular with those who frequent it! Enjoy your bread, and other things, Junko.

      I do believe you’re Welsh. Do you follow the blog The Venice Project, written by a fellow country man of yours, Phil Jones?


  9. Bert

    It’s not a pot – it’s a mortar, as in ‘mortar and pestle’ – The lady is known as ‘La Vecchia del Mortaio.’


  10. Frank

    What a beautiful story!


  11. julie

    Great post Yvonne, love it ! You shown me also the lady with the pot, I always look for it


  12. Bert

    Yes, Yvonne, I did read the article. They don’t bake them like that any more!


  13. The lady with her pot! You showed me (and Kathleen) that one in 2010 at our first meeting.
    Great post once again and your Italian is definitely better than mine but I’m working on it.


  14. Bert

    “pans out” – baker. A pun that almost works in Italian and French. The Correr could be a black hole for historic bits of Venice. You are not the only one who’s been trying to get the Column of Infamy to public view.


    • You said in a message that you were surprised I hadn’t read about the stone in the pavement. I surely hadn’t, so I was one lucky person to have been sent on the little excursion to find the bakery!

      Did you read the newspaper article about Sig.Cortella?


  15. According to Paolo Giordani (Venice. 30 Walks to Explore the City), after a long roundabout, the column was brought back to Venice and is in the Correr Museum. Let’s hope your contact pans out.
    Mr. Giulio Cortella, baker at 93, another Venetian gem.
    Thanks for the post


    • When I went to the office of the Director of MUVE, the secretary spoke to someone who seemed to think the column might be in the Ducal Palace. So, when Dr Tonini stops loafing around on sick leave, perhaps we’ll all find out where it is, Daniel. If he can show it to me, I hope I’m allowed to take photos.


  16. Brian

    When are you going to put these searches and mysteries into a book, Yvonne? At least sometime giving me and my students a tour?


  17. lol…oh no sick leave… may never see him!!
    Yvonne….your Italian must be really good…..I could only say a few words and then have to pantomime the rest. sigh!
    Great intrigue….can’t wait to hear more!!


  18. I loved your story, very interesting. Little stories/history lessons like that are always the best 🙂


  19. It is an absolutely magic place, Darlene. I’m hot on the trail of the remains of the column, but the man I need to speak to is off on sick leave until the end of the month. Please keep your fingers crossed that he has a good recovery!


  20. Great post. I love reading your history bits about Venice–such an intriguing place. .


  21. Photos and story first class as always!


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