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.
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.