On the south side of the Basilica San Marco (facing the lagoon) are two small lamps, which are permanently alight. The lamps commemorate a tragic miscarriage of justice, which took place more than 500 years ago.
Early one winter's morning, in 1507, a young baker by the name of Pietro Tasca was on his way to work when he stumbled across a dagger lying on the ground. A few feet away lay the body of a dead man. Tasca was duly arrested and 'confessed' under torture to the murder. On March 22nd, il povero fornaretto (the poor young baker) was hanged between the two columns, which stand at the end of the Piazzetta di San Marco. However, a few days later, much to the shame of the authorities, the real assassin was discovered.
The judges of the case were then executed in their turn and their confiscated property was used to fund the burning, in perpetuity, of the lamps, twin reminders for all those charged with administering the law.
Blogging about Venice:
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England.
Since 200I I have been living in Italy, where I run private tours of Florence, Rome &
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