You don't have to wander around Venice's network of narrow streets for long before you start to notice that many of the corners are filled in with stone or brick, or fitted with sloping stone shelves.
These constructions, known as pissotte or gobbe antibandito, had a twofold purpose. Firstly, they discouraged people (okay, men) from using the corners as urinals. A cross was often painted on the pissotta as an additional deterrent.
Secondly, they made it harder for thieves, and the like, to lie in wait and ambush passers-by.
It is easy to guess why they are called pissotte, while gobbe antibandito translates roughly as 'hunchbacks against thieves'.
Blogging about Venice:
its art, history & culture.
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 &
Search Pictures From Italy: