Fornaretto di Venezia

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Fornaretto di Venezia
a Venetian folk tale set during the 16th century
fornaretto venezia

The “Fornaretto di Venezia” is a Venetian folk tale set during the government of the doge Leonardo Loredan. In the dark light of a dawn on a day in March 1507, the young baker Pietro Fasiol, descending from the steps of the Assassin Bridge, found the sheath of a dagger covered with precious stones.

Excited and flattered by such luck, he went to his beloved Annetta to ask her to marry him, deciding to give it her as a gift. Annetta who had been in the service of the noble Barbo family for years, however, did not accept the gift and told him to go back and put the sheath back where he had found it.

An “order” that induced Pietro to retrace his steps, without however thinking about the cruel mockery that fate often reserves for naive people like him. Arriving almost at the place of the discovery with the light of the day that now lightened the streets, he noticed that the body of a man was lying on the ground: the patrician Guoro. A nobleman who attended the Barbo house and who in the past had already made himself the protagonist of licentious proposals for his fiancée Annella.

A fatal outcome for the unfortunate baker that in the light of the sun was seen first by one and then by other witnesses bending over the corpse, perhaps with the intention of helping the one who thought agonizingly, but still holding the sheath of the dagger stuck in the back of the noble.

Captured and handed over to the “Signori della Notte” (Lords of the Night, special magistrates of the Serenissima), who took him to the sadly known “Piombi”, the prisons of the Serenissima joined to the Doge’s Palace by the even more famous Bridge of Sighs. There, in order to finish his earthly sufferings and to have at least saved his soul, after the convincing tortures inflicted on him, confessed the murder of the noble Guoro. This was enough for the death sentence. The young Piero Fasiol was then taken to Piazza San Marco, where a large crowd witnessed the execution.

Shortly after the poor baker’s hanging, a witness revealed the name of the real murderer. Not the poor baker Fasiol, therefore, but the rich Lorenzo Barbo who had avenged himself on Guoro’s licentiousness which had undermined his wife’s virtue in addition to her servant Annella.

Following remorse for having condemned the poor baker, the Venetian judiciary became much more prudent in deciding on a person’s life. The “Council of Ten” ordered that at the end of each trial, before retiring to the council chamber, the phrase “Remember the poor baker” should be pronounced. Not only that, but the judges also ordered that two lights be lit every night on the loggia of the basilica of San Marco. Perennial symbols of error and light needed to defeat the darkness of injustice.

In the precise archives of the Serenissima there is no trace of this story and it seems that it is only the result of a metropolitan legend but very well thought out.

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