Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on skype
Share on email
Gravediggers during the plague

The monatti were the workers who in times of epidemic were in charge of collecting and transporting sick or dead patients to the lazaret. Usually, the monatti were people sentenced to death, imprisoned, or people cured of the disease and so immune to it. In Venice they were called “pissigamorti“.

The masked men who moved about the city in their long, tarred black cloaks with gloved hands and bells at their ankles to herald their approach, the men who collected the plague-ridden bodies to be buried or burned in mass graves. The strange white hooked-nose masks worn by the pissigamorti contained aromatic herbs to counteract the sickness, and were necessary to keep the disease away.

In the novel “I Promessi Sposi” (The Betrothed) the writer Alessandro Manzoni also tells the story of the pissigamorti at the time of the plague of the 600. We read their stories, maybe we saw them in some films, we watched them trying to imagine what they felt. But we never thought we would feel that excruciating pain in our time, that sense of total impotence like seeing those military trucks going in single file during the current coronavirus pandemic. Sooner or later it will end and something will stay with us, inside us: the endless pain of the new pissigamorti on the military trucks.

Leave a Replay

About Us

We are a Venetian company that produces Murano glass items. We are specialized in glass creations for architecture and interior design. As a sign of love for our wonderful and unique city, the information and services offered on this blog are for educational purposes only and have been carefully selected for quality and reliability.


Texts and images included in the posts are only partially works by the authors of the articles and their properties. Some images and texts are taken from the web and, therefore, considered to be in the public domain. Where possible, source and author are published for illustrative purposes only, in compliance with the law on the “Protection of copyright and other rights related to its exercise”. If their publication violates specific copyrights, please notify us for timely removal. The authors of the blog are not responsible for the content of comments to posts, nor for the content of the linked sites. Please read the blog disclaimer carefully.

Recent Posts

Follow Us


Sign up for our Newsletter

By entering your email address, you agree to receive updates and promotion and accept the privacy  policy and the terms of use.