Venice heroine: the old woman of the MortarHistorical Curiosities
Venice heroine: the old woman of the Mortar
If Venice was able to remain for many centuries a free and independent republic it was surely down to a humble common woman: Giustina Rossi.
On 15 June 1310 Baiamonte Tiepolo, a rebellious young nobleman, plotted together with other noblemen, a conspiracy to overthrow the government of the Serenissima. Their army had almost made it to St Mark's Square and was preparing to attack the government building. Puzzled by the roar coming from the street, Lady Lucia leant out of her house window and in doing so dropped (purposely?) a heavy mortar that she was holding immediately killing the flag holder of the army of rioters. This incident caused havoc amongst the insurgents who were subsequently easily defeated by the regular army.
As a sign of gratitude, the Venetian Republic granted to Lady Giustina the block of the rent fee, which was never raised untill the fall of the Republic. In remembrance of the event, an elderly lady in 1861, living in the same house, had a high-relief etched depicting the woman who saved with her mortar the city from dictatorship.
If you want to see this peculiar monument, walk along Mercerie dell'Orologio towards St Mark's Square and on the corner with sotoportego del Cappello just look up…
One of the best ways not to miss the incredible surprises that Venice has to offer at every corner is by visiting the city on foot. A walking tour of Venice allows you to come in contact with ‘everyday Venice' and discover, at the same time, the majestic buildings of Saint Mark's area.
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