Day 4 of 5 – we’re almost there – publication day tomorrow! What’s that you say? ‘Publication of what?’ I thought you’d never ask. ‘Dead in Venice’, Crime Grant Finalist and Audible exclusive audiobook, oh and my debut novel. Stick it on your Audible wish list and buy it tomorrow!
So we’re nearly at the end…which is apt because that’s exactly where the unfortunate people in my next tale were heading…
The San Marco and San Todaro Columns
Piazza San Marco is probably the most beautiful, famous square in the world (after Professor Brian Cox), and the basilica and bell tower of Saint Mark are instantly recognisable landmarks.
But the piazza has two other landmarks at the entrance of the square, overlooking the water; the columns of San Marco (with the winged lion on top) and San Todaro. These columns were half-inched during the days of Venice’s republic, when the sea-faring nation explored the world and nicked half of it. Three columns were ‘liberated’ from Constantinople, but the third column fell off the boat and sank into the sea, where it remains. The last two columns were placed there, not just to look pretty, but to mark the main execution site for all the thieves, murderers, enemies of the Republic and basically anyone the Doge didn’t like. So you tourists who pose for a photo in that sweet spot between the columns – you’re standing on the exact spot where hundreds (at least) of people died before their time. Say ‘formaggio’!
There’s another column – part of the colonnade of the Doge’s Palace – that the condemned men would also have been aware of. The Doge and his executioner – who both liked a good laugh – would offer the poor unfortunates one last chance to save themselves. If they could walk around the plinth of this column without touching the ground, they would be set free. Many tried, but none managed it; this plinth only sticks out about half a centimetre from the column, and every single tourist who hears the story today tries it for themselves (I have) and it’s impossible. The Doge clearly had a pretty dodgy sense of humour. Bastard.
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