The head of the Fornaretto (Little Baker)

Located on the balustrade at the top corner of the Basilica of San Marco looking towards the canal, you can see a reddish marble head of a person.

It is the head of the poor Fornaretto “baker” whose story, set in 1507, in the corner between calle della Mandola and the Ponte degli Assassini, tells that a young baker went to his girlfriend to ask her to marry him at night. He was walking close to the  place where a murder had been committed and remains involved to the point that he was blamed by passers-bys despite being innocent.

The little baker was  accused of murder and condemned to beheaded. A few years later the real culprit was discovered and the Grand Council decided to place a copy of the head of the Baker in the upper corner of the Basilica of San Marco, clearly visible to all, just as a warning to the future for all the judges to pay attention and be sure before condemning someone to death.

The warning was more explicitly “before judging, remember the head of the little Baker”. Since then, the head  overlooks the Basilica of San Marco toward the lagoon.