The Man Who Died Laughing!

A plaque to Pietro Aretino in the Pescheria in Venice.
Why should the Pescheria di Rialto (Fish Market), which lies on the Grand Canal, be decorated with a portrait of the 16th century satirist, poet and pornographer, Pietro Aretino, the so-called 'scourge of princes'? 

The answer lies not in the writer's fondness for fish, but in the location of the Palazzo Bollani, Aretino's home for many years, which lies directly opposite the Pescheria, on the other side of the Grand Canal. It seems P.A. was fond of staring out of his window and watching the hustle and bustle of the old fish market.

The Pescheria we see today was only built in 1907 and the plaque wasn't added until almost a century later, in 2001. The work of the sculptor Guerrino Lovato, it is made of painted and glazed terracotta and bears the inscription, La verità è figlia del tempo. Dagli amici, 2001 (Truth is the child of time. From friends. 2001).
Portrait of Pietro Aretino by Titian

Aretino arrived in Venice in 1527 and spent the rest of his life in the city, dying on October 21st, 1556. The satirist was carousing in a tavern with a group of friends when he let out a loud laugh and fell from his chair in an apoplectic fit. Death quickly followed.

Pietro Aretino is buried in the church of San Luca.