BARI, Italy - This is Bari’s Column of Justice (Colonna della Giustizia). It is next to the city’s Palace of Justice in Piazza Mercantile. The white marble column, which was put up in 1546, is topped with a ball and has a stone lion crouching at the base. On his chest are the words “Guardian of Justice.” The column was used to punish loan sharks, slackers who didn’t pay their bills and other non-violent offenders. The condemned had to sit on the lion with their bare backsides up in the air and their hands tied to the column. They were left there for a day or two while those they had offended, along with the townsfolk, circled around them and called them names.
--Phyllis Macchioni, This Italian Life