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Historic April Fool's Day prank left Venice piled with manure

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In honor of April Fool's Day, we turned to the history books and found one prank that still has the city of Venice talking almost 100 years later.

In 1919, British prankster W. Horace de Vere Cole played a now famous prank on the residents of Venice while honeymooning in la serenissima. Cole shipped large quanitites of horse manure over from mainland Italy and, while the city and his new bride slept, spread it in hundreds of piles around the Piazza di San Marco -- a landmark surrounded by canals with no possible horse traffic. 

Both the city's residents and (assumedly) Cole's new bride awoke the next morning to find a nasty surprise: the confused Venetians finding what appeared to be remnants of a very large horse parade and Cole's bride discovering what must have been a rather smelly groom.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the marriage didn't last.

Cole had a reputation for pranks, targeting the British Navy, the Mayor of Cambridge and fellow members of British society. Click here to read a 2006 New York Times op-ed piece about Cole written by Wes Davis, then an assistant professor of English at Yale.

Happy April Fool's Day!