Tom writes, "Hmm, is the clay pot pignatta related to that Venetian legend of the little old lady who threw the flowerpot from her window killing a general?"
Wow, great memory! Good question!! I don't think so, though, since this tradition is all over Italy, and not just here...
But what Tom's talking about is a failed attempt, back around the turn of the fourteenth century, to take over the Venetian government. The conspiracy fell apart when the rebel army had nearly arrived in Saint Mark's Square, and a little old lady, looking out of her window, dropped (whether on purpose or by accident is unclear) a mortar on the head of their standard bearer, killing him instantly. When the rest of the army saw that their flag-bearer had already fallen and the battle hadn't really even begun yet, many fled in panic, and the conspiracy was then easily routed.
Legend has it that when the Venetian Republic asked the lady what she wanted as a reward, she humbly replied that she didn't want her rent to go up. So, she got to live in a Venetian rent-controlled apartment for the rest of her life, and for as long as her descendents lived there (which, now being a rent-controlled place, turned out to be centuries!)