From 1796 to 1864, one man was in charge of the rather frequent executions in Rome, including those at Piazza del Popolo. His name was Giovanni Battista Bugatti, nickname 'Mastro Titta'. He became legendary during his 70-year long career, during which he performed 516 executions. On May 19th, 1817, the writer Lord Byron, was in Piazza del Popolo for an execution. He recounted the story and compared it to English executions of the time in a letter:
"The day before I left Rome I saw three robbers guillotined. The ceremony - including the masqued priests; the half-naked executioners; the bandaged criminals; the black Christ & his banner; the scaffold; the soldiery; the slow procession, and the quick rattle and heavy fall of the axe, the splash of blood, and the ghastliness of the exposed heads - is altogether more impressive than the vulgar and ungentlemanly "new drop" and dog-like agony of infliction upon the sufferers of the English sentence..."