Cast in Stone

"Venice is music made stone"

Paolo Barbaro

Courtyard, Pensione Accademia, Dorsoduro
Campo San Nicolò dei Mendicoli, Dorsoduro

Near the church of San Trovaso, Dorsoduro
Fondamenta San Severo, Castello

Convent of Saint Apollonia, Castello 4312, a few steps away from Piazza San Marco but a world apart in tranquility. The only Romanesque cloister in Venice (12-13th cent.)
The Drunkenness of Noah. His sons are covering his nakedness. Southeast corner, Palazzo Ducale
Patera at the end of Fondamenta de le Grue, Santa Croce 2002

Pink columns, Palazzo Ducale
Gobbo di Rialto, San Polo

"The beauty that is hidden away, not the beauty that is revealed, is the city's essence." Max Beerbohm

Calle dei Fabbri, San Marco 4720
Calle de la Bissa, San Marco 5512
Somewhere in Dorsoduro

Patera near Fondaco dei Turchi, Santa Croce
Leoni in Moleca (crab-like), Cannaregio

"The global 'baracca' detests the things that Venice stands for: fragility, slowness, compromise, beauty..." Paolo Barbaro

Saint Martin giving his cloak to a beggar, Cannaregio 3526
Monument to the dog, Calle Priuli, Cannaregio 4011

"It almost seems difficult for me to admire this Venice: you have to start at the beginning to learn. Its marble is ashen, a pallid grey, as luminous as the edge of a coal that has just stopped smouldering. How inexplicable are the red of the walls and the green of the shutters; so restrained and yet impossible to ignore; it is the past, but in the fullness of flight; it is so pale, just as people turn pale as their emotions increase." Rainer Maria Rilke

Ponte Cavallo, Campo S.S. Giovanni e Paolo
Annunciation on Rio dei Mendicanti
Annunciation, Cannaregio 6377

"Should this city ever be short of cash, it can go straight to Kodak for assistance." Joseph Brodsky

A Venetian Bestiary. A lion's head with bat's wings over a lintel. A place that Casanova used to visit (Calle Diedo, Cannaregio 2386A). An almost menacing beast, half dragon, half serpent hidden in a courtyard in Castello,  Corte del Rosario, off Campo S. S. Filippo e Giacomo.

A Roman urn near Ponte del Paradiso, Castello
San Giosafat (Iosafa), Patron Saint of Ukraine, Campo S. Maria Formosa, Castello 5264
Christ at a corner in Dorsoduro

Annunciation, San Marco 3128, Crosera (off Salizada S. Samuele)
Annunciation, detail

Annunciation, San Marco 3127, marks the site of an old hospice and hostel for German shoemakers
Corner of Castello with a holy parapet
to ward off public peeing

Portico between Campi San Zaccaria and San Provolo

"A resident of Venice must shoulder the burden of this enormous aesthetic weight for his entire life.... These narrow calli allow your sight no scape, they squeeze it between a pictorial foreshortening and an architectural epiphany; they crush your eyes between the grace of a bridge and the shady charm of a portico." Built to Kill, Tiziano Scarpa, translated by Lawrence Venuti

Pietà on Calle del Pestrin, off Calle Varisco,
 near Cannaregio 5330

A winged bull near Ponte Storto, San Polo

Side doorway, Santa Maria dei Miracoli
Side doorway, Santa Maria dei Miracoli

Near San Girolamo, Cannaregio
San Lorenzo about to be grilled,
Fondamenta de l'Osmarin, Castello
Lost arm

Lista Vechia dei Bari at Corte Pisani, Santa Croce
Lista Vechia dei Bari at Corte Pisani, Santa Croce

Wellhead at Fondaco dei Turchi, Santa Croce
Hand near the church of San Marcuola, indicating
that the church has Saint John the Baptist's
right hand, Cannaregio

Carnal love behind bars, Dorsoduro
"Oops! I dropped the mortar and killed the standard bearer of the revolution
and got a freeze on my rent for over 400 years!" San Marco (behind Torre de l'Orologio)
Brotherly love, Venetian style, San Marco

Near Ponto Storto, San Polo 1510B
Near Ponte Storto, San Polo
Near the Rialto bridge, San Polo

Virgin, Child, Saint Barbara and Saint Omobon, patron saint of tailors, Fondamenta dei Sartori, Cannaregio 4838
Basilica of San Marco. The turbaned man, supposedly the builder of the basilica, is biting his fingernails afraid of the punishment he would receive for boasting that his work was perfect.

On the façade of the church of Santa Maria del Giglio (or Santa Maria Zobenigo) in the sestiere of San Marco, there are six bas-reliefs depicting cities once under Venice's control, including Rome (which was not).

Santa Maria del Giglio, Candia
Santa Maria del Giglio, Corfu

Santa Maria del Giglio, Padova Santa Maria del Giglio, Roma

Santa Maria del Giglio, Spalato
Santa Maria del Giglio, Zara

Mistake or stonemason's hidden message?

Look carefully at the tracery of the upper balconies in Desdemona's house. One wheel seems to spin in the opposite direction.

The Palazzetto Contarini-Fasan, also known as Desdemona's house, can be best admired from Campo de la Salute. Legend has it that in Medieval Venice Desdemona was killed by her jealous husband of the Moro family. Shakespeare borrowed the storyline for his Othello.

The same wheels appear in a modern palazzetto on Rio del Gaffaro, Santa Croce

Perhaps another mason's hidden message, San Marco,
Salizada Pio X, next to the Rialto bridge

Gone but not forgotten,
Fondamenta San Severo, Castello

"The window cuts through the arch above the great portal, just underneath the point....An arch is one of those things that should never be broken, like a mirror." Across the Bridge of Sighs, Jane Turner Rylands.

Bocca di Leone

Bocca della Verità, Venetian style. These "lion's mouths" were prominent in Venice. This one in the Palazzo Ducale was used by the citizens to drop denunciations against anybody to the Council of Ten. Anonymous notes were not considered and no person was sentenced without a trial. However, these little mouths instilled terror. They were also found in churches, for zealous snitches.

The Rialto Bridge was the first bridge to cross the Grand Canal. A primitive pontoon bridge, called Ponte della Moneta, was built in 1181 and later replaced by a wooden structure. Bajamonte Tiepolo, the leader of the revolution of 1310, burnt it as he escaped from the Doge's men, after his standard bearer was killed by that fateful mortar. Another wooden bridge was built but collapsed in 1444 when a large crowd gathered to watch a wedding procession on the Grand Canal. It was rebuilt again in 1458 and collapsed again in 1524. It was finally replaced in 1591 by the present stone structure, a design of an architect with a fitting name: Antonio da Ponte. People did not believe that the bridge would ever be finished and coined the phrase that the bridge would be built "when penises grew nails and vaginas were on fire." The architect of the adjacent Camerlenghi Palace echoed these sentiments in the whimsical carvings he ordered for the capitals of the palace's main façade. A man grows a third leg between the other two and a woman has her genitalia on fire.

Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, San Polo
Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, San Polo

"The lover returns to the contemplation of his mistress with ardor ever new; he resumes the endless task of cataloguing her charms, only to find that having said all, he has not said half enough." Horatio Brown, Venetian Studies.