Venice – Lion of St. Mark, became the symbol of the St. Mark because his Gospel begins like that:” remember the voice of the Baptist in the wilderness, rises like a roar, announcing the coming of Jesus to men, the lion quickly became also the symbol of the Serenissima. In Venice the symbolism of the lion of St. Mark comes from an ancient tradition, according to which St. Mark’s going to Alexandria in order to convert the infidels of that country, on a dark stormy night, his ship was boarded, seek shelter in one of the fishermen’s huts on the island, “called Rialto”. After a frugal dinner with the fishermen the saint leaned on the ground, fell asleep and in the dream he saw an angel ” of a winged lion form ” who thus spoke to him, “On this island, a wonderful city will rise and in this great day you will find your final resting place, and you will find the final ( Peace to you, Mark, my evangelist. shall rest here your body)”. Mark woke up in the morning and told his dream to the fishermen, before setting sail again to the Egypt, where he died. The body of St. Mark was smuggled by two venecians traders, in a basket of vegetables and pork, to escape of the Muslim guards. One story tell us that when they arrived in Venice from Egypt, Alexandria (where Mark had founded the first Christian church), in the year 828, a huge crowd waiting for them, and when they set foot on the ground, an intense scent of roses spread to the pier.
The Jester or named Jolly, it is typical for its floppy six pointed hat. Another distinctive feature of the Jolly is its constant laughter, also known as the Fool or ‘Buffone’ is one of the best known characters in drama the world over. First mentioned in ancient Roman times, the character is most closely associated with the Middle Ages. The Jester’s aim is to entertain and to point out the weaknesses of other characters – a kind of early satirist. In some early plays the Jester’s mask was a donkey’s head and the ‘Buffone’ mask reflects this. It’s a particularly distinctive one : it has ‘tines’ or points both above and below the head, each one finished with a tiny bell. The tines are thought to represent the ears of an ass; the bells are to indicate fun and frolics.
Venetian masks are a centuries-old tradition of Venice, Italy. The masks are typically worn during the Carnival (Carnival of Venice), but have been used on many other occasions in the past, usually as a device for hiding the wearer’s identity and social status. The mask would permit the wearer to act more freely in cases where he or she wanted to interact with other members of the society outside the bounds of identity and everyday convention. It was useful for a variety of purposes, some of them illicit or criminal, others just personal, such as romantic encounters.
Near the end of the Republic, the wearing of masks in daily life was severely restricted. By the 18th century, it was limited only to about three months from December 26. The masks were traditionally worn with decorative beads matching in colour.
F/8, 4 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6
The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (Basilica of St. Mary of Health), commonly known simply as La Salute, is one of the largest churches of Venice and has the status of a minor basilica. It stands in a prominent position at the junction between the Grand Canal and the Bacino di San Marco on the lagoon.
In October 1630, the Venetian Senate decreed that if the city was delivered from the currently raging plaguethat had killed about a third of Venice’s population, then a new church would be built and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The city was so delivered, and Baldassare Longhena, then only 26 years old, was selected to design the new church. It was consecrated in 1681, the year before Longhena’s death, and completed in 1687.
The Salute is a vast, octagonal building built on a platform made of 100,000 wooden piles. It is constructed of Istrian stone and marmorino (brick covered with marble dust). The church is full of Marian symbolism – the great dome represents her crown, the cavernous interior her womb, the eight sides the eight points on her symbolic star. The Baroque high altar, designed by Longhena himself, bears a Byzantine Madonna and Child of the 12th or 13th century, brought from Crete by Francesco Morosini in 1670. Tintoretto contributed a painting of the Marriage at Cana in the great sacristy (Sacrestia Maggiore), which includes a self-portrait and is considered one of his best works. The most represented artist in La Salute is Titian, who painted St Mark Enthroned with SS Cosmas, Damian, Sebastian and Roch; the altarpiece of the sacristy; ceiling paintings of David and Goliath, Abraham and Isaac and Cain and Abel; eight tondi of the Doctors of the Church and the Evangelists; and Pentecost in the nave.
F/9, 1/250 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6
The Campanile of San Giorgio dei Greci was built by Bernardo Ongarin between 1587 and 1592, following a project by Simone Sorella. The Bell Tower started tilting from the beginning of its construction. Its inclination can best be seen from the bridge over the rio dei Greci, close to the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs). This photo was taken on one of the 416 bridges at Venice.
F/5, 1/800 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6
The Bridge of Sighs, known as the Ponte dei Sospiri in Italian, is one of the most famous bridges in all of Venice. The bridge connects the Doge’s Palace to the Prigioni, the prisons that were built across the canal in the late 16th century. Antonio Contino designed and built the Bridge of Sighs in 1600. Though highly ornamental, built of fine, white limestone with lattice-like screens covering two small rectangular windows, the footbridge served a very practical purpose. It was used to lead prisoners from the examining rooms to their cells in the Prigioni. Legend has it that the bridge earned its name from the fact that prisoners who crossed through it, on the way to their prison cells or the execution chamber, would sigh as they caught their last glimpses of Venice through the tiny windows.
F/9, 1/400 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6