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An enchanting corner of Venice: an outdoor sculpture dear to the Venetians

Location of the street

One of the first streets to be paved in Venice is the “salizada San Lio”. This main street is cut by parallel roads and one of those is called “Calle del Paradiso”. It is located in the district of Castello, not far away from the famous Rialto bridge. (see map above) but there are several others that bear the same name.

Calle del Paradiso

The origin of the name Paradise is unknown and there are different theories among which the most accredited one is that during many celebrations but especially on Good Friday it was decorated in a festive way with splendid illuminations. The ornaments were hanged on the wooden eaves, the so-called “barbacani” .

The buildings flanking its two sides, 26 houses in total, are a set of minor Gothic architecture and an example of township houses.

At the end of the street there is a pointed arch from the 1400s, which is worth seeing as it tells you an interesting story.

The front of the arch

On its front side you see the representation of Mary of Mercy with a wide-opened mantle protecting two people kneeling on each side of her cloak. They have been identified by their coat of arms represented on each side of the arch as Pellegrina Foscari Michiel and Alvise Mocenigo della Zogia, who got married in 1491. As their names remember, they belonged to two of the most powerful Venetian noble families.

Pellegrina Foscari lived in this street in the Palazzo you can see on the left of the canal. She brought her palace in dowry to her husband, who was able to buy the whole set of houses along the street.

Alvise Mocenigo was a merchant, but he also covered various political roles within the republic.

The back of the arch

On the backside of the arch there is the same reproduction of Mary, who is protecting either the donor or a kneeling devotee, who has not been identified yet.

Despite the arch was restored in the 1990s, unfortunately subsidence caused by natural processes or by human activities, its due to time and appearance appears to be extremely inclined.

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