This is definitely a hidden gem. Wandering down a shady calle in the Castello district for no other reason that to see if there were any good canal views had at the far end I passed beneath an interesting section of stonework.
I assumed at first that it was another of those pieces of sculpture that had been removed from a church to a new location during the Napoleonic occupation of the city; its slightly uneven installation giving the impression that it had been placed here as an afterthought. That much is true, though this is its original setting.
The work features different coats of arms on each face, the heraldry representing two influential families of the area; one of whom owned several properties in the “street” where it is placed; Calle del Paradiso.
The style is 14th century, though records show a marriage between members of the two families (Foscari* and Mocenigo) in the late 15th century, so yes, it was an afterthought to the construction of the calle, but after five hundred years I think is has the right to be considered a fixture.
*The Foscaris are particularly influential in Venetian history, having provided several Doges, the home of the university and inspired works by Byron and Verdi.
- Royal Opera House : I due Foscari, 14 October – 2 November 2014 (londonvisitors.wordpress.com)