06 April 2008

The lions that laugh

How did Jan Morris miss the eight cheerful leoni holding in their smiling jaws the oak and laurel garland all around the perimeter of a pillar dedicated to XXII MARZO MDCCCLXVIII in Campo San Salvador? (Do not ask me why that pillar isn’t in Calle XXII Marzo – I cannot guess!) They should have the title of “the jolliest Venetian lions." Each one is unique with his own special, semi-toothless grin. Truly, they seem ready to drop that garland and burst into laughter any minute.

Most of Venice’s lions were meant to look either very fierce or very dignified. Why do you suppose these were so obviously designed to evoke a smile? I only know they give me a giggle every time I see them on my way to and from Rialto.