Hidden treasures

The mask to scare the devil in the bell towers of Venice

Mysteries & Legends
Maschera_big

The mask to scare the devil in the bell towers of Venice

Many of the beautiful churches of Venice have at their side a bell tower, formerly an indispensable tool for the conduct of everyday life for all the inhabitants of the parish. The tolling of the bell in fact marked the beginning and the end of the working day and the various religious functions.

Almost always, the door leading to the top of the tower has a decorative relief, such as an angel, but more often it has grotesque masks, monstrous faces that make strange grimaces.

According to popular belief the mask was intended to ward off the devil who wanted to come and ring the bells, thus causing confusion among the people governed by their tolling.

The ‘most beautiful' mask in Venice is probably one at the church of Santa Maria Formosa Castello. The tower which is 40 m high was rebuilt in 1678, designed by the priest Federico Zucconi in a Baroque style and has a square floor plan and the walls decorated with geometric motifs in relief. The two visible sides of the base are adorned with a marble ashlar-truncated pyramid. On the side facing the canal the front door bears on the keystone to the expressive mask.

If the devil really wanted to climb the tower a mask would certainly not have stopped him!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Treviso: Roncade Castle

castello-roncade
Unknown places & works

For most visitors, including lovers of art, Veneto is the region of the Villas, fairy-tale holiday destinations and farmhouses, which h...

View

Venice: The head of an elderly woman at Corte del Teatro in San Luca

corte-teatro-san-luca
Unknown places & works

Behind the famous Teatro Goldoni in Venice, near the Grand Canal, there is a tiny Corte which is very hard to find... And hides several...

View

Vicenza: The bell tower of Thiene

Thiene_campanile
Unknown places & works

Among the numerous bell towers dotted around in Veneto, there is one that boasts a unique feature: it is the civic tower of Thiene - an...

View

Venice: The island of Saint Francis of the Desert in the Venice lagoon

San-Francesco-del-Deserto
Unknown places & works

If you are looking for a place to meditate, away from clamour, St. Francis of the Desert is an island that is right up your street! The...

View

Top posts

Verona: The jousts in the Verona Arena

arena-di-verona
Historical Curiosities

The Verona Arena is undoubtedly the symbol of the city in the Veneto region, and one of the most famous Roman monuments of Italy. All t...

View

Padua: The Museum of the History of Medicine in Padua

Museo-di-storia-della-Medicina
Unknown places & works

If you are tired of the usual museums filled with paintings and sculptures, you might find the Museum of the History of Medicine in Pad...

View

Treviso: The 'Barco' of Caterina Corner, Queen of Cyprus, in Altivole

barco-altivole
Big Names

One of the most charming figures of the history of Venice is certainly Catherine Corner, queen of Cyprus (1454-1510). At the age of 18,...

View

Venice: The Sirens and the lace from Burano in the Venice lagoon

merlettaie
Mysteries & Legends

The island of Burano island in the Venice lagoon is definitely a magical place: filled with small colourful houses, delicious cookies, ...

View