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

Venice: Andrea Palladio’s Tablino at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice

tablino-palladio
Big Names

More than simply the rooms where many masterpieces are exhibited, the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice are a work of art on their ow...

View

Venice: The 'Naval Battle' by Tintoretto at Doge’s Palace

Battaglia_Garda
Historical Curiosities

The ceiling of the Doge's Palace, in addition to being the largest wooden suspended ceiling in the world, is a real trove of painting m...

View

Venice: The origins of the Carnival in Venice

faliero-vitale
Local Traditions

When looking for information on the birth of the Venice Carnival, the first place to head for is St. Mark’s Basilica, the place where...

View

Verona: The Carnival in Verona

carnevale-verona
Local Traditions

When it comes to Carnival, everyone immediately thinks of Venice, but also the other cities of the Veneto region have ancient and charm...

View

Top posts

Venice: The tomb of Doge Andrea Gritti in the church of San Francesco della Vigna

Andrea_Gritti-tomba
Big Names

For the few daring visitors who decide to head to the Castello district, away from the crowds swarming around Piazza San Marco and the ...

View

Venice: Doge Pietro Tradonico and the Island of Poveglia in the Venice lagoon

poveglia-venezia
Historical Curiosities

The Island of Poveglia, in the Venice lagoon, is considered by paranormal experts as one of the world’s most haunted places, normally...

View

Padua: Donatello’s Altar in the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua

altare-donatello
Historical Curiosities

When visiting the city of Padua a not-to-be-missed monument is the magnificent Basilica dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, a Francisc...

View

Venice: The Secret Garden of Ca 'Morosini del Giardin in Cannaregio

ca-morosini-del-giardin
Unknown places & works

Venice is a magical city for many reasons, amongst them are its many hidden gardens that few are aware of! One of the most secret and f...

View