Hidden treasures

The engraving of the pope asleep at St Aponal in Venice

Mysteries & Legends

The engraving of the pope asleep at St Aponal in Venice

In St Aponal Square, in the San Polo district in Venice, there is a small covered walkway – (in Venetian dialect sottoportego) - decorated with a piece of wood with a curious engraving depicting a pope asleep; this image is linked to a legend ...

When Pope Alexander III, in 1177, came to Venice to sign a peace treaty with the German emperor Frederick Barbarossa, fearing a plot from the emperor to eliminate him, he spent the night here instead of going to the nearby Patriarchal Palace.

Perhaps the Pope chose this sottoportego because it was near a house that belonged to the Templars, the famous warrior-monks keepers of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which at that time were the bodyguards of the Pope.

In the inner walls of the sottoportego you can read Templars inscriptions and it is also said that anyone who recites here the Our Father or Hail Mary, will have a full indulgence for all their sins.

If you want to know other fascinating anecdotes about Venice and see firsthand the places described, our brilliant guide Francesca organizes private and costumized tours to suit your needs!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: What’s the traditional Redentore food?

Local Traditions

The number one traditional celebration, celebrated every year the third weekend of July, Redentore gives thanks for the end of the terr...


Venice: The village of Dolo and its inhabitants

Figures of speech

In the province of Venice there is a small village, Dolo, which doesn’t have a great reputation... The dialect expression ‘Ma te vi...


Venice: The crypt of the church of San Simeone Piccolo

Unknown places & works

As soon as you leave the train station in Venice, you will see the imposing dome of the church of San Simeone Piccolo, renovated in the...


Vicenza: The legend of the Dwarves of Villa Valmarana ai Nani

Mysteries & Legends

Villa Valmarana ai Nani in Vicenza, Italy, is one of the best known and most visited villas in the Veneto region thanks to the frescoes...


Top posts

Treviso: The Jewish cemetery in Conegliano

Unknown places & works

Not everyone knows that the city of Conegliano was once home to one of the most important Jewish communities in the Veneto region, both...


Belluno: Tiziano Vecellio’s birthplace in Pieve di Cadore

Big Names

In the heart of the UNESCO-enlisted Dolomites, there is a small, picturesque village: Pieve di Cadore. It is a special place for the hi...


Vicenza: The Bridge of the Alpini in Bassano del Grappa

Historical Curiosities

If you are passionate about bridges, you cannot miss out on a visit to the Bridge of the Alpini in Bassano del Grappa, in the Province ...


Venice: A high relief of Hercules on the façade of Tintoretto’s house

Mysteries & Legends

In the Cannaregio district in Venice stands the house of the famous painter Jacopo Robusti, known as 'Tintoretto' (1519-1594). On the f...