In search of St Mark’s Winged Lion

Venice is one of those cities that, once it has entered your heart,  never leaves it. A truly magical place full of history, power and intrigue and one that offers far more than meets the eye to those prepared to wander off the well-beaten tourist track.

The poet Robert Browning, once quoted as saying “Open my heart and you will see engraved inside of it, Italy”, grew to love the city in his later years and died in the vast Palazzo Ca’ Rezzonico in 1889. A plaque on the wall outside pays homage to his time there:

A plaque on the wall of the  Ca' Rezzonico dedicated to Robert Browning

A plaque on the wall of the Ca’ Rezzonico dedicated to Robert Browning

Yet perhaps the greatest and most enduring symbol of Venice is that of its winged lion and St. Mark.

The winged lion is often portrayed with an open book, bearing the Latin script ‘Pax Tibi Marce Evangelista Meus’, meaning ‘Peace to You, Mark my Evangelist’, which tradition dictates were the words spoken by an angel to Mark after he became lost after being shipwrecked in the lagoon before resting in Venice.

The image of the lion became a symbol to represent strength and power and can still be seen on the flag of Venice today. Naturally then, it is depicted in various guises all over the city.

In my most recent visit, almost subconsciously, it became something of a mission to see how many incarnations I could capture on camera. I’m sure there are still many more awaiting discovery!

The lion of Venice on the Eastern column in Piazza San Marco

The lion of Venice on the Eastern column in Piazza San Marco

A winged lion on a statue dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II

A winged lion on a statue dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II

Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi erected in 1885 in the Giardini

Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi erected in 1885 in the Giardini

Plaque commemorating Giovanni Caboto, who is thought to have discovered North America

Plaque commemorating Giovanni Caboto, who is thought to have discovered North America

Naval History Museum

Naval History Museum

Campanile, Piazza San Marco

Campanile, Piazza San Marco

Palazzo Ducale, Venezia

St Mark’s Basilica, Venezia

St Mark's Basilica, Piazza San Marco

St Mark’s Basilica, Piazza San Marco

St Mark's Basilica

St Mark’s Basilica

Torre dell' Orologio, Piazza San Marco

Torre dell’ Orologio, Piazza San Marco

Palazzo Ducale column

Palazzo Ducale column

Palazzo Ducale

Palazzo Ducale

Inside the Palazzo Ducale

Inside the Palazzo Ducale

Inside the Palazzo Ducale

Inside the Palazzo Ducale

Inside the Palazzo Ducale

Inside the Palazzo Ducale

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Casa Ai Due Leoni, Cannaregio

Casa Ai Due Leoni, Cannaregio

Teatro Italia

Teatro Italia

Arsenale

Arsenale

Arsenale

Arsenale

In memory of Piero Foscari

In memory of Piero Foscari

This winged lion ,looks towards the home of Daniele Manin's home. Campo Manin, Venezia

This winged lion looks towards the home of Daniele Manin’s home. Campo Manin, Venezia

Raising Funds ‘For Luca’: Great Manchester Run 2013

Incredibly, it’s that time of year again already.

This time last year, I was frantically trying to fit in enough training to complete the 2012 Bupa Great Manchester Run, having left it too late to build up a sensible, gradual fitness programme. As a result, I ended up with a serious knee injury which severely hampered my ability to even walk, let alone run!

Undeterred, I strapped my knee and managed to complete the course in 1:31:02, raising £275 for Mind, the mental health charity, in the process; a cause close to my heart following the shocking suicide of then Wales manager Gary Speed.

Despite the pain from my injury, the atmosphere and the support from the watching public on the day were enough to convince me to sign up again for the 2013 run as soon as the registration opened.

My chosen charity this year was even closer to home.

Luca, the beautiful four-year-old son of a school friend of mine was tragically struck down with Meningococcal Septicaemia in early January 2012 and his life changed forever.

This horrendous disease ravaged every part of his body in hours and left him fighting for his life. With less than a 3% chance of survival, Luca pulled through, however, he was not unscathed.

Luca lost both of his legs and all of his tissue, some muscle and skin below his hips. He has massive skin and tissue and muscle loss across his arms and shoulders and is now fighting to save his knees which have been severely damaged.

Funds raised will be used to help cover the huge costs of prosthetics giving Luca every chance to excel in every aspect of his future.

Despite everything that has happened to him in his short life, Luca keeps smiling. His zest for life knows no bounds and he continues to inspire all who know him every day.

You can discover more information about Luca’s story on Facebook and Twitter.

www.facebook.com/forluca1

www.twitter.com/for_luca

If, having read this page, you would like to contribute, please add your donation to my JustGiving page which can be found here:

http://www.justgiving.com/Joanne-Lewis5-For-Luca

Thank you.

Brunetti’s Venice: Walks Through the Novels- Toni Sepeda

Undoubtedly one of the best features of Donna Leon’s Inspector Brunnetti novels is the authenticity of the Venice portrayed through the eyes of the Commissario.

In this book, we are treated to a series of walking tours which follow in the footsteps of the much-loved Guido Brunetti.

Each tour covers an area (or sestiere) of Venice and, alongside quotes from novels, takes the reader on a journey of discovery which uncovers the true heart of Venice.

The beauty of this book is the way in which it takes you to places in this beautiful city which you might otherwise never stumble across. Although the links to the novels dominate, there is nevertheless a concerted effort to draw the reader’s attention to little quirks and historical facts, along with the odd recommendation for a decent bakery or restaurant.

Forget your usual destination guide. For an insight into the real Venice, this is the only travel companion you will need.

Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Footsteps- Kathleen Ann Gonzalez

As a huge lover of Venice, I’m always looking for places off the well-beaten tourist trail, as these give much more of an insight into the real Venice and the lives of its inhabitants. This book doubles as both a history lesson and a guide book, as a series of walking tours reveal not only hidden corners of this incredible city, but also take the reader back in time to the days of Casanova, offering a fascinating insight into his life, loves and escapades!

You Had Me At Hello – Mhairi McFarlane


For a debut novel, and one that was snapped up for just 99p on my Kindle, this is a gem!

The chapters flit between the past and the present, weaving the story of the two main characters Rachel and Ben and drawing the reader into a compelling tale of love and the twists of fate in life.

Don’t be fooled though, this is no run-of-the-mill ‘chick-lit’. Poignant in places, exasperating in others, and with a constant humour throughout that never fails to make you smile, this was impossible to put down.