The Heads of Venice

Headstone in Campo San Basegio, Venice
The keystone (chiave di volta) of an arch is also known as a headstone and in Venice, more often than not, it actually takes the form of a carved head. 

The head (at least, when it appears above the main entrance to a palazzo) is always male and almost always bearded (and invariably has a pigeon perched on top!). 

Are there any female heads guarding the entrances to Venetian palazzi? 


  1. Now you've posed a challenge! I'll be looking in May, for sure.


    The fourth photo in this post shows a female keystone. Love your photo!

  3. I wish you every success, Yvonne. If anyone cane find one...

    And thanks Annie for your photo of a female keystone. I know it well. It is over the entrance to the old ospedale. There are plenty of female keystones in Venice, but none that I can find over the entrances to a palazzo.

    I think the absence is a sure sign of a patriarchal society...


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