In the historic centre of Venice
, in Piazzetta San Marco
, there are two columns that seem to symbolise the door to the majestic Piazza. The column of San Marco
with its winged lion symbol of the Serenissima and that of San Teodoro
, depicted in the act of killing a dragon, the first protector of Venice and the Venetians.
San Teodoro is called Todaro by the Venetians, just like the Al Todaro ice cream shop
, famous for its delicious homemade ice cream, which is located right next to the column of S. Teodoro in the southern corner of the Biblioteca Marciana, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary.
The two columns are two tall pillars in and pink and grey marble and granite. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance under the columns there were wooden shops, then between the two columns were executions, so it still persists the superstitious use of not crossing the space between the columns.
From this use derives also a Venetian way of saying: "Te fasso veder mi, che ora che xe" (i'll show you what time is it) considering that the convicts gave their backs to the Basin of San Marco and saw as the last thing the Clock Tower.
History of the columns of piazza San Marco
On the history of the columns
there are various versions, but we are sure that they date back to the year 1000 and that they come from the East. Legend tells that three monolithic columns started from the East and were brought to Venice by sea with three ships, one of which, in an attempt to land it on the shore, sank in the lagoon. The other two were lying on the shore and remained there for over a hundred years.
Only thanks to the cleverness of the semi-legendary figure of Nicolò Barattieri, the columns were raised and positioned in the current dignified arrangement in Piazzetta San Marco.
It is said that, thanks to the excellent result, Barattieri was allowed to manage a gambling hall between the two monuments, which until then had been strictly forbidden in Venice.
The research for the third column of piazza San Marco
About the third column of piazza San Marco, in January 2018 the Aurora Project was presented, for the research, through seismic refraction tomography, of the "mythical" third column... will it really be there?