Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • They say that "Home is where your heart is". If so, there can be little doubt about where Francesco Erizzo's home is... or was.

    If you visit the Basilica di San Marco, in Venice, you can (for a small fee) go behind the sanctuary to see the magnificent Pala d'oro (the "Golden Pall").

    What most visitors fail to notice, however, is this curious pavement stone, only a few steps away. Although it seems hard to miss, adorned as it is with a heart, a "corno dogale" (the caracteristic crown worn by Venice's Dogi) and a curious black spot.

    The stone marks the place where, at his own request, the heart of Doge Francesco Erizzo (1566-1646, elected Doge in 1631) was buried. The rest of Francesco Erizzo's body is buried in the church of San Martino di Castello, near his birthplace.

    And what about that black spot? It's a stylized hedgehog and a play on words: in Italian, a hedgehog is a "riccio", and its pronounciation is quite close to "Erizzo". If you pay attention, you may find other hedgehogs scattered around Venice and its more widely-known lions: the Erizzo were quite a powerful family in the Republic's holigarchy.

    The Basilica di San Marco is so lavishly decorated, that you could almost be forgotten for stepping on a Doge's heart without even noticing it... But now you know better!

    Here lies the true "Cuor de Venexia" (Venice's Heart).
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.