Coats of Arms

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Coats of Arms
Total Number 1,061
Total Number Missing 12

Coats of Arms, also known as stemmi (stemma, singular) in Italian, were formerly used to indicate ownership of a building. They are also a sub-set of material culture. The wealthier families in the city would often recreate their family crest out of stone, marble, or some other substance, and hang it outside of their palaces. Most coats of arms are symbolic of the family name in some way. In the event that a new owner moved into the building, the coat of arms would often be removed or carved off.

A blank stemma, the previous family's symbols having been removed when new owners took possession of the property
A Dolfin family "talking" stemma, featuring three dolphins.



Talking Coats of Arms

One particular category of stemmi is special because of the way it communicates information about its owner: known as "talking" coats of arms, these stemmi use symbols with a pictorial or phonetic reference to the name of the family being represented. Some of the more obvious examples include the Dolfin family (a dolphin), the Da Ponte family (a bridge), and the Dalle Rose family (roses). The Barbarigo family used a beard on their stemmi, because "barba" is Italian for beard. Even more creatively, the Erizzo family used the letter “E” and a porcupine as their family symbol, as "riccio" is an Italian word for porcupine, or "rizzo" in the Venetian dialect.



Damage and Preservation

For general information pertaining to the sources of damage to Venetian coats of arms, please see the Damage to public art page.

For general information pertaining to the restoration and preservation of Venetian coats of arms, please see the Restoration and preservation of public art page.

Specific information regarding the damage and restoration needs of each coat of arms can be found on the pages dedicated to each individual coat of arms, as listed in the map below and in the navigation box under the "See Also" section of this page.


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See Also




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