The Lion of San Marco: the symbol of Venice

You can meet many animals in Veneto, real or manmade!

Horses are much in evidence, because they have always been among man’s best allies. Look out for the Horses of St. Mark in Venice (1). Did you know that they come from Constantinople, are some 2000 years old and Napoleon even carried them off to Paris?

Another horse is in Padua. It was made in bronze by the Florentine sculptor Donatello and represents Gattamelata (2), a famous 15th-century condottiere.

The Lion of Saint Mark (3) has always been the symbol of Venice. The king of the jungle is the emblem of Mark, one of the four Evangelists. The remains of the body of St. Mark are kept in the basilica that bears his name.

If you like dogs (4), try searching for these two painted by the artist Veronese on the walls of Villa Barbaro at Maser! 

After visiting Esapolis (5) in Padua, the incredible world of insects will have no more secrets for you. Amid antennae, legs, colorful bodies and stings, you will see with your own eyes silkworms, hardworking bees, mysterious spiders and the utterly weird and fascinating praying mantises.

The Museum of Natural History in Venice (6) has a real treasure: the skeleton of a dinosaur that lived in West Africa over 100 million years ago and is 7 meters high.

Light, colorful and frail: these are the butterflies that you can admire in the Butterfly House (7) at Montegrotto Terme, near the Euganean Hills. These beautiful insects are free to fly about inside environments that recreate the forests of the various continents, from the Amazon to Asia and Africa. Look out for the monarch butterflies, the most famous in the world, the morphos with their spectacular blue wings, and the colorful heliconians.

(from My Mini Veneto & Venice)

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