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Arco del Paradiso

In the sestiere or district of Castello, at the entrance to the calle del Paradiso, so called because of the splendid illuminations on festival nights, there is an elegant Gothic arch surmounted by a triangular spire and decorated on the side fronting the canal. The Madonna holds her mantle wide open to protect a devout couple kneeling in prayer. The sculpted arms on each side of this scene are those of the FOSCARI and MOCENIGO families.

On the canal side there is a single FOSCARI coat of arms and a single kneeling figure at the feet of the Virgin.

The arch may commemorate the marriage of Pellegrina, the daughter of Michele FOSCARI and Alvise MOCENIGO in 1491. Alvise MOCENIGO, a person of note, was in fact, thanks to his wife's dowry, the owner of 26 of the houses in the calle.

The sculpture would therefore date from the end of the fifteenth century, though its style is closer to works of the third quarter of the fourteenth century.

Extent of the damage

The work was in a dangerous state. The arch, built of Istorian stone, was crumbling away from the effects of exposure to the open air: corrosion, pitting of the surface, bleaching, flaking, fissures, cracks and thick black deposits, particularly in places not washed clean by rain.


1. Preliminary studiesPrior to appropriate action, an initial survey recorded the general state of conservation of the sculpture and the problems arising from the joining of the arch to the buildings on either side.

2. The remedies Incrustations of carbon were cleaned with saturated solutions of ammonium bicarbonate diluted in distilled water and applied with cellulose compresses.

The whole sculpture was then sprayed with distilled water to remove natural deposits and those left by the cleaning process.

Fragments of stone which were breaking off were consolidated into the structure by the injection of epoxy resin. Earlier joins made with unsuitable materials were replaced with new ones and damaged joins by new ones in stainless steel.

Stainless steel rods were also used to consolidate weak areas.

All pointing work was cleaned and holes filled with a mixture of sand and powdered stone treated with slaked lime in a solution of Primal AC 33.

The final surface was covered with a protective layer of resin.

Lead Organization / Sector / Office: Rallye San Marco

World Heritage Sites (1)
States parties (1)
Geographical focus
Strategic objectives
  • Conservation
Duration: Project launched in 1993 and completed in 1994