A Hidden Jewel in Venice: the Agnusdio House

Walking around some less touristic places of the city... When our guests ask for a guided tour in Venice off the beaten path, we like to take them for a walk in the Santa Croce District. One of the architectural beauties we like to show them is the Agnusdio House.

The Agnusdio House (guided tours of the hidden Venice) 

The House

Up to the present day we ignore the real reason why the house was named Agnusdio. Some historians think this might be the last name of the family that used to live there, after having moved to Venice from the mainland; some others instead argue that the name comes from the bas-relief on its façade, which represents the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei in Latin).
It was built in the 1300’s, but it was modified several times over the centuries. However, it still preserves some characteristics of a mixed style, Venetian-Byzantine-Gothic, quite typical in that period.

The Four Evangelists and the Annunciation

The impressive five-mullioned window on the second floor is decorated with bas-reliefs representing the four evangelists, and for this reason this house is also known as the House of the Four Evangelists.

The Four Evangelists and the Annunciation

These reliefs have been recently restored, so we can now admire their exquisite elegance. Looking at them from the left, we first find St. John’s eagle, St. Mark’s winged lion, St. Matthew’s winged man and St. Luke’s winged calf.

The Symbols of St. John and of St. Mark

The symbols of St. Matthew and of St. Luke

The sublime feathers of the four symbols are placed parallel with the outlines of the ogee gothic arches. The overall result is of lightness and gentleness.
At the sides of the reliefs with the evangelists we can also admire the Annunciation, with the Virgin Mary on the left and the Archangel Gabriel on the right. This is quite a relevant detail that not everybody notices at a first glance.

The Archangel Gabriel

The Lamb of God

The notched decoration on the arches of the mullioned window is repeated on the water entrance of the house, along the canal called Rio di Ca’ Pesaro. On top of this door we can admire the bas-relief representing the Lamb of God.

The water entrance

Pay attention to the elegance of the details of this little masterpiece by an unknown sculptor: the lamb’s wool is curly, soft and fluffy, it feels like you want to reach out and touch it.

Bas-relief of the Agnus Dei 

The Angels

Another not less important relief is the one above the land entrance: two angels hold a coat of arms and the third figure represents God’s blessing Angel.

The land entrance

The two angels holding a coat of arms

These images stand out against a gentle decoration with flowers, grapes, animals of Byzantine style.

Byzantine style decorations

Curiously enough, outside the ogee arch, on the right and on the left, we can notice the traces of two winged lions, scratched away after Venice was invaded by the French.

Traces of two winged lions

This building is a real hidden architectural jewel, it witnesses the Venetian-Byzantine-Gothic style that at some point became so popular in Venice, in particular thanks to the fact that our city was so cosmopolitan and open to international cultural influences.
We just can’t wait to show you this and other masterpieces during our walking tours of an Unusual Venice.
And if you cannot come to Venice in a short time, ask us about our interactive live virtual tours! Ciao!

You might be also interested in the following itineraries and posts: 

The Santa Croce district. (section: Guided and unusual tours of Venice)

Photographic tours in Venice. (section: Specific tours of Venice)

A tailored guided tour in Venice: the lions' mouths. (section: Blog)

Curious sculptures in Venice. (section: Blog)

Venice and its hidden treasures: Antonio da Negroponte's altarpiece. (section: Blog)

Our guided and private tours of Venice. (section: Blog)