Venetian Winged Lions in Udine
It is no coincidence that Udine’s Piazza della Libertà bears a striking resemblance to Piazza San Marco in Venice
. Along with most of Friuli and parts of Venezia Giulia, Udine was conquered by the Venetians in 1420 and remained under their rule for over 300 years. In the center of the square, the winged lion of Saint Mark—symbol of Venice—perches atop one of two columns, similar to those that defend the seaward rim of Piazza San Marco. On one side, the Loggia del Lionello appears at first glance to be a small-scale version of Venice’s Palazzo Ducale, with its pink and white stripes and trilobed, arched windows. Lining the elevated portion of the piazza is the Porticato di San Giovanni, a long stretch of arcades in the center of which nestles Udine’s most recognizable monument, the Torre dell’Orologio (clock tower). Inspired by the zodiac signs on Venice’s famous clock, a golden sun radiates from a brilliant blue clock face. Two bronze moors strike the hour above the clock, while the winged lion makes another appearance below. Yet a third winged lion stands guard over Palladio’s Arco Bollani and the cobblestone path that leads to the hilltop castello.