The entrance to the Grand Canal is marked, on the south side, by the Punta della Dogana, the location of the Dogana da Mar, the customs house, which was built between 1677 and 1682 by Giuseppe Benoni.
Venice was once one of Europe's busiest ports and ships from all over the world docked here while awaiting clearance from customs to unload. The top of the Dogana da Mar was once surmounted by a watch tower to guard against foreign invasion. This was later replaced by a golden globe (palla d'oro), held aloft by two bronze Atlantids.
Perched on the globe is the goddess Fortuna. With a steering oar in one hand and a sail in the other, she acts as both a weather-vane and as a symbol of the unpredictability of fate and fortune. The sculptures are by Bernardo Falconi (1630-c.1697).
Blogging about Venice:
its art, history & culture.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England.
Since 200I I have been living in Italy, where I run private tours of Florence, Rome &