Mascherone, home protection the old-fashioned way

Mascherone means "large mask," but can also be read as "fearful mask:" both meanings are fairly correct for these fascinating sculptures

Today most self-respecting homeowners install alarms and locks to protect their homes, but step back to the 16th century and the preference was for mascherone, grotesque masks installed to ward off evil. Rome’s Palazzo Zuccari is a prime example of this trend, with outlandish faces staring menacingly from every aspect of the house. The Bridge of Sighs in Venice is another location fiercely protected by distorted faces. In fact, once you  notice the first ugly relief, you’ll...

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