The winged Victories and the statues in the garden are not the only sculptures in Villa Emo. Part of this decorative sector is the wooden coat of arms which is located on the northern wall in the central hall and covers the third window that used to illuminate the place. The coat of arms was once placed on the transom of Angelo Emo’s flagship (1731-1792), the last great Capitano da Mar of the Serenissima Republic. The enormous wooden sculpture, about two metres wide and two and half high, probably dates back to 1700 and represents the coat of arms of the Emo family embedded in an oval on which are the four alternate stripes in red and silver. This oval is surrounded by two dolphins, two bare breasted female figures (mermaids or harpies) and two eagles. Everything is linked by swirls and racemes according to the typical style of the eighteenth century. The coat of arms is surmounted by the lion of St. Mark, symbol of the Serenissima Republic, to which the Emos were always loyal. At the sides of the coat of arms are two lion’s arms holding a sword and a battle helmet. All the structures are realized in carved wood, mainly gold-leafed and painted.
The strange collocation in the great hall gives rise to different theories, the most credible being that after the death of the admiral Angelo Emo and the dismantling of the Venetian fleet following the Treaty of Campoformio in 1797, the coat of arms was returned to the family who, in memory of the noble ancestor’s deeds, placed it in the central hall of the Palladian residence, where it still is. Probably, being the great hall the proper and fitting reception place, the family thought it was right to exhibit in there this precious symbol of prestige.
In December 2004 following the sale of the villa by the family Emo Capodilista, the last count symbolically reserved the coat of arms for himself as his only property.
The legacy of Villa Emo is enduring, and despite this historical change in ownership,
it will, with good guidance, move forward from past glories to new horizons.
Because Villa Emo will forever remain Villa Emo.
N.H. Marco Leonardo Emo Capodilista