Between St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace, there is one of the two entrances to the Palace itself, a majestic gateway all carved marble and in the center the Lion of St. Mark with, kneeling before him, the Doge Foscari.
The work on the Porta della Carta began in 1439, ending in 1442. Together with his father, Bartolomeo Bon was commissioned to execute some of the decorations of the Palace after it had already been largely constructed.
It is high and narrow because it is set between the Ducal Palace on the right and the Basilica of San Marco on the left, where two slender pilasters flank the entrance with niches that take up the motifs of the balcony on the Pier.
Above the portal rises an arch with a mixtilinear crowning that bears the statue of Justice and encloses the admirable window that is clearly inspired, in its proportions, to that of the nearby Palazzo Ducale, but that is quite different in the large four-eyed fretwork with nervous profiling, where in the lobe is inserted a trilobite.
Among the succession of twisted marbles, putti, and foliage, the four statues of Fortitude, Prudence, Hope, and Charity stand out, all the qualities that a good government must have to lead a state for more than a thousand years, over which, above, Justice attentively watches.
The iconography refers precisely to the theme of justice because this is, in fact, the part of the Palace ad jus reddendum, the entrance of the offenders who had to be judged for their actions.
It is called Porta della Carta (Door of the Paper) because, in its proximity, there was a desk with a scribe to which illiterates who needed to write a letter, a message, or a contract could have access.
The Doge Foscari statue and the lion, which is located under the triple-arched window on the second floor, were destroyed when the French entered Venice in an attempt to erase anything that might still remind them of the splendor and millennial history of the lagoon city. This was later redone as soon as the invaders were gone.