Arms of Veneto, Italy
Blazon: Azure the sea proper in base surmounted by a rocky mountain also in base, thereon a winged lion passant and nimbed, the dexter forepaw resting on an open book all proper emblazoned with PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEUS sable
The Lion of St. Mark has been a symbol of Venice and the surrounding area going back to at least 1261, possibly earlier. The legend goes that St. Mark was shipwrecked in the Venetian lagoons when an angel in the form of a winged lion appeared and proclaimed “Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus. Hic requiescet corpus tuum.” (Peace to you, Mark, my evangelist. Your body will rest here.) Later authorities claimed the lion was a symbol of majesty, the book stood for wisdom, and the halo for piety, but this sounds very much like the sort of post hoc rationalization that was common in later centuries.