Domenico Rossi, Giovanni Battista Fattoretto, Fra Giuseppe Pozzo
church of Santa Maria Assunta had stood here since 1155, being built,
along with an attached monastery and hospital, by the order of the
Crucifers (Crociferi). Having been rebuilt after fires in 1214 and
1514 it was acquired by the Jesuits in 1657, following the suppression of
the Crucifers in 1656 for moral turpitude.
The Manin family
(who have tombs here) later provided money for the church's reconstruction
and this work began in 1715. The gap between the Jesuit’s acquisition and
rebuilding was down to the order being temporarily expelled from Venice
due to the Republic's argument with the Pope over the right to try
clergymen convicted of crimes. The Jesuits were never popular in
which might explain this church's remote location, as well as the degree
to which the church tries to overawe and impress. The work was entrusted
to architect Domenico Rossi, who was the Manin family’s favourite
architect and Giuseppe Sardi's nephew.
When the Jesuits were suppressed in 1773 the monastery became a school and
then, in 1808, a barracks. The Jesuits returned in 1844 and still occupy
the convent buildings to the north. Those to the south are currently being
converted to student housing.
The façade is as overpopulated as you'd expect from a Baroque church
in Venice. It is said to be the work of Giovanni Battista Fattoretto,
probably to an original design by Rossi. On the first level there are
statues of the apostles who witnessed the Assumption of the Virgin, by
various sculptors. The Virgin passing into Heaven, with angels with robes
billowing in the wind, on the level below, above the pediment, are by
Giuseppe Torretti. The Manin coat of arms is over the doorway. Ludovico
Manin being famously the last doge of all - the one who handed Venice over
aisleless nave with the deep chapels either side connected by doors. The walls seem to be
covered in what looks like Victorian table-cloths, or the wallpaper in
traditional Indian restaurants. But it's all intarsia (marble inlay) made to look
like fabric - swags and all. (This carved cloth is said by some to
represent the shroud in which Mary was wrapped before her assumption.)
Almost every surface is decorated. On the ceiling gold and white stucco
work by Abbondio Stazio surrounds frescoes by Francesco Fontabasso and
Louis Dorigny (two each). Then there's the altar, inspired by Bernini, by
Fra Giuseppe Pozzo, with its baldacchino with barley-twist columns and
concealed lighting. There's also the Da Lezze family funerary monument by
Tintoretto's early and movement-filled Assumption of the Virgin is on the
altar dedicated by the Zen family, in the left transept. But better is Titian’s late, great and spooky The
Martyrdom of St. Lawrence (see below right) which had been in the
previous church on the site, having been commissioned by Elisabetta, the widow
of Lorenzo Massolo.
2013 - this painting, following cleaning and restoration and exhibition at
the big Titian exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome is still
not back in the Gesuiti, or if it is it's
the scaffolding that's currently filling the chapel where it's usually
sacristy contains 21 superior works by Palma Giovane, (see example,
right) on the walls and across the decorated ceiling, in celebration
of the Eucharist.
St Lanfranc Enthroned between
St John the Baptist and
by Cima da Conegliano, now in the
in Cambridge, was probably commissioned by the Guild of Furriers for their
altar here to the right of the entrance. Amongst their relics the
Crociferi owned St Lanfranc's head, which was probably kept on or in the
altar. St Liberius was a saint who took the habit of the Crociferi.
church in art
Il Campo e la Chiesa dei Gesuiti
40m (130 ft) manual bells
Dating from 1150, and the original church, but topped by an 18th
Century belfry. The lagoon-facing belfry
windows were bricked up by Rossi in 1715.
W. D. Howells (in Venetian Life)
workmanship is marvellously skilful, and the material costly, but it only
gives the church….a poverty, a coldness, a harshness indescribably table-clothy.
In this dreary sanctuary is one of Titian's great paintings, The
Martyrdom of St Lawrence, to which….you turn involuntarily, envious of
the Saint toasting so comfortably on his gridiron amid all that frigidity.
...speaking of the buildings of the Grotesque Renaissance, that many of
them are remarkable for a kind of dishonesty, even in the use of true
marbles, resulting not from motives of economy, but from mere love of
juggling and falsehood for their own sake. I hardly know which condition
of mind is meanest, that which has pride in plaster made to look like
marble, or that which takes delight in marble made to look like silk.
Several of the later churches in Venice, more especially those of the
Gesuiti of San Clemente, and of
the Scalzi, rest their chief claims to admiration on their having curtains
and cushions cut out of rock. The most ridiculous example is the Gesuiti...
Opposite the church, it has a cycle of paintings by Palma il Giovanni telling
the history of the Crociferi. Opening times: April to October Friday
10.00-12.30, Saturday 3.30-7.30.
Monday to Friday: 10.00-12.00 and 4.00-6.00
Update September 2013 There is considerable
scaffolding inside the church supporting work in the dome. Also in the
first chapel on the left, as mentioned above.
Vaporetto Fondamente Nuove
A 19th Century engraving.
A church and monastery were founded here around 1350 by the Umiliati
(Humiliated) order and initially dedicated to Saint Christopher, the
patron saint of the gondoliers. Tiberio da Parma, the leader of the Order,
and said to have been responsible for the original design of the church,
is buried here. During the building of this church an unfinished statue of
the Madonna, made by Giovanni de Santis (but also said to have fallen from
heaven) and kept in an orchard (orto) nearby following its
rejection by the Prior of Santa Maria Formosa, for which church it had
been carved, started getting a reputation for glowing and working
miracles. The church bought the statue, with the intention of thereby
increasing offerings towards the cost of the building work, and on 18th
June 1377 it was placed on the high altar. Since then the church has been
known as Madonna dell'Orto.
After a serious subsidence in the foundations at the North end of the
church the order were given 200 ducats to rebuild. Reconstruction work
from 1399 resulted in the complete redecoration of the interior and the
construction of the new façade. A new and larger monastery was built at
this time too. The Umiliati were expelled 1461 by the Council of Ten
because of their licentious habits. The Canons of San Giorgio in Alga
(also known as the Turchini because of their blue robes) replaced
them, and the restoration work was finished in 1473. In 1669 Cistercians
from San Tommaso on Torcello moved here, the Canons of San Giorgio having
been suppressed by Pope Clement IX. In 1787, with only three monks living
here, the Republic acquired the church and it was administered by the
priest of San Marziale as an oratory.
The church was allowed to crumble (being pressed into use as a stables, a
hay and wine store and a powder magazine) until 1841 when some poor
restoration (which included ripping up memorial stones, destroying the
already damaged ceiling paintings, plastering over the façade and
destroying the organ) was carried out under Austrian rule. It closed in 1855 but, after
spending some time being used as stables, it was reconsecrated and reopened in
1868 as a parish church. In 1931 the complex was given to the monks of San Giuseppini del Murialdo, who still administer it. More restoration work
was carried out in 1912 and 1930-1931, but the great acqua alta of 1966
damaged the church further. Following this flood the church and its
paintings were thoroughly restored by Venice in Peril between 1970 and
The gothic brick façade is one of Venice's most purely pleasing. The
sloping galleries of apostles, carved by the Delle Masegne brothers, are
unique in Venice. (The herring-bone patterned pavement is pretty rare
too). The façade went up in the early 15th Century, with the side windows
added a little later, and then the door case. This doorway, by Bartolomeo
Bon, features a gothic ogee arch with a renaissance rounded arch
underneath. This stylistic mixture might be explained by the fact that the
doorway was begun in the 1460s, but not installed until 1483, twenty years
after Bon's death. So it's possible the rounded arch was added to spice up
the, by then, unfashionably gothic doorway. The ogee arch is surmounted by
a statue of Saint Christopher, with the Virgin and The Angel of the
Annunciation on either side. These statues were taken from the 14th
Century church, the Saint Christopher by Bon, and the Virgin and the Angel
by Antonio Rizzo.
Rows of columns of striped Turkish marble separate the nave from the
aisles, with three chapels each side. Timber tie beams and a flat
was the parish
of Jacopo Tintoretto and his family - they lived on the nearby
Fondamenta dei Mori. His ashes are interred here, along with those of his
wife and eight more family members. You'll find his memorial stone in the
chapel to the right of the chancel, which was previously the chapel of the
Bonetti family. There are something like 11 paintings by him here. A
monumental pair, The Adoration of the Golden Calf and The Last Judgment, both
dated 1546, flank the altar, fitting exactly into their spaces, and were much admired by Ruskin. (It is said
that amongst the bearers of the Golden Calf you'll find portraits of Giorgione, Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto himself.)
The Five Virtues in the vault are by Tintoretto too, except the
middle one, Faith, which is visibly by a different 17th Century
artist, Pietro Ricchi.
of the Virgin (see below left), over the door to the Capella di
San Mauro, is from a few years later and is more
(Note the real gold leaf decoration on the steps.) It was painted to outdo Titian's huge
painting of the same subject (in the Accademia) and even emulates the
older artist's characteristic colour scheme. The very-evident obelisk is
also a steal from the Titian, but is also a not-unusual inclusion in
paintings of this subject of this period, representing the sun and
symbolising the triumph over death. This painting was once the outer doors
of the organ, with the two paintings currently either side of the high
altarpiece The Beheading of St Paul and The Vision of the Cross
to St Paul on the inside of the doors.
The left-hand side of the church is dominated by works by Tintoretto's son
Domenico which don't exactly shine and, in fact, a Palma Giovane in the
Morosoni Chapel Crucifixion is the highlight of this side.
In the first chapel on the right
Cima de Conegliano’s fine John the Baptist with Saints Peter, Mark,
Jerome and Paul (rare for
being in its original frame and over its original altar) glows after its
1999 restoration, and is one of his best. Titian's Tobias and the Angel was recently moved
here from the nearby church of San Marziale, presumably because it's a
less visited church, but
it looks a very unconvincing Titian to me.
Also a couple
of impressive works by Matteo Ponzone, a new name on me. His Saints
George, Jerome and Tryphon came here, from the church of the Knights
of Malta, to replace Bellini's painting of Lorenzo Giustiniani,
mentioned below in Lost art, on the Renier altar. Even the Palma
Giovane Annunciation is one of his more original compositions. (A
church full of Tintoretto and Palma gets the high altar position!)
The miracle-working statue of the Madonna, much
restored with plaster, is in the Capella di San Mauro, along with
twenty-eight portraits of Venetian saints and beatified persons,
painted by various artists in the 17th Century.
In the first chapel on the left is a colour photograph of Giovanni Bellini's
small panel painting of the Madonna and Child (1480) (see
painting was stolen (for the third time, it's said) from the church on
March 1993, having been restored in 1962 following its previous theft. A
guidebook written just before the most recent theft comments that the
Child's hair was 'specially pretty'. The painting had been commissioned
(or possibly 'bought from stock') by Luca Navagero, the Venetian
vice-regent for Friuli, for his tomb elsewhere in the church.
Pordenone's The Blessed Lorenzo Giustiniani with two canons and Saints
was painted for the altar of the Renier family, where it remained
until Napoleon took it in 1797. It's now in the Accademia, to which it was
returned in 1815. Also in the Accademia is the earlier (but still
posthumous) The Blessed Lorenzo
Giustiniani of 1465 by Gentile Bellini, which was used to replace the
Pordenone just mentioned when it was taken by Napoleon. Lorenzo
Giustiniani was one of the group of brothers who formed the
congregation of the canons of San Giorgio in Alga who took over the
Madonna dell'Orto in 1462. He was also, in 1451, made the first patriarch
of Venice and later got as close to sainthood as any Venetian from this
period, attaining the status of beato in 1690.
A rather good Sacra Conversazione by Bonifacio de'Pitati in the
Palazzo Pitti in Florence 'probably' came from here.
The church in fiction
Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti in The Girl of his dreams looks
up at the church: 'The brick dome of the bell tower had always looked
like a panettone to him, and so it did now.' The same novel also
reveals that Brunetti was on his holidays when the Bellini was stolen, and
that by the time he returned to work the art-crime squad from Rome had given up
and gone home.
Campanile 56m (182ft) electromechanical bells
Erected 1332, rebuilt with addition of belfry in 1503, with a statue of the redeemer on top of the
oriental-looking onion dome and apostles perched on the edges, all by the
Lombardi workshop. Restored in 1819 following a storm. The bells were
replaced in 1883.
Ashley Clarke and Philip Rylands eds.
The Church of Madonna dell'Orto Paul Elek 1977
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Venice in Peril restoration work, with lots of black and white before and after photos of
blackened statues and crumbling cloisters and paintings in the process.
Monday to Saturday: 10.00 to 5.00
Entrance fee: €2.50
(This church left the Chorus scheme in 2013.)
Vaporetto Madonna dell’Orto
Pietro Lombardo and sons 1481-90
A shrine was
built here in 1408 to house a miracle-working icon of the Virgin.
Eventually the funds that this icon generated allowed the building of a
small church squeezed into the same campo. Work began in 1481 and
continued into the early 1490s. It was also funded by Angelo Amadi, the nephew of Francesco Amadi who had had the icon painted. The
uncle had also been married to noted beauty Elena Badoer.
The church was designed by Pietro Lombardo and embellished with carvings
by him, his sons, and their workshop.
A year into the building work it was decided to remove the church from
parish control and hand it over to an order of nuns. The Amadi family
house nearby was given to Franciscan nuns of the Order of Poor Clares and twelve nuns came from the
convent of Santa Chiara on Murano. The church has remained virtually untouched, only cleaned.
The arms of the Amadi family are to be seen over the door.
After admiring the handsome marble-clad exterior - unusually you can
admire all four sides - you'll almost be prepared for the interior.
Almost. Much rhapsodising and plenty of purple prose have been devoted to
this interior, using phrases like 'renaissance jewel box', but you'll
forgive it when you get inside and sit and wonder. The space consists of a
single nave with a wooden barrel vault and a chancel up a steep flight of
steps with a sacristy below. No columns to complicate the space and add rhythm and no great
paintings. It's not the details that appeal, it's simply the
perfectly-proportioned whole, as you are enclosed by the polychrome marble
patterns and porphyry and admire the fine carving skills of the Lombardi.
It's very reminiscent of San Miniato in Florence, but so much smaller. The
railings of the the staircase up to the chancel have small statues of the
Virgin and the Angel of the Annunciation, the Archangel Gabriel, and
Saints Francis and Clare, all by Tulio Lombardo.
miracle-working painting of The Virgin and Child by Niccolo di
Pietro is above the altar. On either side of the altar are bronze statues
of Saint Peter and Saint Anthony Abbot. They are by Vittoria, who was a
pupil of the Lombardi, and are the only later additions to their work.
Until the nineteenth century a nuns' passageway linked the church's
gallery to the nearby convent which was also the work of the Lombardi, but
which was almost totally destroyed in 1810.
A Giovanni Bellini triptych depicting St Jerome with Sts Francis
and Clare, which once adorned the left hand side of the nave here, is
now lost. A two-panel Annunciation by Bellini’s studio
(but once thought to be by Carpaccio)
which once formed the outer doors of the organ here is now in the
Accademia. The marble walls in the painting echo the walls of the church.
The church in art
The Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and the apse of Santa Maria
Nuova by Bernardo Bellotto (see below right).
Orson Welles’ 1951 film version of Othello sets the wedding of Desdemona
and Othello in this church (see right). The flower shop in the film Bread and Tulips in the campo behind the Miracoli
is an invention. Donald Sutherland walks past the church in Don't
Look Now, and you can see how grubby it was before its 1997
restoration (see below).
Monday to Saturday: 10.00 to 5.00
A Chorus Church
What is going on in the foreground here?!
And this one has a bonfire and a pair of copulating dogs, of course.
1620 - 23
The church and its adjacent monastery were built on reclaimed land in 1620 by a
Franciscan order called the Reformati, originally from San
Francesco del Deserto on the lagoon. The church was
consecrated in 1623. The complex was suppressed in 1810 and the monastery demolished.
The Countess Paolina Giustinian-Recanati bought the site in
1859 and established a convent for barefoot Carmelites, with the church serving as the convent's chapel.
It became a children's hospital in the early 20th Century.
Works by Bassano and Tintoretto were to be found in the church before
suppression. Giambattista Tiepolo's Santa Margherita di Cortona
once here, is now in San Michele in Isola.
A detail from the Ughi map of 1729 showing
the church under
its previous name.
Antonio Gaspari 1706
Tradition has it that the first church on this site was built in 864 by
refugees from Aquileia, but the earliest printed reference is dated 1040. The
church is dedicated to Saints Canziano, Canzio, and Canzionello - all
three were martyred in Aquileia in 304 - but Venetian dialect has blended
them into one. Restored in the early 1300s and reconsecrated in 1351, with much rebuilding since. The current church dates from a rebuilding in
the mid-16th Century. The façade was built in 1706 by
Antonio Gaspari, and paid for by Michele Tommasi whose bust is over the main
The church is usually entered by either of the two
smaller doors opposite each other in the side walls of the bottom of the
nave, which thereby form a sort of 'entrance corridor' effect at the very
back of the church. These doors also let in a fair amount of the noise of
the campo and the market stalls, adding to this church's feel of being
open and used. The pale-pink walls balance out some somewhat
dark and dingy paintings and the heavily-carved side chapels to make for a quietly quite pleasing
interior. The Widmann family chapel to the right of the chancel may be by
There are altarpieces by Bartolomeo Letterini,
Domenico Zanchi and Nicolò Renieri, amongst other equally lesser-known 18th
There is also a chapel containing the sarcophagus, and a statue, of St
24m (78ft) manual bells
Restored in the 16th Century, including replacement of the belfry.
The church in art
John Singer Sargent Leaving Church, Campo San Canciano,
Venice 1882 (see below).
Founded, it is said, in 960 by the Gallina family and dedicated to St
Felix of Nola. After
restoration it was consecrated in 1267. Danger of collapse led to the
building of the present
church in 1531 to a design reminiscent of Codussi's San Giovanni Grisostomo
below. Reconsecrated in 1624. Closed by Napoleon and reopened as a parish
church in 1810. Amongst the relics here are bones of St Felix and a clod
of earth stained with Christ's blood.
A radical reworking of the interior in 1810 resulted in the replacement of
the 16th Century altars with inferior modern examples, my
guide book says, somewhat sniffily, but this church is actually an
unexpected calm Istrian-stone gem on the inside, if you can get in,
reminiscent of Brunelleschi.
Also a plaque over the sacristy door commemorating Pope
Clement XIII, who was baptised here in 29th March 1693 as plain Carlo
There's an early Tintoretto: St Demetrius and a Donor of the Ghisi
Family. Also five figures carved by Giulio del Moro (late 16th
A Giovanni Bellini altarpiece which was commissioned by the Cinturari (guild of
belt-makers) for this church is now lost.
22m (72ft) manual bells
Not easily seen.
9.00 -12.00 (Not Monday) & 4.00 -7.00
Vaporetto Ca d'Oro
Carlo Corbellini 1753-1760
The church was founded in the 11th Century by Mauro Tosello and his son
Bartolomeo, who used it to house the arm of St Bartholomew that they had
brought from Apulia in 1043. Rebuilt 1174 by Doge Sebastiano Ziani and reconsecrated in 1292.
Fra Bartolomeo Fonzio Veneziano preached here, before being accused of
heresy and drowned at the Lido with a stone around his neck on 4th August
present church dates from the rebuilding by the Brescian priest/architect Carlo
Corbellini from 1753, following the damage sustained during the Austrian
bombardment of 1749. The first mass was celebrated on 27th April 1760,
while this work continued.
Two marble façades of similar design, completed in 1871 to replace those
damaged by fire following an Austrian bombardment in 1849. They were paid
for by Baron Pasquale Revoltella. One
faces onto the campo (see right) where the famous bull -hunt was held (possibly
due the proximity of the Spanish embassy, hence Lista di Spagna)
and is somewhat crowded on the left by the Palazzo Labia. The other one,
damaged by a mad arsonist who set fire to wooden scaffolding in
1998 and still being restored, faces the Cannaregio Canal (below right, with detail of damage).
church is entered from the campo of the same name, and you actually
thereby enter from the right-hand side. A Greek cross with a dome at the
crossing and semi-domes at the end of each arm
the interior can best be described as dirty white with buff-coloured
detailing. And it has far too many signs: word-processed and hand-written
signs telling you what's forbidden, or how much you must pay for things,
cover every flat surface, and some of the curved ones. It's oppressive. A
chapel off to the left, built in 1863, contains the 'partially incorrupt'
body of Saint Lucy, stolen from Constantinople by crusaders in 1204. In
1810 it was placed in a chapel here which was embellished with elements
from the Palladio-designed chapel in the church of Santa Lucia when that
church was demolished to make way for the railway station that retains its
name. The body was stolen again, from this church, in 1981, by gunmen who
lost the saint's head, which was dislodged before they got out of the
church. The body was found a month later in a hunting lodge. Saint Lucy's
attribute in paintings is her eyes, usually on a plate, placed there after
they were plucked out as punishment for her refusal of a marriage offer.
Her face is now covered by a relatively recent silver mask - until the
1960s you could still gaze into her empty sockets.
but her withered hands and feet are still horribly visible. Other remains
the church possesses include bones of the Saints Thomas and Bartholomew
and a rib of Mary Magdalene.
works by Palma Giovane, including a quite nice Annunciation, and
The Coronation of
by St Magnus, with the Madonna
described in one guidebook as 'passable'. A sign promises a Tintoretto in
a museum to the right of Saint Lucy's chapel, but this seems now to be a
43m 140 ft manual bells
One of the oldest left in the city and all that remains of the 12th Century church, topped by an octagonal
tambour that's probably a little later but is visible in Jacopo De Barbari's map of 1500 (see
right) which shows the older church.
The church in art
The Grand Canal at the Entrance to the Cannaregio Canal by
Michele Marieschi, painted in 1741-2 shows the old church.
A Canaletto view
(now owned by the Queen) painted 1726-27 also shows the old church (see
below right), whilst an almost identical view by Guardi from 1769 (in the Munich Alte
Pinakothek) (see below left) shows the shell of the old
church before the rebuilding following the Austrian bombardment.
Fire on the Church of San Geremia by Luigi Querena, a night-time
view, commemorates the Austrian bombardment of 1749.
There are two watercolours and an oil painting (of 1913) of wide views of Palazzo Labia and San Geremia by John Singer Sargent.
Also a closer-cropped watercolour of the join between the
palazzo and the church.
Palazzo Labia by John Piper has the church's façade in the
foreground. He also painted the church's Grand Canal-side aspect.
Monday to Saturday: 8.30 to 12.00, 4.00 to 6.00
Sundays: 9.30 to 12.15
A photo from 1853 showing the canal-facing
the work of 1871. And the towers of the ghetto beyond.
Antonio Gambello/Pietro Lombardo 1450-93
A Franciscan oratory and hospice dedicated to St Job (Giobbe) was founded here in
1378. The oratory had become
famous for the fiery preaching of Fra Bernardino of Siena on his visit of
1443, but was becoming too small. Doge Christoforo Moro put up the money to build a new church in the preacher’s
honour, and work on the present church was begun in a gothic style in 1450 by
Antonio Gambello. Very little of his work remains - the double windows on
the south side, the exterior pilasters of the apse, the ante-sacristy (now
called the Contarini Chapel), the campanile and the remaining wing of
adjoining cloister. In 1470 Pietro Lombardo was called in to finish the
work and this, his first job in Venice, is one of the earliest examples of
Renaissance architecture in the city – the main doorway on the façade (see
is an especial treat in a Florentine style. The window and the three statues (now in the sacristy) are his work too.
The church was consecrated in 1493.
The church and convent were suppressed by Napoleon in 1810, and the
convent demolished two years later. The grounds and vineyard were laid
out as Venice's Botanical Gardens in 1812. Much damaged by Austrian
bombardment being so close to the mainland,
the gardens reopened but closed in 1870.
Lombardo’s calm interior has chapels on the left side and used to have
three major altarpieces (see Lost art below) on the right, and so
large and impressive were they (complete with illusionist depth) that they
balanced the depth of the chapels on the left – a neat trick as the right
hand side of the nave couldn’t have protruding chapels as it backed onto
the existing cloister. The carved stone frames remain, including that for
Bellini's painting (possibly carved by Pietro Lombardo, or if not by a
talented assistant) with its characteristic dolphins. The early
renaissance style of the interior, with its decorated cupola, gives the
church a bit of a Brunelleschi feel, which is only enhanced by the
polychrome Della Robbia roundels in the vault of the very Florentine
Martini Chapel. The altarpiece is more of Lombardo’s work, and the very
deep choir is reminiscent of San Francesco della Vigna. Doge Christoforo
Moro, along with his wife Cristina Sanudo, is buried in the church, whose
building he funded. He is reputed to have been the inspiration for
The Contarini Chapel, through a door on the right, is a remainder of Gambello's
original building and contains a pleasing Nativity
by Savoldo. Beyond is the sacristy which has it's original wood furniture
and painted ceiling panels, and an annunciation by Antonio Vivarini that's
no great shakes. The paintings here are all less than middling,
The three altarpieces mentioned above were Giovanni Bellini’s Virgin
and Child with Saints (see left) (also known as The San Giobbe Altarpiece), Carpaccio’s
Presentation of Christ in the Temple (inspired by the Bellini) and Marco Basaiti’s Agony in the
Garden. They must have been a pretty impressive sight, all in the same
small church, but now they are the three highlights of the
second room in the Accademia, hung on the wall opposite the bench in the same
order that they appeared in the church (Carpaccio, Basaiti, Bellini). They were looted by Napoleon and
returned to the Accademia in 1815. Their aching lack in San Giobbe only
adds to the slightly forlorn feel of this church in this somewhat backwaterish part
Campanile 46m (150ft) electromechanical bells
Erected between 1451 and 1464, with restoration work in 1903, 1905 and
Its principal entrance is a very fine example of early renaissance
sculpture. Note in it, especially, its beautiful use of the flower of the
convolvulus. There are said to be still more beautiful examples of the
same period, in the interior. The cloister, though much defaced, is of the
Gothic period, and worth a glance.
And he says that the Virgin and Child by Bellini is Alone worth a modern exhibition building, hired fiddlers and
all. The third best Bellini in Venice, and probably the world.
Monday to Saturday: 10.00 - 1.30
Note: this church now only open in the
A Chorus Church
Update Sept 2013 The Savoldo Chapel and
the sacristy are currently closed for 'maintenance works'.
Vaporetto Ponte dei Tre Archi
San Giovanni Grisostomo
Mauro Codussi 1497-1504
The church is one of the very few in Western Europe named for the 5th
Century patriarch of Constantinople, reflecting the strength of the
Byzantine influence in Venice when the first church on the site was built
in 1080. This original church burned down in 1475. Work began on the
replacement in 1497. Like
San Zaccaria this church was designed by Mauro Codussi
(it was supposedly his last in Venice) and it
shares that church's curvy shapes, whilst the façade is almost
identical to his one for San Michele in Isola. It shares the Greek cross
plan of his Santa Maria Formosa, but is much more vertical due to the
narrowness of the site. Codussi died in 1504, but
work here was completed by his son Domenico,
with consecration in 1525.
The façade was damaged during an air-raid in February 1918, and there'd
also been a near miss on 13th September 1916 (see photo below right).
The interior is compact, cosy and welcoming, but usually noisey from the
busy outside. A Greek cross plan ringed by
apses, the pleasing proportions derive from Platonic ideals of perfect
geometric form and balance. Codussi's original barrel vault over the choir
was unfortunately replaced with a flat roof to help the lighting. But this
remains one of those churches where darkness and unrestored
paintings conspire to keep you squinting and a little frustrated. And
talking of lighting - the light fittings in here bear an unfortunate
but strong resemblance to condoms. If you can look at them without smirking
you're a stronger person than I.
Pietro Lombardo and Giovanni Bellini here provide us with a
bas-relief of The Coronation of the Virgin and an altarpiece
The altarpiece (on the right as you enter) is Saints
Jerome, Christopher and Louis of Toulouse (see below right) from 1513.
It's said by some to be Bellini's last great masterpiece, and
even his very last work. It's not as immediately striking as some of the
mature-period gems in other
churches in Venice, but its characteristic serenity has grown on me with
repeated visits. The use of space is oddly appealing too: just because
Saint Jerome is outside in the wilderness, reading with his book propped
on a handy fig tree, that doesn't mean that the other two saints have to
suffer the elements too. Saint Louis is the saint for whom the church of Sant'Alvise (below) was built.
The Sebastiano del Piombo painting over the high altar is of Saints and Mary Magdalene. Henry James thought the Magdalene
looked like a 'dangerous but most valuable acquaintance' (see detail below right).
(She bares more than a resemblance to Sebastiano's Portrait of woman as
a wise virgin in Washington, I think.) This is Sebastiano's only altarpiece in
Venice, and was long thought to be a Giorgione, or even by Vasari.
It's one of those altarpieces that's better appreciated in
photographs, though, because in situ it's not that easy to see.
The Tullio Lombardo relief of The
Coronation of the Virgin you can get close enough to,
though, and it's very fine.
Campanile 21m (68ft) manual bells
The original detached campanile, dating from 1080, was demolished in 1532 when the calle was
broadened, but can be seen in Carpaccio's The Miracle of the Holy Cross at
the Rialto Bridge in the Accademia. The current one was built 1552-1590
and is nicely decorated
around the base.
The church in fiction
In A Death in Vienna by Daniel Silva chapter 2 introduces our
hero, Israeli secret-service agent Gabriel Allon, working at his day job
restoring the Bellini altarpiece in San Giovanni Grisostomo, and living in the
Ghetto in Venice. The topographic and art-historical detail is spot on,
but the action soon moves to Vienna.
One of the most important in Venice. It is early Renaissance,
containing some good sculpture, but chiefly notable as containing a noble
Sebastian del Piombo, and a John Bellini, which a few years hence, unless
it be "restored," will be esteemed one of the most precious pictures in
Italy, and among the most perfect in the world. John Bellini is the only
artist who appears to me to have united, in equal and magnificent
measures, justness of drawing, nobleness of colouring, and perfect
manliness of treatment, with the purest religious feeling. He did, as far
as it is possible to do it, instinctively and unaffectedly, what the
Caracci only pretended to do. Titian colours better, but has not his
piety. Leonardo draws better, but has not his colour. Angelico is more
heavenly, but has not his manliness, far less his powers or art.
Monday-Saturday 10.00-6.30, Sunday 11.30-6.30
Domenico Rossi, early 18th Century
Photo above by
A convent with a small oratory was founded here in 1375 by Augustinian nuns
originally from Santa Maria degli Angeli on Murano. They fled here from Treviso,
escaping the invading Hungarians lead by King Lajos.
Later that century the convent was enlarged and a
church built. This work was completed in 1425 but in 1456 these buildings
were damaged by fire, which resulted in more rebuilding and further
enlargement. The present church
dates from the rebuilding by Domenico Rossi in the early 18th Century
(following yet another fire in 1705) with interior decoration by Francesco Zugno. The new church was reconsecrated on the 15th
June 1751. Both church and convent were suppressed by
the French in 1807. From 1840-1855 the church was used as the steam mill of a sugar factory
installed in the convent and
a chimney was installed in the campanile (see below). It's
also said to have once been used as a brick factory. The church
was restored and reopened in 1952, (see black & white pre-restoration photos
further below left)
which show evidence of much adjustment to doors and windows). The campanile's long gone
(but still visible in the photo from the end of the 19th Century far
below) and the
church is now always firmly closed. The rare interior photo (left)
was recently snatched during a
Contains/contained works by Palma il Giovanne, according to the old sign
on the wall. The nearby (now demolished) Scuola di San Girolamo had two scenes from the legend of St Jerome by Giovanni
Bellini, now lost.
The Holy Father Blessing by
Pier Maria Pennacchi (previously thought to be by Alvise
Vivarini) came from the ceiling of the oratory of the Scuola di San
Girolamo (now demolished), which was behind the church. The panel
was still in situ in 1843, but was removed shortly afterwards and
passed into private hands. Bought by the Accademia in 1899 for 1,000
lire. It has been installed in the centre of the carved wooden
ceiling of gilded cherubim in Room 1.
church in art
Rio St. Geronimo by Franz Richard Unterberger (detail below)
shows the church with its campanile, but without the wall enclosing the
campo in front of the façade.
Vaporetto Ponte dei Tre Archi
Bernardo Maccaruzzi 1794
Built in 1025 and consecrated in 1343. In 1260 the Scuola di Santa Maria
della Carità, the first Scuola Grande was founded here. It later moved to
the complex of Santa Maria della Carità which is now part the Accademia
Galleries. The present church dates from a rebuilding of 1794 by
Bernardino Maccaruzzi. Suppressed by the French in 1807, and having since
been used as a coal warehouse and for band practice, it was a community
centre and now sometimes houses exhibitions. Almost nothing remains of the
internal features of the church, baring a few column capitals set into the
top of the walls and a couple of doorcases.
Fell down on the 24th August 1595, damaging 12 houses and part of the
church and killing 10 people.
Opening times During exhibitions.
Interior photo by Michelle Lovric,
taken during the
Antonio Gaspari and Giorgio Massari 1663-1736
Founded in the 9th or 10th Century and dedicated to St Ermagora and St
Fortunato, which became, by the mysterious workings of Venetian dialect, San Marcuola. This church was famous for housing the right hand of John the
Baptist - the one with which he'd baptised Christ. Rebuilt after a fire,
which was caused by an earthquake, and
reconsecrated in 1343. Barbari's map of 1500 shows the church
perpendicular to the Grand Canal with the apse to the north (see detail
below). This church
also had a hermit's cell over the door in which three (and later
six) women were walled up. They moved to the church of the Eremite when San Marcuola
became unstable and needed to be
rebuilt. This work began in 1663 with the chancel, and then the rest of
the church, orientated parallel to the Grand Canal
this time, with its apse to the east. The architect was Giorgio Gaspari,
who died in 1730, after which the work was completed by Giorgio Massari.
façade was to look very like that of the Pieta, but it remains unfinished above
the plinth, with the ledges that were to hold up the marble cladding now usually
full of pigeons.
Interior and art
Rectangular with pairs of altars at each corner, the altars having
statues rather than paintings, by Gian Maria Morleiter and his workshop.
He is also responsible for the statues of the church's saints flanking the
tabernacle on the high altar. There's a ceiling painting of them too, by
Franceso Migliori who has other works here. The painting on the ceiling of
the apse is upside down, meaning you have to be standing with your back to
the altar to see it the right way up - odd that. There's a Tintoretto
Last supper from 1547 on the left wall of the apse, the first of his many
cenacoli and so still quite
Tintoretto's Christ Washing the Feet of his Disciples (which
was part of a pair with the Last Supper still here and mentioned
above) is now in the Prado. The painting was removed from San Marcuola by the mid 17th Century
according to Carlo Ridolfi, who painted a copy which remains in San
Marcuola. There is disagreement over whether the Prado version, or another
very similar in the Shipley Art Gallery in
Gateshead, is the one from San Marcuola.
The church in art
Giovanni Pividor San Marcuola con la neve, a print in the Correr
Museum (see right).
A parish priest is said to have been dragged from his bed and given a
good kicking by the corpses buried here after declaring in a sermon that
he didn't believe in ghosts, saying: 'Where the dead are, there they
Rebuilt in 1728, the remaining lower portion is now a house.
Monday to Saturday 9.30 - 11.30
Vaporetto San Marcuola
From the de'Barbari