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San Bartolomeo
San Basso
San Beneto
San Benedetto
San Fantin Madonna di San Fatino
San Gallo
San Luca
San Marco
San Maurizio
San Moise
San Salvador
San Salvatore
San Samuele
San Vidal
San Vitale
San Zulian San Giuliano
Santa Croce degli Armeni
(Armenian Catholic)
Santa Maria del Giglio
Santa Maria Zobenigo
Santo Stefano
Santi Rocco e Margarita

 

San Bartolomeo
Giovanni  Scalfarotto 1723


History
Tradition says a small church dedicated to St Demetrius, the martyr of Thessalonica, was built here in 840. In 1170 the church was rebuilt and re-dedicated to San Bartolomeo, being used from the 13th Century onwards by German merchants from the nearby Fondaco dei Tedeschi, which is now the main post office, the minister here being used for baptisms and funerals by the Germans as an 'official' front for their secretly-observed protestant beliefs. The church is said to have been used as a civil service school in the 15th Century. A rebuilding of 1723 by Giovanni  Scalfarotto (possibly) is the church we see today. It was closed and deconsecrated in the 1980s following decades of neglect, and reopened as an art gallery. After a recent restoration it was being used for concerts.

The church
The carving of the grotesque face over the entrance at the base of the campanile (right) may be a reference to the suffering of St Bartholomew, whose martyrdom involved being whipped and skinned alive.

Art highlights
All the art (including paintings by Palma Giovane and sculpture by Heinrich Meyring) was removed when the church was deconsecrated, apart from the sculptures by Meyring on the altar and the choir loft at the rear of the church. A fresco over the altar also remains - Saint Bartholomew in Glory by Morleiter.

Lost art
Dürer painted the Madonna of the Rosary (see right) now in the National Gallery in Prague, for this church in 1506, as it was then the church used by the German community. Commissioned by merchant Christopher Fugger, who is buried in the church, it shows the influence on Dürer of Venetian painting generally, and Giovanni Bellini in particular. Dürer incorporated a self-portrait into the painting, over to the right in front of the tree.

Organ panels by Sebastiano del Piombo, showing Saints Sinibaldo, Alvise, Sebastiano and Bartolomeo, were taken from the old organ, destroyed sometime between 1733 and 1771. They were still hanging in the church in the early 20th Century but are now in the Accademia following much-needed restoration by Venice in Peril, undertaken for the Genius of Venice exhibition at the Royal Academy in London in 1983.

Also a Virgin and Child with Saints painted for San Bartolomeo by Giovanni Buonconsiglio in 1502.

(S. Sinibaldo (Sebald) is the patron saint of Nuremberg, where he lived as a hermit. One of his miracles was using icicles as fuel on the fire of a poor man who had given him shelter but who had no wood.)

Local artists
Vincenzo Catena lived in Campo San Bartolomeo, and died there in September 1531.

Ruskin said
I did not go to look at the works of Sabastian del Piombo which it contains, fully crediting M. Lazari's statement, that they have been "Barbaramente sfigurati da mani imperite, che pretendevano ristaurarli." (barbarously disfigured by inexpert hands, which claimed to be restoring them) Otherwise the church is of no importance.

Campanile
50 m (162 ft) manual bells
Dates from building of 1170, but rebuilt following damage during the earthquake of 1688 by Giovanni  Scalfarotto 1747-54 with an octagonal drum and onion dome, based on Tirali's campanile for the nearby church of Santi Apostoli. The old spire is just visible in Marieschi's The Rialto Bridge from the Riva del Vin (detail right). In Guardi's The Rialto Bridge from the North... of about 1768-9 you can see the new dome at far left.


Opening Times
For concerts...
...although the website for San Salvador says
Tue/Thur/Sat  10.00 - 12.00 am
Wed/Fri  7.00 - 9.00 pm (only for prayer and worship)
I think that it lies.

Vaporetto Rialto

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San Basso
Giuseppe Benoni/Baldassare Longhena 1665-1675
 




 
 
History

Facing the side entrance to the Basilica San Marco, the original church on this site was built in 1076. The church was rebuilt after the fire of 1105, which destroyed 23 churches in total.  It was again damaged by fire in 1661, when the altar decorations caught fire, and rebuilt in 1665. This last church, the current building, was probably designed by Giuseppe Benoni with the facade (left) added 10 years later by Baldassare Longhena, but never finished - its upper part was never built. A small campanile was built but later demolished. Closed by the French in 1810, the church was later used to house and restore works of art belonging to San Marco, and as an antique shop. It was restored in 1951 and has since hosted exhibitions and Vivaldi concerts. It needs a good clean.

Local colour
The Piazetta dei Leoncini, which the church faces onto, also contains the Palazzo Patriarchale. Begun in 1837 this was the last (so far) major new building in the Piazza San Marco area. In the monumental neoclassical style, it roughly but noticeably echoes the the facade of San Basso

The church in art
The Piazzetta di San Basso by Michele Marieschi (San Basso's façade is to the right) (see left).

The church is also visible in the background of Daniele Manin and Niccolò Tommaseo freed from prison and carried in triumph to Piazza San Marco by Napoleone Nani in the Querini-Stampalia


Vaporetto San Zaccaria

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San Beneto
1619-1629


History
The church is first mentioned in the 10th Century as being founded by the Caloprini, Burcali and Falier families. It was given in 1013 to the Benedictine monastery of Santissima Trinità e San Michele Arcangelo in Brandolo near Chioggia by Giovanni and Domenico Falier. In 1167 a fire destroyed the original church and the second church, as seen in the Barbieri map (see below), was built. It passed to Cistercians at the behest of Pope Gregory IX in 1229. The order neglected the church, however, and in 1435 the first Patriarch, Lorenzo Giustiniani, made it a parish church. The structure of this church became dangerous following the collapse of the campanile and so the current building, the third, which dates from 1619-1629, was built under Patriarch Giovanni Tiepolo, architect unknown. The church was closed in the early part of the 20th Century.

Art highlights
Said to contain works by Carlo Maratta, Jacopo Guarana, Sebastiano Mazzoni (two painting of St Benedict), Antonio Fumiani, Giambattista Tiepolo (St Francis of Paola, said to be 'rather faded and over-cleaned') and Gaspare Diziani. Also the 'boldly painted' St Sebastian having his wounds washed by holy women by Bernardo Strozzi, a Genoese priest.

Lost art
For the second church Jacopo Tintoretto painted an altarpiece for the high altar, a Nativity of Christ for the Contarini chapel and the organ's shutters and two works to decorate the organ gallery. The two altarpieces disappeared during the 17th Century rebuilding, but the four canvases painted for the organ have survived, albeit cut down, and are now elsewhere. The Annunciation from inside the organ doors is in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The scenes from the exterior are in the Uffizi in Florence. The organ canvases survived into the third church but were removed in 1730 and sold to pay for the restoration of the organ. Controversy surrounds the assertion that the painting from the high altar is the Tinteretto Madonna and saints (see right) now to be found in the Galleria Estense in Moderna.

Campanile
20m (65ft) manual bells
The original campanile, with a sugar-loaf spire and four pinnacles, can be seen on the Barbari map. It collapsed on the 26th November 1540, severely damaging the church. It was replaced during the 1619-95 rebuilding by the current one, which has an octagonal drum and onion dome.

Opening times Has undergone comprehensive restoration quite recently but remains closed.

Vaporetto S. Angelo

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The marriage of Contessina Marina Volpi di Misurata (see left) and Prince Carlo Ruspoli at San Beneto in September 1927
 

San Fantin
Scarpagnino/Sansovino 1507-1564






 


History
Said to have been founded in the 9th Century but the earliest documentary evidence dates from 1134. Rebuilt 15th Century in nave-and-two-aisles form clearly visible on Barbari map. This church was demolished in 1506 and a new one begun the following year. This was to a design by Scarpagnino, who worked on the building until his death in 1549. Jacopo Sansovino took over (with help from Alessandro Vittoria), designing the domed apse, and the building was completed in 1564.

This was the guild church of the Scaleteri (vendors of biscuits and sweets) whose patron saint is San Fantin.

The church
A plain exterior of Istrian stone. The exterior view of Sansovino's apse was blocked by some 'poor houses' which were cleared away in 1931, as a tribute to Luigi Marangoni, Procurator of San Marco, and paid for by a group of his friends.

The interior
Monumental and made of squares, I'd read, so was keen to get in and have a look during the 2011 Biennale. The darkness and the largeness of the art make appreciating the interior difficult. But it looks like an odd and interesting space made of cubes. Grubby dark grey stone detailing, with a couple of side altars visible towards the back (see photo left).

There's a monument to Vinciguerra Dandolo by Tullio Lombardo and paintings by the likes of Corona and Peranda, and several by Palma Giovane. Also a 15th-century Tuscan polychrome wood crucifix the restoration of which was paid for by Venice in Peril in 2002. This crucifix was the one that was carried in front of condemned prisoners from the Doge's Palace dungeons to the place of execution between the two columns on the Piazzetta.

There is an icon, possibly by Andreas Ritzos, presented to the church by the Pisani family. It may have been brought back to Venice from Candia (Crete) by Giovanni Pisano, who was Duke of Candia from 1475-77.

Ruskin said
Said to contain a John Bellini, otherwise of no importance.
This was probably the Virgin, Child and St Joseph 'in front of a landscape and damasked curtain' which Crow and Cavalcaselle in their History of Painting in Northern Italy in 1871 described as being by 'a nerveless follower of Bellini in his last days'.

Opening times never
Except Summer 2011, when it was open and housing some Biennale stuff, and then after that stuff was removed, until Jan 2012, when it remained open. And Yvonne T took some photos (below left and below).

Vaporetto Santa Maria del Giglio

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San Gallo
1703

 


History

Built in 1582 as the chapel of the Ospizio Orseolo, it acquired its present form in 1703. The Ospizio was demolished in 1872, a hotel being built in its place.

Art highlights
The painting above the altar has been attributed to Tintoretto, but most authorities are sceptical.

Vaporetto San Marco

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San Luca
mid-16th Century





 

 
History
Originally built before 1072 by the Dandolo and Pizzamano families, the present church dates from a rebuilding in the mid 16th century. The collapse of part of the façade in 1827 created an urgent need for more rebuilding in 1832, by Sebastiano Santi, with further major work in 1881.

The church
Tucked away just North of Campo Manin, opposite a long-disused cinema, it's orangey pink on the outside and not entirely fascinating on the inside. An aisleless nave with deep apsidal chapels, there is a worse-for-wear Veronese, The Virgin Appearing in Glory to Saint Luke, over the high altar and a Palma Giovane, of course.

The church's main claim to fame now is the fact that Pietro Aretino (who lived nearby on the Riva del Carbon) was buried here in 1556, but his tomb got covered over during the 19th Century restoration. This church is also the last resting place of his friend Ludovico Dolce, who died in 1568. He was a 16th Century writer who was something of a hack but very famous in his own time. He is now most known for Aretino and Venetian Art Theory, a book taking the form of a dialogue, with discussions taking in Giorgione, Michelangelo, Sebastiano del Piombo and, mostly, Titian. Aretino and Dolce were said to be so close that they were buried in the same tomb, but this is not true. A German painter called Carlo Loth who died in 1698 was also buried here.

The dissolute librettist
Lorenzo Da Ponte, later Mozart's librettist, was a priest here in the 1770s. Whilst living in a nearby boarding house he met Anzolletta Bellaudi, who became his mistress and matched him in dissolution, reputedly indulging in mutual fondling by young men in public, even in church. She bore Da Ponte two children. In 1779 he was tried for living a debauched life, basically, although his borderline heretic views may have been more a factor. The Council of Ten found him guilty and he was banished from Venice for fifteen years.

Campanile 22m (72ft) manual bells
Original erected in 1072, damaged by fire in 1105 with the top rebuilt in 1462. Reinforced with girders in 1966.

The church in art
San Luca turns up oddly often in the sketchbooks of Turner, possibly because it's on one the common canal routes from the San Marco area (where he usually stayed) to the Grand Canal. The church is to the right of centre in the luminous watercolour sketch (below) from the London Tate Gallery's collection.



Opening times

Vaporetto
S. Angelo

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San Marco
1063
 


An apology

My idea of fun on a trip to Venice is to suddenly come upon a deserted campo with an obscure church that's usually closed with its doors open. At the other end of the scale is a trip to San Marco, involving as it does long queues, the opposite of solitude and an all-round pretty unspiritual experience. Also I'm not a big fan of mosaics. So, as there are more than a few places where you'll find loads of stuff about the Basilica, I'm not going to bother, if that's alright with you.

Opening times
Monday to Saturday: 9.45-5.30 (-4.30 October-April)
Sunday 2.00-4.00

Vaporetto Vallaresso (San Marco)

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San Maurizio
Giannantonio Selva/Antonio Diedo 1806
 


History

Tradition says the original church was built in the 9th century, but the earliest recorded mention is dated 1088. Rebuilt after the fire of 1105 and in 1590. The present neoclassical church dates from a rebuilding of 1795-1806, for patrician Pietro Zaguri, by Giannantonio Selva - the façade and altars being by Selva. The work was finished after Selva's death in 1819 by Antonio Diedo and the church consecrated in 1828. This rebuilding was carried out so that the church could thereby replace Sansovino's demolished church of San Geminiano, with the design of the interior supposedly inspired by that church, and the work of Codussi.

The church
Severely classical façade with Ionic portal and rectangular reliefs by Bartolomeo Ferrari and Luigi Zandomeneghi. A relief of the life of the saint in the pediment.

Interior
The church having been deconsecrated, the interior has been stripped and the church is now full of old violins in display cases - this is now a Vivaldi-related baroque music museum, but is still quite a pleasing square space and worth a visit. It has a Greek-cross plan with a central cupola surrounded by four bays each with their own blind cupola. The shop in the foyer is also a good source for obscure baroque CDs that you might not find back home.

Campanile
The De Barbari map shows a tower from after the 1105 fire, on the opposite side of the calle, topped with a cone-shaped spire and four pinnacles. Demolished to make way for the house of oil and flour merchant Dionino Bellavite, who from 1564 onwards paid a fee 'for the demolished campanile'. Roman-style bell tower built in 1795.
(The leaning campanile in my photo belongs to Santo Stefano.)

Opening times 9.30-8.30

Vaporetto Accademia

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San Moise
Alessandro Tremignon/Heinrich (Enrico) Meyring 1632
 





Photo above by David Orme


 
 
The church
The first church on this site was said to have been built of wood in 797 and dedicated to San Vittore. The second was built in 947 by Moisè Venier and dedicated to his name saint (St Moses). This church was renovated after the fire of 1105.

The current church dates from a rebuilding of 1632. Work on rebuilding the façade began in 1668 to designs by Alessandro Tremignon, and at a final cost of 30,000 ducats. The reconstruction was paid for by the Fini family and it's Vincenzo Fini, who was made Procurator of San Marco in 1687, whose bust sits atop the central obelisk on the facade, propped up by angels, saints and a pair of camels. In the order above you'll find four virtues, with sibyls at the top. The whole theatrical thrust of the facade is to the glory of the Fini, and represents the mercantile lives of the brothers. All the decoration is by Flemish sculptor Heinrich Meyring (sometimes Italianised to Merengo) who also carved the massive sculpture on the altar inside, with the help of Tremignon, seemingly out of a rock. It shows God handing the tablets to Moses. The grave of John Law, the man behind the Mississippi Bubble, is in this church, near the entrance. He died in poverty in Venice in 1729.

The church in art
John Piper produced a lithograph of the façade in 1961

Ruskin said
The late-renaissance use of the facade to glorify generous benefactors was said by our man to be a manifestation of insolent atheism. He also called it one of the basest examples of the basest school of the renaissance.


Campanile
47m (153ft) electromechanical bells
14th Century with fired brick spire.


Opening times
Daily 3.30-7.00 officially, but it actually seems to be open most of the time.


Vaporetto Vallaresso


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San Salvador
1506-34


History
Traditionally said to have been first built in the 7th Century, by St Magnus, to whom the Saviour (Salvatore) had appeared in a dream and sent him a sign - a red cloud this time. This church is said to have had an iron-grating floor with running water beneath. A rebuilding of the 12th Century after a fire can be seen on De Barbari's famous map of 1500. It is in the porch of this church that Pope Alexander III is said to have taken refuge disguised as a pilgrim and fleeing Emperor Frederic Barberossa. (But another story has him working for six months in the kitchen of the convent of  Santa Maria della Carità.) The present church was begun in 1506 to designs by Giorgio Spavento, with Tullio Lombardo supervising, helped by his father Pietro, following Spavento's death soon after work began. Tullio Lombardo died in 1532 and Jacopo Sansovino was responsible for the completion of work from 1530-34 and for the lovely frescoed side entrance onto the Mercerie. The façade was rebuilt 1649-63 to a design by Giuseppe Sardi with sculptural decoration by Bernardo Falcone. It has an Austrian cannonball embedded in the bottom left hand corner.

The interior
The church is monumental with a lovely dark grey interior, reminding me of some favourite churches in Florence, although the multiple-domed interior is supposed to hark back to the Byzantine and to San Marco. Despite the darkish stone it's a well-lit church. The interior is designed on mathematical principals, based on the proportion of 2:1. The remains of St Theodore, Venice's original patron saint, are in the chapel to the right of the apse. The body of the church is mostly tombs and painting-free altars, including an altar to the lunganeghi (sausage makers) with statues by Vittoria of Saint Sebastian (with a metal arrow embedded in the stone) and Saint Roch (with a very discreet sore on his leg). There are a pair of paintings just before the shallow transept, with the tomb of Caterina Cornaro at the end of the right one.

Art highlights
The great Titian Annunciation (see below right) sits on an altar by Sansovino, next to his tomb of Doge Francesco Venier, it's one of the few late Titians remaining in Venice. And in case you're wondering why Mary is lifting up her scarf and showing the angel her ear it's because that was evidently the organ through which the holy spirit entered and impregnated her.  The other great Titian is another late one - the damaged but explosive and impressive Transfiguration over the high altar, which hides a 14th Century silver reredos revealed only at Christmas, Easter and at the feast of San Salvador on the 6th of August.

Then there's The Supper at Emmaus (see below) a stiff piece of work which might be by Giovanni Bellini, or a pupil of Bellini called Benedetto Diana or it might be a copy by Carpaccio, or by Bellini's studio, of a Bellini original - it depends on which book you read or which art historian you trust. The church itself used to cover its options by having Bellini and Carpaccio scribbled in biro on masking tape stuck on the plastic sign nearby, with question marks. Now they seem to have settled on 'Anonymous copy of a Bellini'.

There are also works by Paris Bordone, Palma Giovane (opposite the Titian Annunciation) and, on the inside of the organ doors, two paintings by Franceso Vecellio, Titian's brother, who is also said to be responsible for the frescoes in the side entrance. The sacristy supposedly has more frescoes by him, discovered in the 1920s and restored in 2003.

Lost art
Two very early Bellinis, a Crucifixion and a Transfiguration, both still looking very indebted to Mantegna (and both in the Correr Museum) may have been painted for San Salvador. The latter may have come from here or San Giobbe, as both churches are recorded as having had a Bellini depicting this scene.

A Giambattista Tiepolo altarpiece depicting four saints, painted for the Cornaro family for the right transept's right-hand altar, was destroyed in a fire.

Campanile
23m (75ft) mechanical bells
De Barbari's map shows a chunky detached tower that was a 14th Century renovation of the original. Restoration in 1881 saw the tower raised. The shaky structure had its foundations broadened in 1903 and 1911.

The church in art
Canaletto, Campo San Salvador, around 1736, Private collection, London. (see below)

The monastery
The attached monastery, with its restored cloisters (with the red banner over the door in the photograph above right) is said to be Sansovino's work too. Suppressed by Napoleon in 1810, it is now the HQ of a phone company and open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm.

Ruskin said

In the interior of the church are some of the best examples of Renaissance sculptural monuments in Venice. It is said to possess an important pala of silver, of the thirteenth century, one of the objects in Venice which I much regret having forgotten to examine; besides two Titians, a Bonifazio, and a John Bellini. The latter ("The Supper at Emmaus") must, I think, have been entirely repainted: it is not only unworthy of the master, but unlike him; as far, at least, as I could see from below, for it is hung high.



Opening times
Monday-Saturday: 9.00-12.00 and 3.00-6.00,
Sunday: 3.00-7.00
The afternoon hours are shorter (4-6 pm) in the summer (June-August).
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Vaporetto
Rialto

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San Samuele
1685
 












A photo from the Biennale website. As to what and when...

 
History
San Samuele is another of the Old Testament prophets which Venice, unique among cities in Italy, have venerated as saints, due, it is said, to its strong ties with Byzantium and the Near East. The original church was built in the 11th Century by the Boldù family, and repaired after fires in 1105 and 1170. The current building dating from a rebuilding of 1685. The façade and the statue of the Virgin over the door date from this rebuilding. In 1952 the façade was rebuilt and the original, but much changed, porch was restored. At this time the loggia on the upper storey was also opened up. (See pre-restoration photo far below)

Interior
Open, for once, for the 2011 Biennale. You enter under an organ loft which has lost its organ. There are four almost identical altars, two on each side at the back and one either side of the high altar facing forwards. It has a triple nave four arches long with good-looking oil paintings set into the spandrels (see far below). No really good art amongst the paintings over the altars or at ground level. The frescoes in the apse are pretty spectacular, though (see left), having been restored by Save Venice in 2000. They are by an unknown artist, show Christ, the Four Evangelists, the four fathers of the church -Saints Augustine, Ambrose, Jerome, and Gregory - and the eight sibyls. The frescoes are thought to date to the 1490s and were discovered under a coat of whitewash in 1882. The Crucifixion is said to be by either Paolo or Domenico Veneziano, and there's a 13th Century icon (see photo below) brought to Venice in in 1541 by Francesco Barbaro, governor of Nauplia.

Campanile 28m (91ft) manual bells
Byzantine in style, made of Istrian stone and dating from the 12th Century. One of Venice's oldest, but reported to be in a very poor state of repair.

Local colour
Off of Campo San Samuele, to the right of the church, is Calle Malpiero, where you can see the house in which Casanova was born. This whole area is Casanova-ville. He played in the orchestra of the San Samuele Theatre (now a school). The parents of Casanova got married in this church on 17 February 1724. He was baptised there. And in 1740, at the age of 15, he gave his first two sermons in this church. The first was a great success – the offertory plate came back not just full of money but with some love letters in it. But the second one was a disaster – he’d eaten and drunk too much, and not prepared properly, and rather than do the ‘brutta figura’ he pretended to faint. And that was the end of his ecclesiastical career.

The church in art
Grand Canal at San Samuele, an impressionistic watercolour by John Singer Sargent.

Opening times

Last opened during 2011 for the housing
of the exhibit of Andorra for the Biennale.

Vaporetto
San Samuele

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San Vidal
1696-1700 Antonio Gaspari/ Andrea Tirali.



History

Founded in 1084 by Doge Vitale Falier who is thought to have built it in honour of his name saint. Rebuilt after the fire of 1105, and again from 1696 to a design by Antonio Gaspari, commissioned by the Morisoni family as a memorial to Francesco Morosoni, who defeated the Turks at Morea and then served as doge from 1688-1694. Long deconsecrated, the church spent some time as an exhibition hall for the Catholic Union of Italian Artists and now hosts concerts. Restoration work in 1902-3 and in 2000.

The church
Palladian-style façade (1734-7) modelled on that of San Francesco della Vigna, by Tirali, and paid for by Doge Carlo Contarini. Busts of Contarini and his wife on the façade, and of Teodoro Tessari, the parish priest whose efforts lead to the rebuilding.

Interior
A single nave with side altars. Deconsecrated and formerly used as an art gallery, the church has the stripped-bare look that churches acquire when cleaned out for the purposes of (Vivaldi) concerts and the selling of CDs. But every cloud...at least it's now almost always open, so you can get in to see the art highlight.

Art highlights
San Vidal on horseback, a late and handsome Carpaccio (see right) in which he is flanked by S. Valeria, his wife, and S. George on one side, and S. James and S. John the Baptist on the other. On the balcony are his sons with their patron saints Peter and Andrew. Also the Guardian Angel with St Anthony of Padua and St Gaetano of Thiene by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta restored by Venice in Peril for the Glory of Venice exhibition at the Royal Academy in London in 1994.

Campanile
29m (94ft) electromechanical bells
Originally of 1084, rebuilt after the 1105 fire, like the church. Further restored after an earthquake in 1347, and again in 1680. A door in its base (see far right) is surmounted in an almost convincing fashion by a fragment of a 12th Century cornice and a 15th Century relief roundel of St Gregory.

The church in art
Canaletto's Campo San Vidal and Santa Maria della Carita (The Stonemason´s Yard) in the National Gallery in London is said to depict masons working on the stonework for San Vidal's rebuilding.

Vaporetto Accademia

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San Zulian
Jacopo Sansovino/Alessandro Vittoria 1553-1580









 
 


History
Tradition says that the church of San Zulian (San Giuliano in Venetian dialect) was founded in 829, but the church is first documented in the 11th Century, and some sources claim it was rebuilt after the fire of 1105, at the expense of the Balbi family. By the mid-15th Century this church is said to have been in a poor state.

The current church dates from a rebuilding commissioned in 1553 by Tommaso Rangone, a physician and astrologer from Ravenna who could not be accused of undue modesty. He made his fortune from syphilis cures and wrote a book on how to live to 120 which was based on his observations regarding the longevity of Venetians. (He lived to the age of 84, since you asked.) His obsession with longevity may explain his ceaseless quest for immortality in paint and stone. He is depicted in major roles in Tintoretto's paintings for the Scuola di San Marco (now in the Accademia) for which he became Guardian Grande. He had also wanted to be commemorated by an effigy on the façade of San Geminiano, the parish church which used to face the Basilica across Piazza San Marco, but this request was refused by the Signoria as too vainglorious.

Jacopo Sansovino was put in charge of this rebuilding, but while he was building a new façade the roof collapsed and he had to start again from scratch. Alessandro Vittoria collaborated with him towards the end, and the church was finished and consecrated in 1580, ten years after Sansovino's death. Rangone kept the architect's model and made arrangements for it to be carried in procession during his funeral. He's buried in the chancel here. His marble coffin is said to have been made in the shape of his body. It's also said that his bones were transferred to the island of Sant'Ariano in 1822.

The church
That's a bronze statue of Rangone by Sansovino, made in 1554, in the arch over the door (left). Rangone is depicted holding sarsaparilla and guaiacum, two of the ingredients of his syphilis cure. The portico is recessed, rather than sticking out, because of space constraints. The façade also features odd symbols and inscriptions in Latin, Greek and Hebrew telling us what a great and generous man Rangone was. This is one of only two freestanding churches in Venice (i.e. that can be walked all around). The other is Angelo Raffaele. Much work was carried out here by Venice in Peril in the early 1990s. This included cleaning and applying protective substances to the façade and the statue of Rangone, which also needed protecting from pigeons. Much work was done on the interior too.

The interior

A square aisleless nave almost totally, and oddly, free of architectural detailing, having just two Corinthian pilasters framing the chancel, but there's lots of gold and works by Palma Giovane including, I have to admit, quite a nice Assumption. Appreciation of the painted ceiling is much improved by putting some coins in the light, but this is also a light of somewhat stingy duration.

Art highlights

Saints by Vittoria and four paintings, including the cross-shaped ceiling painting The Apotheosis of Saint Julian, by Palma Giovane (see below left). The first altar on the right has an unobvious Pietà by Veronese from 1584, with saints below by his assistants. Also a Last Supper formerly attributed to Tintoretto but now said to
be by the studio of Veronese. Opposite the Veronese Pietà is Boccaccio Boccaccino's attractive Virgin and Child with saints, which has a sweet air of Bellini and Giorgione about it.

Lost art
A triptych featuring paintings of St Christopher and St Sebastian by Antonello and his son Jacobello da Messina either side of a wooden statue of St Roch was recorded here in 1581 by Francesco Sansovino. The St Sebastian panel (see right) by Antonello, is now in the Dresden Gemäldegalerie.




Campanile
manual bells
De Barbari's map shows a tower, presumably built during the second rebuilding, topped by a sugar-loaf spire and four pinnacles. The current tower dates from the demolition of this old campanile in 1775 and is the only one in Venice that rests on the roof of its church.

Opening times
Daily 8.30 - 7.00

Vaporetto San Zaccaria

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Santa Croce degli Armeni
1682-88
 


History
A house on the site was supposedly given to the Armenians around 1253 by Marco Ziani, the son of Doge Pietro, grateful for the fortune he'd made in their country. An oratory was built in 1496 as Santa Croce di Cristo (the Sacred Cross of Christ). This was rebuilt as a church in 1682-88 and renovated in 1703. The small Armenian population of Venice later began attending services at the monastery on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni and this church fell into disuse. It has recently come into use again.

The church
The discrete entrance is off the Sotoportego dei Armeni - the farther of the two doors in the photograph of the sotoportego (see right). The church has a small square interior, richly decorated in a classical style with a central cupola. Sardi and Longhena are sometimes suggested as possible architects. The altar paintings date from the period of the restoration.



Campanile  24m (78ft) manual bells
Hard to see (see right) dating from 1682-88 too, and with an onion dome.

Opening times
For mass only, in Armenian, on the last Sunday in the month at 10.30.

Vaporetto Vallaresso (San Marco)

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Santa Maria del Giglio
Giuseppe Benoni/Giuseppe Sardi  1678-83
 






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Photo above by Vicky Greig












 

Campanile
Visible in the Canaletto painting (see above). Was leaning a lot when it was demolished in 1774. Rebuilding began in 1805 but work only reached 26 feet - this stump is now a gift shop. Barbari's famous map shows a stump too, but here it's because it was being built, suggesting that an earlier tower had toppled too by 1500.

The church in art
Santa Maria Zobenigo by Canaletto (see abovet) from 1738/40 with the demolished campanile then still intact. Guardi painted an almost identical view thirty years later, even copying some of the figures and groups.

 

History

The original Byzantine-basilica style church was said to have been founded by the Slav Jubanico family, a name corrupted over time to Zobenigo. Hence the church's other name Santa Maria Zobenigo. The church burnt down, and was then rebuilt, in 966 and in 1105. This latter church survived until the present church, whose name translates as Our Lady of the Lily, was built in 1680 by Giuseppe Benoni, with the façade and side altars by Giuseppe Sardi. Similarly to the nearby Santo Stefano this church has its side onto a broad campo with its façade facing a narrow calle. Restored in 1833.


The church

The façade is another of the irreligious self-glorifying displays that Ruskin condemned, along with San Moise, as a 'manifestation of insolent atheism'. Here it's Antonio Barbaro who left 30,000 ducats in his will with precise instructions as to how Sardi was to celebrate his political and military careers. The heavily populated facade has Barbaro's four brothers, clothed according the public offices they held, on the lowest level, with Barbaro himself on the next level up, over the door, all sculpted by Giusto Le Court. Hoards of allegorical figures and putti keep him company. Also some angels because this is, you know, a church after all. The plinths under the pairs of Corinthian columns on this upper level show battle scenes, whilst the plinths under the Ionic columns at ground level show plans of the cities of Antonio's military triumphs: Zara, Candia (Crete), Padua, Rome, Corfu and Spalato (Split).

Interior and art highlights
A compact and aisleless space, with three shallow altars either side. There's an impressively detailed big arch over the high altar, with an organ behind. Meyring statues of The Annunciation flank the high altar. 17th Century artists dominate, which just about excuses the Rubens, he being of the same period.

This church has the only Rubens in Venice, you see, behind bullet-proof glass in the Molin Chapel (entrance to the right) - a fleshy Madonna and Child with the young St John, not really in keeping with its surroundings. And some guide books use words like 'alleged' and 'attributed'. This chapel has a ceiling painting by Tintoretto's son and lots of extravagantly designed reliquaries with bones, nicely labelled with the name of the saint they came from. Remains include hanks of hair and other hard-to-identify bits that it's probably best not to know or enquire about.

Elsewhere there's a Tintoretto altarpiece, looking very 'studio of'.  There are two unusually under-populated early Tintorettos of evangelists on either side of the altar. They were taken from a destroyed organ and you can walk around behind the altar to get a better look. The contract for these doors survives and gives Tintoretto just sixteen days to finish the job. (It's dated 6 March 1557 - exactly 400 years before the day I was born!)
 
Also an impressive Last Supper by Giulio Del Moro on the inside front wall, with four cute sibyls by Il Salviati ranged below. The Zanchi paintings high up over the main cornice look impressive from a distance. The paintings on the ceiling are by him too. There's also a sweet little carved high relief panel of St Jerome, and an overpowering carved baptistery crawling with putti. A church whose cumulative pleasures sort of creep up on you.

Ruskin said
So incensed was he at their vainglorious and atheistic appropriation of this church's façade that when he learnt, during his visit of 1851, that the last members of the once-great Barbaro family, two old brothers, were then living in the garret of the nearby family palazzo Ruskin wrote to his father So they have been brought to their garrets justly.

Opening times
Monday to Saturday: 10.00 to 5.00
Sundays: closed
A Chorus Church

Vaporetto Santa Maria del Giglio

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Santo Stefano
1294-1325/early 16th Century
 


History

A convent church was founded here around 1294 by the  Augustinian hermits of Sant'Anna in Castello and named for Saints Augustine and Stephen. Work on the current building began in 1294 and was finished in 1325, with major rebuilding in the early 16th Century. This latter work was overseen by Gabriele Veneto, an Augustinian worthy and scholar whose portrait was painted by Giovanni Bellini and who is very likely - a strong case has recently been made - the violist in Titian's mysterious and Giorgionesque The Interrupted Concert. Gabriele was buried in the new sacristy here and is commemorated on the lintel over its door. The church underwent further restoration in 1743.

It has had to be reconsecrated six times because of, according to Jan Morris, 'repeated bloodshed within its walls'. The first being when Girolamo Bonifazio wounded a monk called Fra Francesco Basadonna on Whit Sunday 1348. Further such incidents occurred in 1556, 1561, 1567, 1583 and 1594.

The church
The facade, with a fine carved doorway said to be by Bartolomeo Bon (below left) faces onto a cramped calle, which does not make viewing it, or photographing it, very easy. The interior is one of Venice's most memorable and impressive. Divided into a nave and two aisles, the walls are painted and guilded in a pleasing diamond and acanthus-leaf pattern and above all is the richly-decorated ship's keel roof probably made in the Arsenale. The columns are alternating red and white marble, with frescoed arches, and the floor pleasingly compliments the colour scheme.

Art
The sacristy is chock-full of paintings, with some characteristic late Tintorettos, including an impressive and large Last supper, one of many by him in Venice. In the small cloister beyond you can get close to some sculpture by Pietro and Tullio Lombardo amongst others, including Canova's tombstone for Senator Giovanni Falier (below left). Canova's first Venetian studio was in the cloister of Santo Stefano.

Lost Art
The St Jerome polyptych by Antonio Vivarini and Giovanni d'Alemagna, originally on the right hand wall here, is now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, where it's called The Hieronymus Altar.

The church in art
The Church of Santo Stefano, from the Rio del Santissimo,
a watercolour by J.M.W. Turner. The church and its campanile feature often in his sketchbooks too.

Ruskin said
An interesting building of central Gothic, the best ecclesiastical example of it in Venice. The west entrance is much later than any of the rest, and is of the richest Renaissance Gothic, a little anterior to the Porta della Carta, and first-rate of its kind. The manner of the introduction of the figure of the angel at the top of the arch is full of beauty. Note the extravagant crockets and cusp finials as signs of decline.

Cloister

The monastery was suppressed in 1810 and the buildings now house the Ministero delle Finanze. The large cloister, off of Campo Sant'Angelo, can be visited on weekday mornings. It's a handsome one (see photo below) but the wires and air-conditioning units, amongst other impositions, show it to be what you might call a working cloister. Some nice steps, corners and bits of stonework though, so worth a visit. Beyond is a second and smaller cloister (see below left).

 One of them was said by Berenson to contain ruined frescos by Pordenone.


Local colour
Campo Santo Stefano was used for bullfights until 1802, when the last one held in Venice took place here.

Campanile 61m (198ft) electromechanical bells
Late Renaissance (1544) and leaning, with a newer top. On 7th August 1585 it was struck by lightning, collapsed onto nearby houses, and the bells melted. Replacements came from England, where Catholic churches were being stripped under Elizabeth I. Rebuilt in 17th and 18th Centuries The base was reinforced between 1902 and 1906 due to an earthquake in 1902 and consequent leaning. Still said to be unstable.

Opening times
Monday to Saturday 10.00-6.00; Sunday 3.00-6.00
Cloister: Monday to Friday 9.00-1.00

Vaporetto Accademia


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Photo by Val de Furrentes



 


































































 


 



































Photo above by Val de Furrentes

Santi Rocco e Margarita
1488
 


History
In 1485 the Scuola di San Rocco briefly moved to an oratory on this site with the intention of building a church to house the relics of St Roch, its patron saint, but soon moved to their present premises near the Frari.

The oratory and some adjoining houses were given to the Cistercian nuns from the derelict Monastery of Santa Margherita on Torcello who began construction of the church and convent in April 1488, with contributions from the Augustinian friars of Santo Stefano and the Lezze family (Luca Lezze was Procuratore di San Marco in 1464) The church was consecrated in 1547. In 1597 an altar was built for the holy icon of the Madonna brought here from Lakonia in southern Greece.

The monastery was suppressed in 1806, and the church closed in 1810. After some years' use as a music venue both were acquired in 1822 by the priest Pietro Ciliota, who founded a school for girls. Two of the five altars were sold, and the other furnishings dispersed. The Istituto Ciliota (since restoration in 1999) offers accommodation in the monastery.

The interior
A single nave with side altars- a functional little space with charm, some unspecial art, a stage and projection screen at the back, and a TV and video player on the altar. I'd heard that there had been some talk of turning it into a supermarket some time back - not the most imaginative fate for what must have been a sweet little church in its day.

Lost art
Amongst the lost art a painting once above the main altar was by Francesco Montemezzano, highly praised by Boschini, who also lists two more altarpieces: an annunciation by Matteo Ingoli and another by Girolamo Pilotti. A bas-relief showing the trinity and the annunciation is now in the collection of the Patriarchs.

The church in books

In her book The Virgins of Venice Mary Laven, writing about the lengths enclosure went to, tells us that Patriarch Vendramin told the nuns of SS Rocco e Margarita to block up the holes ventilating their toilets, lest they catch a glimpse of the street below whilst going about their business.


Opening times
Accessible through the Istituto Ciliota

Vaporetto
San Samuele

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Photo above by Brigitte Eckert



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