San Giacomo dell’Orio
San Nicolò da Tolentino
I Tolentini
San Simeon Grande
San Simeon Profeta
San Simeon Piccolo SS Simeone e Giuda
San Stae
San Zan Degolà
San Giovanni Decollato
Santa Maria Maggiore
Santa Maria Mater Domini
Sant'Andrea della Zirada
Santissimo Nome di Gesù


 

San Giacomo dell’Orio
1225
 

History
Tradition says that the church was founded in 555, but the first documented reference dates it to 1089. The church is dedicated to St James the Greater, the apostle. The dell'Orio part is said by some to be a corruption of del lauro (of the bay tree) and to refer to a tree said to have been growing on the site when the church was founded. Competing theories suggest wolves, the rio, a swamp (luprio) or the Orio family. The church was remodelled and enlarged in 1225, using funds provided by the Badoer and Da Mula familes. Further rebuilding following an earthquake in 1345 saw the addition of the transept and ship's keel roof. More rebuilding took place at the beginning of the 16th Century, with some further restoration around 1906.

The church
The main entrance faces the canal to the North into Campiello del Piovan (see photo right) with its back and apses into Campo San Giacomo (see below right). The statue of St James over the door dates from the 17th Century.

The interior
A Latin cross plan with granite columns separating the nave from the side aisles each topped with very old, or ancient, capitals. The thick columns appear even chunkier due to the raising of the floor resulting in them losing height over the centuries. On the right-hand side is a surprising second aisle, making for an asymmetrical space. This extra space contains the exposed wall of the old church and two unmatching columns, including t
he gem-like verde antico column said to have been sacked from Byzantium in 1204. It was much admired by Ruskin (see below) and was described by Gabriele d'Annunzio as 'the fossilized compression of an immense verdant forest'. Also surprising are the two sacristies and the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, a sudden burst of 17th Century decorative overkill and balustrades and a painted dome. There's also a 14th Century ship's-keel roof to admire.

Art highlights
Lotto's high altarpiece The Madonna and four saints was the last thing he painted in Venice before leaving in a huff. There's also a good Veneziano-attributed painted crucifix above.  The old sacristy on the left is full of works by Palma Giovane - the church has 12 paintings by him. St John the Baptist preaching by Francesco Bassano, in the new sacristy to the right of the apse, contains portraits of Bassano's family and of Titian, on the far left wearing a red hat. The new sacristy also contains two works by Veronese, or his studio, on the ceiling. He also has a SS. Jerome, Lawrence and Prospero, painted for the Malipiero Chapel here, which has seen much restoration and is very 'workshop of' too. It originally had a predella illustrating the martyrdoms of the three saints. There are frescoes by Jacopo Guarana in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament to the right of the apse.

But the weirdest painting here, and maybe in the whole of Venice, is the deceptively innocently-named Miracle of the Virgin painted by Gaetano Zompini in the 18th Century. (He also painted the dome fresco in the nearby San Nicolò da Tolentino below, but was best known for his engravings of hawkers.) What it actually shows is a chap who has run up and attacked Mary's funeral procession, only to find himself miraculously thrown to the ground with his hands ripped off and still attached to the coffin. This painting is ignored by most guidebooks but it features in David Hewson's novel Lucifer's Shadow, as does another bizarre painting in the church of San Cassiano. Also odd here (on the left wall as you enter) is the painting of The Miracle of St James Resurrecting the Rooster, but the painting is a bit too dingy to easily make out what's going on. It's by Antonio Palma, who was Palma Vecchio's nephew and the father of Palma Giovane.

Campanile 44m (143 ft) manual bells
The original was demolished in 1220 because it was unsafe. The current tower dates from the 1225 rebuilding. It was seriously damaged by the earthquake of 1347 and was restored in 1360. Later work too on foundations, well and belfry.

Ruskin said
A most interesting church, of the early thirteenth century, but grievously restored. Its capitals have been already noticed as characteristic of the earliest Gothic; and it is said to contain four works of Paul Veronese, but I have not examined them. The pulpit is admired by the Italians, but is utterly worthless. The verde-antique pillar in the south transept is a very noble example of the "Jewel Shaft."

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

Vaporetto: San Stae or Riva di Biasio

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San Nicolò da Tolentino
Vincenzo Scamozzi 1590-1671
 





























 
History
A small oratory dedicated to St Nicholas of Tolentino was built on this site in 1528 for the use of San Gaetano da Thiene and his followers, the Theatines, who came to Venice following the Sack of Rome. The present church was commissioned from Vincenzo Scamozzi, who was awarded a salary of 50 ducats a year, and work began on the 7th of June 1590. The foundation stone was laid on the 7th of November 1591. In early 1595 the fathers broke their contract with Scamozzi accusing him of using expensive and unsuitable materials. Collapsing pilasters were mentioned. The architect accused the fathers of breaking their contract. The squabble was resolved and the church was consecrated on 20th October 1602, although the interior construction and decoration was not finished until 1671. The great classical porch (see left) was added to the unfinished façade in 1706-14 by Andrea Tirali using money bequeathed by Alvise da Mosto at his death in 1701 to pay for a family memorial.

In 1780 the fathers gave all their silverware to a chap called Romano who claimed to have perfected a new method for cleaning silver. They never saw it, or him, again.

The church was suppressed in 1810, closing on the 12th of May, but reopened for worship on the 25th of October the same year to replace the closed parish church of Santa Croce, which was later demolished to make way for the garden that eventually became the Giardino Papadopoli, up by Piazzale Roma. The convent is now used by Venice University's Institute of Architecture (see cloister photo below) having been modernised in 1961-63 by Daniele Calabi, with an entrance by Carlo Scarpa added in 1984.

The interior
The hulking great classical exterior does not prepare you for the quiet baroque stucco riot inside - scrolls, cherubs and grisaille statuary cover the walls, all of this decoration having been added in the 17th Century to a previously pretty Palladian interior. The vault of the nave remains oddly bare. Latin-cross shaped featuring an aisleless nave with six deep chapels and a dome at the crossing. The dome fresco (and surrounding trompe l'oeil detailing) is by Gaetano Zompini.  The high altar was built by Baldassare Longhena in 1661. On the left wall just inside the apse is the very baroque and Bernini-esque monument to Patriarch Francesco Morosini (not to be confused with the doge of the same name) by Filippo Parodi. It's a huge and frantic piece of work which has a carved curtain being pulled back by angels to reveal the reclining patriarch who manages to be lounging, surprised, and praying simultaneously. Most of the interior was recently restored.

Art highlights
Mostly from the 17th Century and mostly from relatively unfamiliar names, but Palma Giovane is well represented - the seconf chaple on the left is full of his work, including a very putti-ful Annunciation. St Jerome Succoured by an Angel painted by German artist Johann Liss in 1628, two years before he died of the plague in Venice at the age of 33. A couple of likeable paintings by Sante Peranda, one being of San Gaetano. The Charity of Saint Lawrence (see below left) by Bernardo Strozzi is striking (and not just because it seems to depict a scene of the saint being sold some nice lamps by an old geezer) and full of movement.


Campanile
47m (153ft) electromechanical bells
Early 18th Century. Octagonal drum over the belfry with a parapet and a lead-covered onion dome.

Ruskin said

One of the basest and coldest works of the late Renaissance.

Opening times
Monday to Saturday: 8.30-12.00 and 4.30 to 6.30
Sunday: 4.30 to 6.30

Vaporetto: Piazzale Roma

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Photo by Brigitte Eckert

San Simeon Grande
 Dominico Margutti  18th Century
 


History
Dedicated to San Simeon Profeta (St Simon the Apostle) this church is known as San Simeon Grande to distinguish it from the larger church of San Simeon Piccolo nearby. (Although some say that the grande and piccolo refer to the size of the parishes.) The church was founded in 967, rebuilt in the 12th-13th Centuries and then again in the early 18th Century by Dominico Margutti, with interior renovation 1750-1755. This latter work was said to have been ordered by the city's sanitation department who were worried about the plague victims buried under the floor following the 1630 epidemic and so ordered the floor to be relaid. Restoration work in the Nineteenth Century revealed that the old floor was still intact under the new. On 18th March 1795 a part of the ceiling fell on, and killed, noblewoman Lucrezia Cappello while she prayed. It is not unusual amongst Venetian churches in having a Greek temple façade, this one dating from 1757 and attributed to Giorgio Massari. It was further renovated in 1861.

Interior
Has pleasingly rough-looking original columns, with Byzantine capitals probably dating from the 13th Century, an asymmetric layout - the right-hand aisle is much wider than the left - and round arches. Statues of the twelve apostles over the columns in the nave are early 17th Century by Francesco Terilli. The chapel to the right of the chancel has some nice (18th Century?) frescoing on the ceiling that's considerably corroded lower down.

Art highlights
The presentation in the Temple, with Donors by Palma Giovane and, in the sacristy, The Holy Trinity attributed to Giovanni Mansueti, a follower of Bellini. Also a Last Supper by Tintoretto, badly restored in 1935, that looks unfinished, as well as like many hands were involved.

Lost art
A Trinity by Vincenzo Catena was here at least until the 1920s.

Ruskin said
Very important, though small, possessing the precious statue of St. Simeon. The rare early Gothic capitals of the nave are only interesting to the architect; but in the little passage by the side of the church, leading out of the Campo, there is a curious Gothic monument built into the wall, very beautiful in the placing of the angels in the spandrils, and rich in the vine-leaf moulding above.

Campanile 23m (75ft) manual bells
18th Century. De Barbari's map of 1500 shows a bigger and taller tower.


Opening times Mon-Sat 9.00-12.00, 5-6.30
Update September 2013 Banners and posters outside say that there is work going on inside the church, and it doesn't seem to be opening.

Vaporetto Ferrovia

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San Simeon Piccolo
Giovanni Antonio Scalfarotto, 1718-1738
 



History

Tradition says the church was founded in the 9th Century, but the first documented reference is to the church's consecration in 1271. This original church was demolished in 1718 and rebuilt by Giovanni Scalfarotto who was inspired by the dome of the Pantheon in Rome, it is said. Three floors were found, one on top of the other, when the old church was demolished. The rebuilding is said to have been paid for by money from a lottery run by the priest, called Manera. Scalfarotto (who had Piranesi as an apprentice for a while) had his name is carved into the architrave of the façade. This church was consecrated in 1738. This last rebuilding enlarged the church, it is said, so as to make it bigger than the nearby San Simeon Grande, but the names of both churches have stuck. Although some say that the grande and piccolo refer to the size of the parishes.

The church
The porch is in the form of a Greek temple. One of the four columns was replaced following the destruction of the original by enemy bombs on the night of February 26th-27th 1918. The triangular pediment contains a relief showing The Martyrdom of St Simon and St Jude, the church's name saints, by Francesco Penso. The statue on the lantern on the dome is of The Redeemer by Michele Fanolli

Interior
Supposedly inspired by the Salute - circular aisleless nave, with four altars, completely covered by the dome. Plain and Palladian. There are reports of an unusual octagonal crypt with four frescoed corridors of tombs radiating out, the frescoes depicting images of death and the day of judgement.

Art
Minor 18th Century.

Campanile 3m (10ft) above roof of church, manual bells
Dating from the Scalfarotto rebuilding and visible from the courtyard behind and to the left of the church.

Ruskin said
One of the ugliest churches in Venice or elsewhere. Its black dome, like an unusual species of gasometer, is the admiration of modern Italian architects.

Lorenzetti said
...a high ungraceful copper-covered dome, of a shape disproportionate to the size of the building supporting it.

Robert Coover (in Pinocchio in Venice) said
...misshapen little San Simeon Piccolo with its outsized portico and squeezed dome...the popping green bubble on San Simeon the Dwarf rising through the fog with the erotic suggestion of a Venetian double entendre.

Napoleon said
I have seen churches without domes before, but I’ve never, until now, seen a dome without a church.

The church in art
Canaletto’s The Grand Canal with San Simeon Piccolo from 1742 in London’s National Gallery shows the church with the dirty black dome that Ruskin so hated. It does look better having been cleaned and gone green. The church had only just been completed when the view was painted - a builders' hut is visible by the steps. An earlier Canaletto view from 1726/7 in the Royal Collection in London shows the steps unfinished. Guardi painted a similar view in 1780 (see below) now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It also shows the church of Santa Lucia to the right, demolished to make way for the railway station.

Opening times Only for services

Vaporetto
Ferrovia

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Photograph by J@M
 


Scaffold fuss
Due to much-needed work the portico was covered in scaffolding from the middle of 2007, at least, and this scaffolding was itself covered with a sequence of huge advertising hoardings (see above). In late 2008 an advert depicting a naked woman hiding behind her large handbag caused a fair old fuss. A sad state of affairs, as this is the first church most people see upon arriving in Venice as it's directly opposite the railway station.
 

San Stae
Giovanni Grassi, Domenico Rossi 1678-1709

 






Photograph above by Robert Yates



 
 


The church

Said to have been founded in 966 and dedicated to San Eustachio (St Eustace, the commander of Trajan's army, who is said to have seen the crucifix between the antlers of a deer whilst hunting). He becomes San Stae in Venetian dialect. The first written reference to the church dates from 1290. The original church, which was side-on to the Grand Canal, (see detail from map below) was demolished in 1678 and the current church was built by Giovanni Grassi, who realigned it to face the Grand Canal. The façade of 1709 is by Domenico Rossi, whose design was the winner amongst twelve designs submitted in competition. It was paid for by a legacy in the will of Doge Alvise Mecenigo and features the work of seven sculptors, the statues being of various virtues, saints and angels. The two reliefs are The lion lowers its head before St Eustace and The Emperor Hadrian has Eustace and his relatives thrown in a red-hot bronze ox. The church was restored recently by the Swiss Pro-Venezia Committee.

Interior
A calm, pale and Palladian interior, and very light, due to the Palladio-inspired semi-circular windows, a feature of the Redentore. An aisleless nave with three side chapels either side. The interior is as statue-populated as the façade with lots more angels.  A spooky bone-decorated tomb slab of Doge Alvise Mocenigo (in the middle of the pavement) who had paid for Rossi's façade.  The Latin inscription on his tomb reads 'Fame and vanity are here buried together with the body'. The chapel first on the left is dedicated to the Foscarini family and includes the tomb of Antonio Foscarini, reinterred here with honours after being exonerated of the charge of treason for which he was executed in 1622.

Art highlights
The church is a bit of a who's who of 18th Century Venetian painters and the best are in the apse either side of the high altar. These include The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, a dynamic early Tiepolo which is pretty famous, not least for being a highlight of the Glory of Venice exhibition at the Royal Academy in London in 1994. It's to be found amongst the seven works on the left hand wall, in the bottom left hand corner. In the bottom left-hand corner of the right wall is the equally fine Saint James Led to Martyrdom by Piazetta. In comparison the rest look a bit flat and bright and 18th Century, despite being mostly martyrdoms.

The paintings in the sacristy, to the left of the apse, have a tendency towards 'studio of' but there's also an odd cornice from the earlier church depicting past parish priests, with a fair few dark blanks that are awaiting portraits still.

Ruskin said
Ridiculous.

Campanile
34m (111ft) no bells
Rebuilt end of 17th Century with an entrance surround of 1702 featuring a 13th Century bust of an angel. Said to be dangerously unstable, despite the lower portion being lived in.

Local colour
The cute red baroque building to the left of the church is the former Scuola dei Battiloro e Tiraoro, the guild of drawers and beaters of gold, rebuilt in 1711.

The church in art
There's a View of the Grand Canal at San Stae by Bellotto. The Church of St. Stae, Venice by John Singer Sargent (see left) is an oil painting. Two watercolours by him exist too.

The church in film
This is the church used for the funeral at the end of Don’t Look Now.


Opening times
Monday to Saturday:
10.00 to 5.00
Sundays: 1.00 to 5.00
A Chorus Church

Update Nov 2012: the Chorus website says that the church is currently only open Monday to Saturday:
2.00 to 5.00


Often used for exhibitions and concerts.

Vaporetto: San Stae

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The detail above from the Merian map of 1635
shows the previous church, in the foreground,
aligned side-on to the Grand Canal.


 

San Zan Degolà
13th Century

 


History
Named in the Venetian dialect for San Giovanni Battista Decollato (the Decapitated St John the Baptist) the church was founded in the 8th Century, legend has it, but the first documentary evidence dates the founding to 1007, at the expense of the Venier family. Rebuilding then took place in 1213 (courtesy of the Pesaro family) and in 1703 when the current exterior was built. In 1358, on August 29th, the Venetian navy defeated the Genoese fleet off Negroponte. As the date was the feast day of Salome's dance the saint was credited with the victory and the doge vowed to visit this church on the feast day every year, but this only lasted a few years, as the church was too small, and the commemoration transferred to San Marco. The decaying church was suppressed by Napoleon and closed in 1818 and put to use as a warehouse.

In 1945 extensive restoration work was undertaken to return the church to something like its original appearance. This involved the reopening of the circular window on the façade and the demolition of the stuccoed ceiling to reveal the ship's keel ceiling underneath and the small windows just beneath it. It was during these works that the frescoes in the left apse, Byzantine in style and amongst the oldest in Venice (see one of them right), were discovered.

Having then been closed for almost 20 years, and after more restoration work (which revealed the fresco of St Michael in the right apse (see further below right) the church re-opened in 1994. (A guidebook I have from 1972 says that the church was then closed but you could ask at the convent next door for a nun to let you in with a very large key). On the wall facing the campo there is a relief of the just-severed head of John the Baptist in a basin being shown to Salomé. The relief was originally attached to a nearby building next to the bridge, but was later moved here. The church is now used for Russian Orthodox services (see interior photo with iconostasis right).

Interior
The church feels ancient, dark and sparsely decorated, with a nicely weathered look. The nave has its wooden ships-keel roof and is divided from the similarly-roofed aisles by two colonnades of four columns of Greek marble with 11th Century Byzantine-style Corinthian capitals. It has painted walls and some lovely old fresco fragments discovered during the restoration and dating from the 11th to 13th Centuries. Frescoes this old are rare in Venice as the city's damp is not good for them.

Local colour
According to a tradition dating from the 16th Century the carving of the head of John the Baptist mentioned above (and pictured right) is said to be a representation of Biagio Cargnio, a butcher who was beheaded and quartered as punishment for putting the meat of murdered children into his sausages and stews. His quartered body parts were put on display on the Ponte dei Squartai  (the Bridge of the Quartered Men) on the Rio del Tolentini. His house and shop stood in the nearby fondamenta named after him, Riva di Biasio, but both were razed to the ground. The carving could be found smeared with mud well into the last Century, this being evidence of Venetians' long and unforgiving memories.

On November 21 in 1500 a whole family was murdered by a Franciscan priest who officiated at San Zan Degola. He was executed in the Piazza San Marco on December 19th, having first had his right hand cut off in front of the door of family he'd robbed and murdered.


Campanile 20m (65ft) manual bells
The map of 1635 (detail right) shows a taller detached tower with a tall spire which was demolished in the early 18th Century and replaced by the current short tower, squeezed between the church and adjacent house.

Opening times
Monday to Saturday: 10.00 - 12.00

Vaporetto: San Stae or Riva di Biasio

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Photo above by David Orme




 

Santa Maria Maggiore
Tullio Lombardo 1523
 


History

A wooden convent and church was built
1497-1504, by Franciscans from Sant'Agnese, on recently-reclaimed ground given by the republic. A miracle-working icon lead to the church being named Santa Maria dell'Assunta. Rebuilding, at the behest of Alvise Malipiero, probably by Tullio Lombardo, began in 1503 with the convent habitable by 1505, and the church open by 1523. The design of the church was said to have been based on that of its namesake in Rome. Malipiero's patronage continued until his death in 1557 and his burial in the family tomb here.

Suppressed in 1805, with the nuns moving to Santa Croce, after which the convent was used as a barracks. The grounds became the Campo di Marte where Austrian officers exercised their horses, and civilians were allowed to ride and walk too. There was a fire in the convent in 1817 and demolition followed in 1900.
The church was used as a warehouse for a tobacco factory. The attached prison was built in the 1920s, with prisoners transferred from the prison at San Marco which was still in use until this time. This church is now crumbling away picturesquely as a seemingly forgotten corner of the prison named after it, but it was restored 1961-65.

Campanile 33m (107ft) no bells

Late Gothic and similar to that of San Barnaba, with its sugar-loaf spire and pinnacles.


Lost Art
All eight altars and their art have long since been removed and/or lost. The paintings included a Giovanni Bellini and
Titian’s John the Baptist (see right),
which was due to be transferred to the Brera in Milan but was entrusted to the Accademia after local protest. It is a painting now thought less of than formerly, and the critics argue about its dating too.

The
Assumption of the Virgin by Veronese, from the high altar and benefiting from a cleaning, is now in the Accademia too. It was commissioned by Simone Lando, a ducal secretary in the Venetian chancery, who also left  a large collection of paintings to the church. These included the spooky Agony in the Garden by Veronese, now in the Brera Milan, which for a time hung against one of the column here.

As is the recently restored Virgin and Child with Saints and members of the Marcello Family (see far right), probably by Battista del Moro.

Vaporetto: Piazzale Roma

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A photo by Ferdinando Ongania taken in the 1890s

before the convent was demolished and the prison built.
 

Santa Maria Mater Domini
1502-1540
 







 
History

Tradition says that the church was founded c. 960 and built by the Zane and Cappello families. Originally dedicated to Saint Christina, with the rededication documented as taking place in 1128. Rebuilt after demolition in 1503, probably to a design by Mauro Codussi. (Giovanni Buora's name is also mentioned sometimes). Completed 1512-24, perhaps by Jacopo Sansovino, who is perhaps responsible for the façade (but Scarpagnino's name is also mentioned sometimes) and consecrated in 1540. Restored by Venice in Peril in the 1980s. This mostly consisted of work on the roof, but also restoration work on two paintings - the Catena mentioned below and Francesco Bissolo's Transfiguration.

The church
Istrian stone façade not the easiest to appreciate, being tucked into a narrow calle off of the impressive campo named after the church. 14th Century Byzantine-style half figure of the Virgin over the doorway.

Interior
A Greek cross, nave and two aisles, said to combine the plans of San Giocometto and San Giovanni Elemosinario. Pleasingly plain and uncongested by art, with yellowy-buff coloured walls and grey stonework with some white marble. The church contains the tomb of Antonio Maria Zanetti, the librarian of the Marciana Library and the author of a 1771 catalogue of Venetian paintings.

Art Highlights
What art there is is pretty fine, including an early and therefore less dark Tintoretto, The Invention of the Cross (c.1561)(see below left).

Also the serene The Vision of Saint Christina (1520) by Catena, a mystery-shrouded pupil of Giovanni Bellini and friend of Giorgione, who seems to have been a spice merchant who painted part-time. Few of his works remain, even in Venice. This is one of his best and was painted for the Scuola di Santa Christina. In the painting (see right) the Saint looks up at the Risen Christ as angels support the millstone which was tied to her neck before she was thrown into Lake Bolsena.

Local colour
In April 1488 the porch of Santa Maria Mater Domini was sealed off with boards 'after the twenty-third hour' to 'stop sodomites using it as a meeting place'. The Rialto area seemed to be a centre of such activity - San Cassiano's entrance was also ordered to be chained shut. Pastry shops were said to be dangerous places for impressionable youth too, at that time.

Lost art
A precious silver altarpiece looted from Constantinople was lost in 1797.

Campanile
33m (107ft) manual bells
Rebuilt 1503 and renovated 1740-43

Ruskin said
It contains two important pictures: one over the second altar on the right, "St. Christina," by Vincenzo Catena, a very lovely example of the Venetian religious school; and over the north transept door, the "Finding of the Cross," by Tintoret, a carefully painted and attractive picture, but by no means a good specimen of the master... There is no wonder, no rapture, no entire devotion in any of the figures. There are only interested and pleased in a mild way; and the kneeling woman who hands the nails to a man stooping forward to receive them on the right hand, does so with the air of a person saying, "You had better take care of them; they may be wanted another time." ... If Tintoret had always painted in this way, he would have sunk into a mere mechanist. It is, however, a genuine and tolerably well preserved specimen, and its female figures are exceedingly graceful; that of St. Helena very queenly, though by no means agreeable in feature. Among the male portraits on the left there is one different from the usual types which occur either in Venetian paintings or Venetian populace; it is carefully painted, and more like a Scotch Presbyterian minister than a Greek. The background is chiefly composed or architecture, white , remarkably noticed as one of the unfortunate results of the Renaissance teaching at this period. Had Tintoret backed his Empress Helena with Byzantine architecture, the picture might have been one of the most gorgeous he ever painted.

Opening times
Monday to Saturday: 10.00-12.00

Vaporetto
San Stae

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Sant'Andrea della Zirada
15th/17th Centuries
 


History
Called della Zirada from the Venetian word for bend, as the church stands at the bend formed by two canals. Another theory has it that it's named for being the turning point for regattas. Traditionally said to have been founded in 1329 as the oratory of a hospice for poor women, founded by four Venetian noblewomen, Elisabetta Soranzo, Marianna Malipiero, Elisabetta Gradenigo and Francesca Cornaro. The convent and church were rebuilt in 1475 and restored in the 17th Century, acquiring a lavish Baroque interior with stucco decoration. Closed by Napoleon with the convent buildings demolished. The church was said to have been worth visiting before the building of the railway bridge for the views across the lagoon to the alps afforded by its then-grass-covered campo. The church is now the studio of sculptor Gianni Aricò.

The church
The Venetian Gothic façade is all that survives from the 1475  rebuilding. Has a portal of Istrian stone with two 14th Century bas-reliefs (see below right): a Dead Christ and The Calling of Peter and Andrew with details that excite Venetian boat buffs.

Interior
There's a barco (nun's gallery) over the door from the 15th Century, supported by columns left over from the 14th Century church. The rich decoration on the barco was added in the 17th Century. The baroque altar of 1679 is by Juste Le Court. Four side altars with 18th Century marble statues.  Jan Morris says that there is a plaque in honour of the Guild of Refuse Collectors which was mounted above the church door here (presumably inside) during the days of the republic. The photo (right) was taken by poking a camera lens through a hole in the wood of the side door.

Art/Lost art
A guidebook from the early 1970s mentions a Dead Christ between St. Charles Borromeo and Angels by Domenico Tintoretto, as well as St. Augustine with Two Angels by Paris Bordone, which it describes as 'humdrum'. It also mentions the St. Jerome Penitent (see below) by Paolo Veronese 'which must once have been very good' and so it is again, looking very fine now in the Accademia. It was originally sited to the right of the high altar here.

Campanile 43m (140 ft) manual bell action
Built in 1475, acquiring its present appearance (an octagonal drum and onion dome) during the 17th Century restoration.




From Virgins of Venice
In 1596, at the convent of Sant' Andrea de Zirada the campanile was sealed up after accusations that the nuns had climbed to the top of the bell tower and flaunted themselves before the neighbourhood.


Opening times
The church is now the studio of sculptor Gianni Aricò.

Vaporetto
Piazzale Roma

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Santissimo Nome di Gesù
Giannantonio Selva/Antonio Diedo  1815-34
 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


History
Small neoclassical church begun by Giovanni Antonio Selva, the architect also responsible for La Fenice and the (equally neo-classical) church of San Maurizio. Work began in 1815, when the demolition of old ecclesiastical buildings was much more common than the building of new ones. The church was completed strictly to the architect's plans, after his death in 1819, by Antonia Diedo. An adjoining convent was built in 1846. The remains of San Geminiano were transferred here from his name church which had then just been demolished. The church is now tucked into the corner between the Autorimessa  multi-storey car park and the flyover to Piazzale Roma. It is currently being used for services by Ukranian Greek Catholics

Interior

Very small and neo-classically clean. Tall ionic columns between the unusual barrel-vaulted apse with decorated domes with a painted frieze by Borsato and sculptural niches. The tabernacle over the high altar is also by Diedo. A  flat-roofed nave, deeply coffered, with two side altars featuring a pair of paintings by Quarena.



Ruskin said

Of no importance.

Opening times Not displayed

Vaporetto Piazzale Roma

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A photo taken in 1933,
the year the car park was built.



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