The Chorus Pass enables you to visit 16 Venetian churches for a single fee of €10. These churches otherwise make a seperate admission charge of a few euros each. The ticket is valid for one entry to each of the 16 churches over the period of 1 year from the date of issue. It can be purchased at any of the participating churches and I think it represents good value for money.
I have written reviews of some of the churches participating in the scheme:
Santa Maria Formosa
Santa Maria dei Miracoli
Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
There is a website with further information on the Chorus Pass scheme.
Favorite thing: A number of the bell towers of the churches of Venice have a worrying tilt! Apparently it is subsidence due to the rather unsolid ground conditions that cause this. The most remarkable or perilous looking which I saw was the bell tower at the church of San Giorgio dei Greci in the sestiere Castello which looks ready to topple into the Rio dei Greci.
Venice has innumerable churches. The most famous is of course the St. Mark's Basilica, but there are many interesting, lesser known churches.
One afternoon a VT friend of mine and me wandered around the Cannareggio and Castello districts and we had a look at the Baroque style Jesuits' Church, the Dominican Church Santi Giovanni e Paolo and the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli which represents the Venetian Renaissance style.
Walking in the little, narrow aisles definitely made me feel like i was in Venice. Despite popular belief that Venice is just about famous Grand Canal, im not saying that wasnt nice, beautiful at night.
Venice is not as expensive as many belief it to be. Getting the 16 EUR 24 hr ticket was definitely worth it, since each ride on the water boat costs 6.50EUR. You can also plan for a 2 day or 3 days ticket.
For those who want to save money, accomodation can be much cheaper outside Venice. I stayed a super cheap place for 13EUR. I mean in Venice it is considered cheap. It is a 30minutes bus ride away and buses run till quite late at night.
I planned to take the last but got too tired by like 7pm as it got so dark and there was nothing much to see. Something i really havent got accustomed to is the shops closes so early! So the streets get so deserted.
As already described, I am not a church-goer at home in my country, but here in Venezia it was different. Maybe in whole Italy, I will find out. The churches, very much elaborately decorated, have a special atmosphere inside. I found myself sitting on a bench and lighting a candle and make a wish.
Candles cost from 0,20 to 0,50 Euro, usually.
Fondest memory: But the most marvellous experience (apart from seeing glassblowers at work; oh, what a contrast, yes) was the Sunday service, I attended in Basilica San Marco. I was sneaking around the Basilica several times, as she did fascinate me in any way, and I was thinking back and forth if and how I will visit her. I simply could not stand the thought to see this masterpiece’s inside surrounded by shrieking Eurodisney visitors. Maybe it would not have been so, maybe the guards would have used discipline to keep them at least a bit silent. But I surely did not want to find out. So I finally decided to attend a service in the Basilica, to visit her as what she was built for and what is still her main purpose. The church service starts at 10:30, entry is through the door at Piazetta Leonici (northern entrance). Of course, the guards will only allow visitors without huge bags and with proper dresses.
Well, what can I say ? It was definitely the most moving service I ever attended. I felt extremely tiny in this majestic magnificent church, surrounded by these so old mosaics and often I was not even been able to follow the service. And as it was Sunday morning, the light fell onto the mosaics and let them look like god - just magic! It was held in Italian/Latin, but we could pick up leaflets with translations in most of the European languages. It had all the .. hm, yes, holy atmosphere I always thought, services should have (but the German ones of my past don’t). In this case, it is indeed “fondest memory”, as anytime after this, I only have to think of these mosaics and the ambience, and all worries or negative thoughts are vanished for a while :-)
I was thinking back and forth if I should write about this, but have decided to do so, as maybe the one or the other visitor from google’s machines might end here and I still don’t give up the hope that the Eurodisney visitor does have one brain cell left that allows him/her to see things different and maybe change their strange behaviour.
I am not a attending church services at home, as (as a good friend has put it recently), maybe god’s ground personnel, I have experienced was not that good. But here in Italy, well, Venezia, all was different, and I really felt the spirit of something I could not explain. That’s why I got very much annoyed about the behaviour of some tourists in the churches, and given the religiousness of the Italians, they must have even been more disturbed by the invaders into their places of worship.
So let me start my ranting: no one is interested of what is customs in our home countries. This is Italy and here we are guests. Italians are very much religious and that means we have to shut up and don’t babble in the churches. No one wants to hear our opinion shrieked out loud. If we want to do it or want to aah-ing and ooh-ing, we should get out of the churches, where we can shriek and talk as much and as loud as we want. No one will mind. But not in the churches.
I was really pi**ed when hearing so many of these = us tourists babbling in the churches all time long. Some even behaved quite rude to the employees who kindly asked them to slow down in voice. These are the times when I am very much ashamed to be a tourist.
Fondest memory: Another thing is the dress code. It might look cute where we live back home to hop around in oversized shorts and open shirt to show off the hair (oh my am I bad) or in skirts that short they allow to see the necks. But it is the most inappropriate when visiting an Italian church. Well, this is inappropriate in any church or place of worship on our planet. So plan to pack clothes which are appropriate to visit churches: cover arms and legs and show as less flesh as possible (we can show our flesh in the nightclubs, haha).
Also, tombs in the churches are often in the floors (well, below the floors of course, but the tombstone is laid in the floor). It should be pretty much obvious that these stones are tombstones and no decoration. And it is not only very much inappropriate to trample over these tombstones, but also a form of desecration. How would we feel if herds of people would trample over the graves of our beloved ???
Oh, and in case, atheists read this here – they are welcome to visit the churches as well. But they should keep in mind to leave their aggressive or non-tolerating attitude to church and religion in front of the doors while visiting. Or simply refrain from going inside.
Again, depending on how long you will be in Venice and what you like to see, the Chorus Pass might be of interest for you. It costs only 8 Euro (as of May 2007) and allows you free entrance into 16 churches on Venice’s main islands (S.M. = Santa Maria):
Cannaregio: S.M. dei Miracoli, Madonna dell’Orto, Sant’Alvise, San Giobbe;
San Marco: S.M. del Giglio, Santo Stefano;
Castello: San Pietro di Castello, Santa Maria Formosa;
Giudecca: Santissimo Redentore;
San Polo: San Giovanni Elemosinario, San Polo, S.M. Gloriosa dei Frari;
Santa Croce: San Giacomo dall’Orio, San Stae;
Dorsoduro: S.M. del Rosario (Gesuati), San Sebastiano.
The pass is not including the following churches:
Basilica San Marco, Santa Maria della Salute, and San Giorgio de Maggiore (on Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore)
But if you want to visit more than 3 of the a.m. churches, the pass pays off already. Single entry for all these 16 churches is 2,50 Euro.
Fondest memory: However, if you intend to buy the Venice Card Orange (2 or 7 days), you won’t need the Chorus Pass, as these 16 churches are included in the Orange Card.
Again, this is a simple price calculation and consideration of interests. Who won’t spend too much time in museums but likes to visit churches, lives cheaper when buying the Blue Card and the Chorus Pass.
The Chorus Pass, by the way, is valid for 1 year. It can be purchased at every church with the red Chorus sign.
Discounts or special deals:
Students up to 29 (with ID card): 5 €;
Family pass (2 adults and children up to age of 18): 16 €;
Opening hours of the churches:
Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Please see also their website:
Associazione chiese di Venezia
It might be annoying in the beginning to have to pay entrance fee for most of Venezia’s churches, but there is a reason for this. If we all understand this, then there is no need for complaining; well, at least I hope (In the beginning of my Uzbekistan trip, I had a similar feeling, when I saw how much more I as foreigner had to pay compared to the locals, but then I understood).
Again, remember why do we all invade and overrun Venezia ? Because this unique city is built on artificial islands and has a lot of architectural and cultural gems practically around each corner. Well, but we also know that Venice has to pay the price for this since the very beginning centuries ago – acqua alta, flooding, is occurring all the time after rain or specific weather conditions. And it is even more frequent now, since we have started to invade the city with all the consequences (increased lagoon traffic, cruise ships and deeper navigation channels).
Fondest memory: What might be fun for some of us – wading through the flooded streets, is horror for the buildings and the artwork inside. So after each serious flooding, a lot of restoration has to be done. Just imagine how much square metres of these magnificent very old marble floors are laid out in churches and palazzi. Marble is calcium carbonate, and now think what will happen to your kitchen marble counter if vinegar (acid) is spilled – it would give bad damage, as calcium carbonate is being slowly diluted by strong acids. Of course there are no strong acids in the lagoons’ water, but enough diluted ones from acid rain and industrial waste to lead to slow damage of the floors (see photo 1, taken in chiesa SS Giovanni e Paolo).
Then there is the humidity, which slowly crawls into the hundred years old walls and results in mildew. This would be manageable, if there wouldn’t be the countless invaluable paintings my the masters, Bellini, Tiepolo, Tintoretto and the others.
It costs a fortune to keep them restored and in the beauty we expect to see them. Since some years, the restoration work in Venezia has very much improved. It is more of a long term conservation and restauration and no longer a quick limitation of damage. Restaurators are specially trained in the work for the city, and of course this all costs quite a lot.
And again: who are we to expect from the Venezianos that they fund this work out of their pockets alone ? If we come in herds to marvel at and in the churches, we have to participate with our donation to conservation.
Associatione Chorus describes this work quite transparent on their homepage:
Favorite thing: It 's the biggest Gothic church of Venezia, full of sculpted burial tombs of former rulers, the Doges.It situated in “the square of wonders” by Venetians, campo San Zanipolo, Venice’s most monumental square after S. Marco.
During our several hikes through the sestieres of Venice we ran into a lot of churches. When we arrived at the Chiesa di San Sebastiano we read that they charged an admission fee of €2.- to help them with their maintenance and restoration. Of course we wanted to pay, but the clerk was so nice to just point out to us the use of the Chorus Pass. We learned from him that it would save us money and avoid the hassle of buying individual tickets. It costed only €8.- and letted us visit Veniche churches that charged admission during a one year period.
In the brochure we recieved we read about the foundation of the Chorus Pass. In 1997 a group of parish priests founded a nonprofit organization to raise money for maintenance and protection of 15 of Venice's finest churches. These 15 churches are now known of the Chorus churches and are open to visitors all days except the Sunday mornings.
You can buy the Chorus Pass at any of the participating churches.
Venice has some spectacular churches with a large number dedicated to saint Mary (Santa Maria) who is at the forfront of the Catholic faith. I enjoyed my visit to St Marks & a number of St Mary's including the one in this photo Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Also known as "i Frair" this Gothic church is not far from the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. It was built by the Franciscans and is second largest church in Venice after St Marks.
'i Frari' is fairly stark on the outside but has some wonderful items to look at on the inside including two Titian masterpieces (including the Assumption of the Virgin over the main altar) and a Bellini triptych (the Madonna and Child displayed in the sacristy). This is unlike St Marks which is beautifully decorated both in and out.
We visited St Marcos Church while we were in Venice...it looked like there was lots of gold on the church...it is a very beautiful building...
The St Marcos Church was founded during the 9th century...but was changed a few times after that...the final version was finished in 1071.
There are so many Venetian Churches to explore - this one is the baroque church of Santa Maria della Salute in Dorsoduro and is a famous landmark of Venice. Admission to this one is free - many charge an entrance fee for but a 3 day pass for 6 churches of your choice is availbale. Its almost too big a church to get a decent photo - this first pic is taken as you pass under the Accademia bridge - love those colourful poles too! Have a good walk around it and see it from all the angles. Please see the other pics as this is such a beautiful church and has so much detail on it - I could stand for ages looking up at it, taking in all the detail - and right at the top you can see a figure on a ball.
This church is a Votive temple built following a decree by the Senate of the Republic during the plague of 1630. Its festival takes place each year now on the 21st November when visiting ventians come with lighted candles. A fourth bridge is even errected to make access to the church easier.
And don't forget to look up in this city as well! There are so many things to see in this city, but you would miss a lot if you don't take your time to look up once in a while as well. On top of towers, churches and houses you can see many beautiful detailed ornaments.
At the Basillica di San Marcos, is done in style. You can see fluted columns, friezes, statues of people and griffins, a pope, cherubs and a whole passle of other things, just get up close and personal to see it all.
Oh almost forgot to mention, the entrance to Basillica di San Marcos is restricted by dress code, if you have shorts, sandals or short sleeved dress, you will not be allowed entrance...so come prepared.