“Having fed our eyes with the noble prospect of the island of S. George, the galleys, gondolas, and other vessels passing to and fro, we walked under the cloisters on the other side of this goodly Piazza, being a most magnificent building, the design of Sansovino.”
— John Evelyn (1620-1706), from his diary about his 1645 visit to Venice
Most tourists to Venice visit only St. Mark’s Square. And from the water’s edge of the piazza, the view across Bacino di San Marco is most likely what a tourist will remember. That sight is the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. The sight is memorable because the church seems to float on the water. Its Classically-inspired, Antonio Palladio-designed, 1565 façade is very pleasing to the eye.
Any visitor there at sunset when we were would have had an extra treat, a rainbow. What a beautiful way to end our second day’s visit to la Serenissima, the Most Serene Republic of Venice.
On the same side of the canal as the Train station, this church has a real pretty rococo facade.
The photo shows detail of the church facade, some nice sculpture.
Inside, the ashes of the last Doge of Venice are saved here.
Does this church look familiar? Well if you have arrived at Venice Santa Lucia train station, its directly across the Grand Canal. Supposedly, it was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, or maybe it was supposed to be a smaller copy of some of its elements.
Built in 1718 it is notable for its neoclassicism, something you probably won't see very much of in Venice. This was a fairly recently built church, in what was considered one of the poorer neighborhoods.
The neglected square and facade invited us to bypass this church. We didn’t, and it was a good idea.
Free entrance, but no photo allowed to register the rich paintings of Palma il Giovane and Padovanino. You have to see them for yourself!
The church of Madonna dell'Orto is probably as "off the beaten path" as you can get whilst still being in the city of Venice itself. It's a lovely gothic affair and is often referred to as "the English Church" because it was British funds that helped to restore the church after the floods of 1966.
The first church built here in the mid 14th century was dedicated to St Christopher and so his ststue is still over the door to this day. He was the patron saint of travellers and supposed to protect the boatmen who ferried passengers to and from the islands in the north of the Venetian lagoon.
However, the dedication was changed in the 15th century when the church was reconstructed after a statue of the Virgin Mary was found in a nearby vegetable garden (orto) and said to have miraculous powers.
The interior of the church is large, light and amazingly uncluttered for a catholic church. In fact it reminds me most of the Anglican church of St Barts in Brighton, England. There are some interesting works of art above the high altar.
This church is part of the Chorus Pass scheme for admission charges.
Santa Maria dei Derelitti is also known as Chiesa dell'Ospedaletto, being hospital for the poors and the working class of the carpenters who lived in the area around the church.
The church was designed by Andrea Palladio in 1575 and thanks to generous donations from benefactors has an opulent facade from 1670, work of the architect Baldassare Longhena. There church preserve valuable works of art in its interiors, from 17th and 18th century, by Jacopo Palma il Giovane e Gianbatistta Tiepolo.
It is situated on Calle della Barbaria delle Tole. Tole is Venetian name for the carpenters.
San Marcuola has been founded in the 9th-10th century and dedicated to St. Ermagota and St. Fortunato, but Venetians simply call it Marcuola. The church was famous for housing the right hand of John the Baptist, the one with which he had baptised Christ. San Marcuola was damaged in fire and rebuilt in 1343. The facade was to look very alike that of The Pieta but it remains unfinished above the plinth. The interior is retangular plan with with pair of altars at each corner. There is Tintoretto's "Last Supper" on the left wall of the apse.
The same I wrotte on my previous tip, goes for the church San Marcuola too. It attracted me when passing by, most of all because of its uniqe construction which seems to me like an early Romanesque style. The church is situated on the left bank of Canal Grande.
The church of San Martino have been founded in 650 but more reliable sources say it was at 1026. The current look is after rebuilding in 1546, to a design by Sansovino. The facade was changed again in 1897, by the architect Rupelo, who retained Sansovino's doorway. The interior is Greek cross plan with eight chapels at the corners.
There is lion's mouth on the front facade, it served for posting anonymous accusations of citizens' sinfullness.
San Samuele is attributed to the Biblical Samuel. The church is located in the eponymous campo and was built around 1000. It was destroyed in the early 12th century by two fires, but then completely reconstructed. As many other churches of Venice, San Samuele was reconstructed several times in its long history and its present look dates from 1685. The portico on the facade, now closed, is surmounted by loggia and was added in 1952.
The interior, over the higher altar, houses a 14th century crucifix attributed to Paolo Veneziano. San Samuele is the only Venetian church dedicated to an Old Testament prophet, it is also unique for its late-Gothic apse which remained intact.
The church of San Agnese was built in the 11th century but was closed for a very long period of time. It was remodeled in the Middle Ages in a way that original walls of the nave were never destroyed. San Agnese was only recently reopened for the public mass.
During rule of Napoleon Buonaparte in Venice Republic, the church was closed and stipped of its arts. As many other churches, where Napoleon ruled, it was used for the other purposes, becoming a lumber and coal warehouse.
According to legend, San Giovanni in Bragora was one of the seven original churches on the islands of Venice. Dedicated to St John the Baptist, the church had been founded at the beginning of the 8th century by St Magnus, the Bishop of Oderzo. It was restored in the 9th and the 12th centuries and rebuilt in 1475 in the Gothic style. Its brick facade is divided vertically by pilasters that mark the internal division of the church into nave and side aisles. Addition to its name is probably derived from the old dialectal word "bragolare", meaning the fishing trade, or from "bragola", meaning a market square, but another tradition states that the church took its name from the Greek "agora", which means simply "square".
The best known painting in this church is "Baptism of Christ", made by Cima da Conegliano. Among the others are "Washing of the Feet" by Jacopo di Antonio Negretti called Palma Giovane, "Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist and St Andrew" by Bartolomeo Vivarini, "Resurrection" by Alvise Vivarini…
Antonio Vivaldi, famous Venetian composer and violinist, and Pietro Barbo, later to be Pope Paul II were baptized in Church San Giovanni in Bragora.
San Giovanni in Bragora is located in Castello area on Campo Bandiera e Moro or De la Bragora, by Riva degli Schavioni.
During my visit at Christmas 2009, I'd read about there being a 'hidden open air chapel' near to San Francesco della Vigne. Although I spent some time trying to find it, I had to give up, as it was too dark. During my latest visit, I came across it by accident!
The home-made chapel is located in a sottoportego (covered passageway). Above one entrance, is a plaque (pic 2) which I think states that this is in memory of victims of war. I'm not sure, but I think it mentions victims of a bomb that destroyed inhabitants houses of Corte Nova-Numbers 1630-1636 and 1849-55 - (Hopefully someone can translate this for me. I can't find a name for it, but it would appear to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The chapel has two small altars facing each other, (with paintings of the Virgin Mary, and Madonna and child) and an attractive carved and painted ceiling (pic 5)
This area of Venice is well away from the tourist hot spots, and is quite an interesting place to just 'get lost' in. You can find some small shops selling groceries, electrical goods etc. Some 'hidden gems' like this chapel.
I've since found out that there was an air raid in August 1916, on Venice, with loss of lives in Cannaregio, and there was also an attack on Arsenale, with the destruction of a submarine, and loss of lives, which could have been the event recorded here.
In September a bomb fell in Piazza San Marco, steps away from the main entrance. If you look carefully on the ground, there is a simple stone paving slab that commemorates this event. Many churches were hit too, causing loss or damage to their structure and artworks.
Venice was the first ever intended target for bombing from the air, The first air-dropped bombs were used by the Austrians in the 1849 siege of Venice. Allegedly, two hundred unmanned balloons carried small bombs, were discharged, but very few actually made it to Venice - probably due to the wind currents of the lagoon.
It's difficult to describe how to find it-The nearest landmark church is San Francesco della Vigna.
Located on the corner of Calle Zorzi and Corte Nuova. From Campo Santa Giustina, take the southern alleyway and continue straight on - keep your eyes open for the street names.
This is one of Venices' 'Hidden Churches' - It's not too difficult to find though- it's sign posted from the Merceries- Leave San Marco Piazza under the Torre del Orologio and look for the small yellow sign. It is hidden from view under a sotoportego - Sotoportago Dei Armeni. I was quite keen to visit this church, as I was staying in the Armenian college in Dorsodura for my 4 night stay, and I had intended to visit the Armenian island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni later that day.
It is only open on Sundays at 10.30 or 11.00 hours for Mass. I arrived just after 11, and hung around until the service was over, then wandered in for a look around.
The small church was rich with incense smoke. An anti room in front of the church was filled with the small congregation- there appeared to be nearly 1 priest for every 3 worshipers!
I wandered into the church and just stood at the edge looking around. Facing me was the main alter, with 2 side alters. 14 pews faced the main alter. 4 incense burners hung from the ceiling.
Above was a domed cupola, painted blue, topped with a narrower 'chimney'.
I'm afraid that I didn't take any photo's, as I was only here for a very short look around before I was told that the church was closing. I'd like to return at my next visit to Venice.
This church is easily missed, as it sits between the shops and houses of the Strada Nuova.
From the Ca' d'Oro Vaporetto stop turn right, and the church is on the left hand side of the street.
My visit was on Christmas Eve, and the church was open for visitors to see the Presepe (Nativity Scene).
The main entrance is here on Strada Nuova, and its side door is in Calle del Cristo, reached via Ramo dell'Oca
The church was built around AD 1000 and re-modeled in the 17th century. I was surprised to find it was much larger, and surprisingly lighter inside, than I'd expected..
Inside are two canvasses from the Bottega del Bassano workshop, “Il Presepio” and “Cristo Deriso” by Heinz and Palma il Giovane (Palma the Younger)
Four statues of saints are located here too, after having been brought from the church of the Servi. They are thought to be the work of Antonio Rizzo.
The presepe was quite interesting- some mechanical movements and a water feature were included in the piece, with aspects of village life going on around the central nativity scene. A woman baking/rolling pastry/pasta? a man cutting wood etc.
As it was Christmas Eve, the figure of the Christ child was absent. (This would be placed in the crib at midnight)
A donations box was nearby for contributions. As I'd asked permission to take some photos, I put a few coins in.
Open daily from 9 am to 12 am.
In Dorsoduro, in particular Campo San Sebastian at the end of the Zattere by Rio di San Basegio
Begun in 1507 and consecrated about 50 years later, the Chiesa di San Sebastian effectively is Veronese. This was his local church and he's buried there. The lion's share of the paintings in the church is his, too. In particular, check out 'Scene della vita di Ester' (Scenes from the Life of Ester).
Other than that, there are relatively few decorations due to the regulations of the monastic order that the church belonged to, which demanded a particularly ascetic lifestyle. Lack of funds did not help either...