San Giacomo dall'Orio in Santa Croce area is one of the oldest Venetian churches. The original foundation of the building seems to date from the 9th century but the church was completely rebuilt in 1225. The churh was restored and modified in the 14th and the 15th centuries, the major renovation was undertaken in 1532 and the of Chapel of the Holy Sacrament was built in 1549. The origin of the name of the church is unknown. Possibilities include being named after a laurel – "lauro" that once stood nearby, a version of "dal Rio" – "of the river", or once standing on an area of dried-up swamp – "luprio".
Exterior of the San Giacomo dall'Orio is very austere, excluding, perhaps, square-plan bell tower built in the 13th century. The interior is beautiful, with quite unique, archaic atmosphere. Wooden keel roof with decorated wooden beams, built in late 14th or early 15th century and recently renovated, looks spectacularly.
San Giacomo dall'Orio treasures several paintings by Jacopo di Antonio Negretti called Palma Giovane considered to be the greatest of his achievements – "Passover", "Virgin and Child with Saints", "St Lawrence Giving the Wealth to the Poor", "The Martyrdom of St Lawrence"… Among the other paintings are "Virgin and Child with Saints" by Lorenzo Lotto, Veronese's "Doctors of the Church" and "Faith and the Holy Spirit"…
Although located on the square of the same name, one of the most beautiful Venetian squares – Campo San Giacomo dall'Orio, the church main facade and the portal face tiny Campiello del Piovan.
The site of church of San Sebastiano was occupied by a small monastery and hospice established in 1393 by Fra' Angelo of Corsica of the Congregation of San Girolamo. An oratory was added to the hospice in 1396. The oratory was enlarged and transformed into a church between 1455 and 1468. In 1506, the architect Antonio Abbondi called Scarpagnino designed a larger building rotated 90 degrees, with a classical facade facing the canal – on the east, unlike the previous, facing the tiny square on the north side; the work was completed in 1548. The church is dedicated to the martyr Saint Sebastian.
San Sebastiano treasures one of the Venice's major pictorial undertakings – series of 55 paintings created by Paolo Cagliari called Veronese, between 1555 and 1588. San Sebastiano was the parish church of Veronese and he was buried in it. His tomb is located near the entrance to the sacristy beneath the Bust of Paolo Veronese sculpted by Matteo Carneri in 1631.
The sacristy ceiling is decorated with the earliest of Veronese's works for San Sebastiano – "Coronation of the Virgin" and frescoes representing the Four Evangelists – St John, St Luke, St Mark and St Matthew. The three large paintings on the ceiling of the nave – "The Banishment of Vashti", "Esther Crowned by Ahasuerus" and "The Triumph of Mordecai", painted in 1556, tell a story of Esther, the Persian Queen who saved the Jews from persecution. Paintings on the left and the right wall of the church depict the life, deeds and martyrdom of Saint Sebastian – "St Sebastian Reproving Diocletian", "Martyrdom of St Sebastian", painted in 1558, "Sts Mark and Marcellinus Being Led to Martyrdom" and "Martyrdom of St Sebastian", painted in 1565. "Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints", painted during 1564 and 1565, dominates the altar of the chancel. Several frescoes of the upper part of the nave are very noticeable, above all – "Three Archers".
The wings of the organ, commissioned in 1558, are decorated with two Veronese's paintings – "Presentation in the Temple", visible when wings are closed, and "Healing of the Lame Man at the Pool of Bethesda", visible when wings are opened.
Although of not very attractive exterior, rather small, and off the beaten path, San Sebastiano is one of the churches with the most impressive paintings and it should not be missed.
The church of San Sebastiano is located in the Dorsoduro area by the Rio di San Sebastiano, approximately one hundred meters from its junction with the Canale della Giudecca.
San Giorgio dei Greci is Greek Orthodox church and the only Orthodox church in Venice. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, many Greeks found refuge in Venice. Their community became one of the largest and in 1526 they obtained permission to practice the orthodox rite and to acquire a piece of land in Castello area, where in 1536 they built the church designed by Sante Lombardo and Giovanni Antonio Chiona. The tall, slender facade of the church was designed by Baldassare Longhena. The bell tower was built between 1587 and 1617.
The rectangular interior of this very fine Renaissance church is dominated by the marble iconostasis with decorated panels in Byzantine style.
San Giorgio dei Greci is located in Castello area, sharp north from Santa Maria della Pieta church, in small yard by Rio dei Greci.
Madonna dell'Orto, one of the most beautiful "hidden" churches in Venice and "one of the greatest expressions of the Venetian Gothic" is settled in quiet and peaceful northern Cannaregio district. It was built in late 14th and reconstructed during 15th century. Originally dedicated to St Christopher, the church changed its name because an ancient statue of Virgin, found in a nearby garden and considered to be miraculous, was brought there. The portal of the church, designed by Bartolomeo Bon, is decorated with statue of St Christopher Carrying the Christ Child artwork of Nicolo di Giovanni called Fiorentino, architect and the sculptor of, probably, Croatian origin. At the top of side naves are twelve statues of the Apostles – six on each. There is a legend about one of thirty silver coins, Judas' award for betraying Christ, being there, inside the sculpture of Judas. At the upper part of central nave there is Virgin Annunciate, another sculpture by Nicolo di Giovanni.
Madonna dell'Orto is the best known for the works of Jacopo Robusti called Tintoretto. Tintoretto lived nearby the church, he had been a parishioner of Madonna dell’Orto and, finally he had been buried in it. Tintoretto's six large canvases and four smaller ones are in Madonna dell'Orto. Eight of them are in the Chancel – all of the four smaller and the four of the large ones – "Moses Receiving the Tables of the Law", "The Last Judgment", "The Martyrdom of St Paul" and "The Vision of St Peter". The remaining two are the oldest one – "The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple" and the one painted the last – "The Miracle of St Agnes". Tintoretto's paintings in Madonna dell'Orto were made during the period of about 25 years.
Even in treasure box such as Venice, Madonna dell'Orto is very special jewel and it must not be missed.
Church San Pietro di Castello is on the island San Pietro di Castello – isolated and peaceful part of Venice. There were church at the same place since 7th century, first dedicated to SS. Sergio and Bacco, and then it seems that it was rebuilt by Bishop Magnus in honour of St Peter, and, in honour of the island, it was named San Pietro di Castello. San Pietro di Castello was the he Cathedral of Venice until 1807, when the title passed to St Mark's. After several reconstructions, it was "redesigned" by Andrea Palladio in the 16th century. Paintings in this church are made by Marco Basaiti ("St Peter Enthroned and Four Saints"), Luca Giordano ("Virgin and Child with Souls in Purgatory"), Tizian, Paolo Caliari Veronese, Alessandro Varotari Padovanino…
There is so-called Throne of St Peter, presented to the Doge by Byzantine Emperor Michael III, in San Pietro di Castello. This throne, according to legend, was used by St Peter during his apostolic mission to Antioch of which he was the first bishop. Throne of St Peter plays an important role in Corto Maltese’s adventure in Venice.
San Pietro di Castelo church is on the east side of Venice, and it can be reached by vaporetto ("San Pietro" station), or walking about 10 minutes north-east from Giardini.
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.
Santa Maria Formosa is not off the beaten path at all, it is church, built in 15th and 16th century, on the square of the same name, and square & church are among the most visited tourist locations for the two reasons: their beauty and their position – approximately on the half way from San Marco square to San Giovanni e Paolo square. But what is often missed is the mysterious and monstrous head on the bell tower, on its side opposite of the church portal.
We couldn’t find out anything more about it for quite a some time, but Ingrid (VT Trekki) has managed to do that. Here is the quotation from The Stones of Venice by John Ruskin about the subject of this tip – "A head, huge, inhuman and monstrous, leering in bestial degradation, too foul to be either pictured or described, or to be beheld for more than an instant; yet let it be endured for that instant; for in that head is embodied the type of evil spirit to which Venice was abandoned in the fourth period of her decline; and it is well that we should see and feel the full horror of it on this spot, and know what pestilence it was that came and breathed upon her beauty; until it melted away like the white cloud from the ancient field of Santa Maria Formosa."
I am not sure if San Giorgio Maggiore is off beaten path – it is visible from Piazzeta San Marco and it can be easily reached by vaporetto ("San Giorgio" station), but whenever I entered it, it was empty or almost empty!
San Giorgio Maggiore is church on the island of the same name. It is artwork of Andrea Palladio, one of the most famous and the most influental architects. The building of this church, which began in 1566 and the facade was completed in 1610, 30 years after Palladio's death. The church is a beautiful example example of Palladio's architectural style, and one of the finest buildings he designed. The bell tower, first built in 1467, fell in 1774 and it was rebuilt in 1791. It is open to public, easily accessible and offers an amazing view of Venice. The Benedictine monks still officiate in the church.
Among the artworks inside the church are replica of Vittore Carpaccio's masterpiece "St George and the Dragon", influential Jacopo Bassano's "Adoration of the Shepherds"… But the most precious of artworks treasured in San Giorgio Maggiore are three paintings made by Jacopo Robusti called Tintoretto: "Entombment", "The Jews in the Desert" and the most famous of all, artist's masterpiece, one of his latest (if not the last) and his best artworks – "The Last Supper". Tintoretto painted the Last Supper several times in his life, his paintings of the Last Supper are in Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Santo Stefano and San Polo churches, and it is very interesting to compare one in San Giorgio Maggiore with his earlier paintings of the same subject.
Mysterious and monstrous head appears from the bell tower of early 17th century Church of San Trovaso in Dorsodurao area. This head, similar to the one on the bell tower of Santa Maria Formosa, looking less deformed but more wicked, probably "embodies the evil spirit". The head faces Fonmdamenta Sangiofoletti.
Often described as a jewel box, but also compared to an oversized sarcophagus, the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli is one of the most remarkable and the most beautiful Venetian Renaissance buildings. Squeezed between Rio di San Lio and narrow street dividing it from back side of Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel, this church is very special, both in historical and artistic aspects – it was designed, built and decorated by a single artist and his workshop, possibly all at the same time or in two almost concurrent stages, and, erected more recently than almost all the other churches in Venice – it has survived almost intact.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli was built between 1481 and 1489 or 1491, to a design by Pietro Lombardo, who was assisted by his sons Antonio and Tulio. The church was built to house Nicolo di Pietro's 1408 painting of "Virgin between two Saints", which is said to perform miracles. This painting, known also known as "I Miracoli" – "The Miraculous" is still displayed over the main altar. The building of the church is an architectural marvel – the facade is inlaid with polychrome marble panels in geometrical patterns, and this ornamental scheme is continued in the interior; the whole structure is crowned with an elegant semi-circular gable. The marble used for the Santa Maria dei Miracoli is, according to legend, material recovered from the building of the Basilica di San Marco.
The facade of the church is decorated with refined work of Venetian sculptor of Greek birth or descent – Giorgio Lascaris called Pyrgoteles depicting "Virgin and Child", carved about 1480.
The church has recently been restored – the ten year project, which cost about 3.000.000 $, supervised by the Venetian architect Mario Piana, was completed in 1998.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli is a popular Venetian wedding venue.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli is pretty hidden in the labyrinth of narrow Venetian streets. The easiest way to find it is to walk from Campo dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, via Calle Larga G. Gallina and Fondamenta Piovan to the altar, north east side of the church. Santa Maria dei Miracoli can be seen from Campo Santa Maria Nova.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli has suffered from rising damp - hardly surprising considering its position surrounded by water -and has undergone restotation many a time. This "jewellery box" of a church is adorned with marble slabs and bas-relief thanks to its designer Pietro Lombardo (built 1481-9).The marble used for the church is said to have been that left over from the building of St. Mark’s Cathedral.
The interior is just as ornate and I could just imagine a long wedding train sweeping up those steps to the altar - truly a romatic setting for a wedding. Its name derives from miracle working icon - enshrined in the main altar - said to have resucitated a drowned man.
San Pantalon - I'd never heard of Fumiani until I went to Venice, but he painted one helluva fantastic ceiling here in the late 1600's. His dark, winged vision of the martyrdom of Saint Pantalon is spectacular, very much a 3-D illusionistic work. You'd never guess by the plain look of the church on the outside. At Campo San Pantalon, in Dorsoduro.
Open only from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, Monday through Saturday.
"[…] In 1576 Doge Alvise Mocenigo invoked the end of the epidemic and the salvation of the city by constructing a votive temple 'which successors will go and visit, in perpetual memory of the grace received'. The first stone of the new shrine was laid in May 1577, and on the third Sunday in July of the same year Doge Sebastiano Venier proclaimed Venice free of contagion and asked Andrea Paladio to design the church which was completed in 1593. […]"
Santissimo Redentore – Church of the Most Holy Redeemer stands on the Giudecca island, on the waterfront of Canale della Giudecca. It is Andrea Paladio's masterpiece, although his first intention – to build a round church inspired by the Pantheon in Rome was not accepted, but his back-up plan based on elongated Latin cross and massive dome. Palladio did not live to see the church finished. His work, in accordance with his plans, was completed by architect Antonio Da Ponte. Facade of the church is typical Palladian – elegant and white, of a classical calm. Wide staircase of fifteen steps, which is reference to the Temple of Jerusalem, match the diameter of the dome. Above the center of tympanum stands the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Santissimo Redentore interior is spacious and bright. There can be seen some very noticeable artworks – Alvise Vivarini's "Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Child", "Baptism of Christ", painted by Paolo Cagliari called Veronese, "David and Achimelech" by Jacopo di Antonio Negretti called Palma Giovane… But the most impressive is beautiful, turbulent "Resurrection of Christ", masterpiece of Francesco Bassano.
In the church are wax portraits of the monastery abbots displayed under glass bell jars. Unfortunately we have heard about them to late and we have not seen them. It is the task for the future time.
Santissimo Redentore is the venue of the traditional Festa del Redentore – Festival of the Redeemer, annual celebration of the end of the plague that struck Venice in the 16th century.
Santissimo Redentore is visible from Piazzeta San Marco and it can be reached by vaporetto, "Redentore" station, starting from "San Zacaria Danieli" station.
San Giorgio dei Greci - the smell of incense is my most vivid impression from this Greek Orthodox church in Castello. It's in a pleasant, green courtyard on a canal by the Ponte dei Greci. The inside is small, peaceful, and intimate, full of beautiful mosaics and Byzantine icons done by iconographers from Crete in the 1500's.
There are so many churches in Venezia, almost like mission impossible to visit each one of them. I've took this picture from vaporetto when passing by. Later on, when I come back home, I saw its name on the map of the town and unfortunatelly it is all I know about.