The church of SS. Gervasio e Protasio was first built in the 9th century by two families, Barbarigo and Caravella. The church was burned down in fire in 1105 but rebuilt in 1583 to a design by Francesco Smeraldi, a pupil by Andrea Palladio. The church has two identical facades so that two rival families, the Nicolotti and Castellani could each have the entrance of equal importance. It's one of funny legend about Venetians who enjoy in quarrelings. The church is commonly known as San Trovaso, which is Venetian name for both saints.
The interior of the church is Latin cross with six chapels along the nave. It is rich of very notable works of art by Domenico Tintoretto, his son Jacopo and Palma il Giovane.
The islet where the original church of San Nicolo dei Mendicoli (Saint Nicholas of the Beggars) was located, previously housed poor fishermen, hence the addition of "mendicoli" to the name of San Nicolo. When the church was built, from then on the inhabitants were called Nicolotti.
The present structure of San Nicolo dates from the 12th century but it seems that the church has been founded in the 7th century. I was couple of time here, around the church, but it was always closed. A local guy told me it has beautiful unteriors. The church is one of only two churches in Venice with the covered porch. The porch used to provide shelter for the poor and homeless people, and a place for women to pray.
San Nicolo was Greek Bishop known for his generosity and anonymous girfts to the poor people. He was the most popular saint in the medieval times and patron saint of working class; fishermen, sailors, shipbuilders and small merchants.
The first church on this site, built of wood, has been founded in 797 and dedicated to San Vittorio.
Beautiful facade of the church dedicated to San Moise, or San Moise profeta, is almost hidden inside the area around Piazza San Marco. It also honours Moise Venier who paid for its rebuilding in 9th century.
The current church is from 1632 while its facade dates from 1668 to the designs of the architect Alessandro Tremignon. The reconstruction was paid for by the Fini family, Vincenzo Fini was the Procurator of San Marco. The elaborate front facade is in Baroque style and covered in carvings, looking very theatrical and made to glory the Fini's. All the docorations, including sculptures in the interiors, are by Flemish sculptor Heinrich Meyring, whom Venetians used to call Merengo.
The bell tower dates from the 14th century with fired brick spired.
The Church of San Giovanni Grisostomo has been founded in 1080 but the original church burned down in 1475. In 1497 famous Venetian architect Mauro Codussi made new design for the church. It wasn't easy work because the church is squezeed into a small and crowded campo. The church was completed in 1525 by Domenico Codussi, after death of his father.
The campanile dates from the late 16th century. The interiors had Greek cros plan ringed by apses. The church interiors preserving notable works of art by Lombardo and Bellini.
The original church of San Lorenzo have been founded in the 6th or 7th century, with the Benedictine convent established in 863. The church was rebuilt several times and it current look dates from the reconstruction 1592-1602, but its facade was never ever started. I have visited this spot many times and each times some reconstruction works were on it.
The church was rich of art works which have been dispersed during this reconstractions. Just to mentione, Marco Polo had been buried in San Lorenzo but his sarcophagus was lost during one the reconstructions.
Campo San Toma is, at least to me, the most beautiful square in whole of Sestiere San Polo. The whole square is dominated by the white marble facade of the church dedicated to San Toma Apostolo. It was founded in 917 with money from the Miani family and restored later on in several ocasions. The facade from 1652, designed by Longhena, was replaced as it was about to fall down. It was replaced in the mid of 18th century with classical facade by Francesco Bognolo.
Opposite to San toma Apostolo stands Scoletta di Callegheri, built in 1446, which is seat of the Brotherhood of shoemakers and cobblers. Calleghieri is Venetian expression for the shoemakers.
The first church was erected here in the 11th century and was later on reconstructed several times. The current version dates from the 18th century, while the facade from the mid of 19th century. The brick work bell tower is most probably from the 12th century and has two thin Romanesque mullioned windows at the base. The interor of the church has rather sober walls.
The church of San Geremia is object of pilgrimages and wide devotion for the presence of the relics of Santa Lucia (St. Lucy).
The church of San Vio is the smallest and the cutes church in Venice. It is also known as Chiesa di SS. Vito e Modesto, dedicated to a couple of Sicilian saints, San Vito and San Modesto. Originally the church was built in 912 and had much bigger proportions, but was demolished in 1813. This small church was built at the same spot, re-using material and decorative elements from the previous church.
Chiesa di SS. Vito e Modesto was open one day per year only, June 15, for St. Vito's feast day. Today it is a private property.
Without the slightest planning, we happened upon the Church of San Giacometo (Named in honor of St. James) while walking to the Piazza San Marco via the Rialto Market area. It wasn't until sometime after the trip that my research revealed we had walked by the oldest church in Venice without even knowing it!!
Some sources record the original San Giacometo Church as having been consecrated on March 25, 421 A.D. -- the same year that Venice was founded. The present structure dates from the 11th-12th century, and the grand clock on the facade dates from 1410. It was the only building to survive a devastating fire around 1513. At the behest of Doge Marino Grimaldi, the interior was renovated and/or restored including raising the floors to avoid flooding.
As you can see in the accompanying photo, the facade is quite unusual as it has "the only Gothic porch to remain intact in Venice.." The porch or portico built of wood and stone is supported by slender columns. Above the demi-lune window and grand clock, you will see three graceful arches housing 3 bells (some may be reminded of similar features in the early mission churches of California). Frankly, because of its exterior, I did not readily comprehend that this was a church at all.
As the church is located in Rialto, the oldest part of Venice, its history is also intertwined with not only the origins of the Rialto Market in 1097, but built for the use of its merchants. Although I did not personally see it, there is an inscription engraved on a 12th century cross of the outside apse which, in the name of the Lord, invokes merchants to be honest not only with weights and measures but also in contracts.
The church is basically a part of the Rialto Market, and much of its interior was financed by the merchants or guilds but it is not clear if certain chapel altars were built specifically for the use of particular types of merchants or not.
Can it be that the people of Venice live with so much beauty on a daily basis that one place is much like another in their eyes? This might be the case with the "Church of St. Mary of Nazareth". The first indication is that the church has many monikers. It is commonly known as "Chiesa degli Scalzi"; however, a third name is also mentioned in some quarters --- the "Church of the Barefoot Ones," so called for the Barefoot Carmelite monks who have made this church their home for more than three centuries.
Although it has been named a National Monument, the church seems to fly below the radar for many tourists. It is also only a stone's throw from the simply designed, verdigris domed church, "Chiesa San Simeon Piccolo", which is just across the Grand Canal which seems to garner more attention.
Built between 1660 and 1680 by Baldessara Longhena, the magnificent church lies at the foot of the Ponte degli Scalzi in Cannaregio. Were it not for its heavily adorned, dazzling white facade and deep coral paint, the church's more modest doors would belie the treasures hidden inside. Designed by Giuseppe Sardi, the facade can hardly be ignored because of its 20-paired columns, and statuary. I was determined to visit it as soon as my luggage was safely ensconced at the Hotel Antiche Figure and though I barely could scratch the surface of the treasures it holds that first day, I also felt privileged to attend Mass there (said in Italian, not Latin).
The Chiesa degli Scalzi has 6 side-altars or chapels, each a work of art in its own right with devotion to a saint, the crufix or Holy Family. Each was designed by a different artist or sculptor, with magnificent and varied colors of marble, gilded wood carvings, paintings and more.
In the "Chapel of the Holy Family," the last Doge of Venice, Ludovico Manin is buried with family members at the foot of the altar. The ceiling and the High Altar and presbytery are so striking that I felt my eyes drawn to them more than any other feature of the church.
Also along the sides of the nave are several confessionals where confessions were being heard during Mass--something quite different from home.
See the next tip for more detail.
Hours open to the public: 7 - 11:50am; 4 - 6:50pm
There are 3 daily masses and a recitation of the rosary. Weekend masses are numerous.
If you want to escape the jostling of San Marco take the motoscafo Linea 2 (the former 82 is now nr 2) in S. Zaccharia and cross the Bacino of San Marco. There is, in my opinion, nothing more grandiose in Venice than the square of San Giorgio Maggiore with the gleaming white Renaissance facade and the incomparable view on the Piazza, Ducal Palace, the Dogana and S. Maria della Salute.
The present church was built on the plans of Andrea Palladio between 1566 and 1610.
San Giorgio is typical of the late Renaissance. It is well lit, airy, and symmetrical. Thermal, clerestory windows bring light to the side chapels and to the nave. My photos 4 & 5 show the high altar and behind it the wooden choir with the sculpted stalls for the monks and carved scenes of the life of St. Benedict.
The main attraction of San-Giorgio is the campanile 75 m high. (Entrance left of the choir). The present campanile was built in 1791; the previous one from 1467 tumbled down in 1774. The one of San Marco tumbled down in 1902.
During a previous visit, ten years ago, we found that the elevator was very slow and somewhat shaky but the price was only 1000 LIT (= 0, 50 €). Nowadays it is fast but costs 3€ (inflation in Venice is far ahead from any other town!).
Most of the time there is no queue, what is a marked advantage over San Marco's campanile.
The landscape in all directions is amazing: the whole of Venice, the lagoon with its green waters, all the islands of which the biggest, the Lido, in the south and beyond the Adriatic Sea.
In the Northwest: the airport, Mestre and the industries of Marghera. We were able, on an exceptionally clear day, to perceive the line of the Dolomites in the distance!
At the feet of the bell tower extends the former monastery, now Cini foundation, in a green environment.
Open: May to September 9.30-12.30 & 14.30-18.30 h.
October to April 9.30-12.30, & 14.30-16.30 h.
Free entrance to the church.
Campanile (2011) 3 €.
Outside, on the left of the church there is a small harbour for sailboats with a nice hexagonal lighthouse at the entrance and further a little bar. It could be a great place for a restaurant with terrace but there is none.
Church San Giovanni in Bragora dedicated to St John the Baptist, 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…
According to legend, San Giovanni in Bragora was one of the seven original churches on the islands of Venice. Another legend says that on the spot where the church now stands once stood the little church of St Mark, where, tradition has it, on his return from Aquileia St Mark the Evangelist greeted an angel with the words "Pax tibi Marce Evangelista meus", which form the motto of the Republic of Venice.
Antonio Vivaldi, famous Venetian composer and violinist, and Pietro Barbo, later to be Pope Paul II were baptized in Church San Giovanni in Bragora.
VAPORETTO - SAN ZACCARIA
The Church of La Pieta - or Santa Maria della Visitazione was originally a convent, built by Father Pietruccio of Assisi to gather foundlings. There was a convent here as early as 1346.
The Fathers familiar cry of "Pietà, pietà!“, as he begged for charitable alms, gave the name to the convent.
The convent expanded over the years.
It became so popular that a plaque was sited on the outer wall in 1548, promising damnation to families who tried to pass off their children as orphans - the plaque can still be seen on the side wall, in Calle dell Pieta (Pic 2)
From 1735 -1738 the orphans choir conducted by Antonio Vivaldi in the church attracted fame. (From 1704 - 18 he had been the violin master)
While here, Vivaldi wrote numerous vocal pieces, oratorios and cantatas for the choir
Every Palm Sunday, the doge visited the Orphanage.
The convent was re-built between 1745 and 1760 by Giorgio Massari.
Vivaldi probably advised on the acoustics, although he died before construction began.
In 1906 the Classical facade was added.
The building became more of a concert hall than a church, attended by Venetians and visitors.
In the 18th Century, the area in front of La Pieta was widened, typical of the era of 'Showiness'. Sadly at the same time, Massari's planned improvements for the orphanage were cancelled - Due to lack of funding!
The interiors' ceiling is covered in a fresco by Giambattista Tiepolo 'Triumph of Faith' which dates from 1755.
La Pieta is a popular concert venue for musical performances, mainly Vivaldi pieces throughout the year. Some guide books sniffily refer to these as 2nd rate performances of Vivaldis classic pieces.
Open June - Oct 10.00 - 12.00 and 15.30 -18.30 daily - Sunday open morning only.
I've just recently caught part of a programme on BBC4 called Vivaldis Women, which had some interesting information about La Pieta
Look at the stone relief over the main doorway - A figure of the Madonna and infant is the work of the 19th Century artist - E. Marsili, titled 'Charity' It's unusual, in that the baby Jesus is held informally, with its arms clasping her neck - (see picture 3)
UPDATE DEC 2009 - I managed to see inside - Strictly no photos allowed - Post cards 1 Euro each!!!!!!!
If you continue down C/de Pieta, you arrive in Campo Bandiera e Moro and see the place where Vivaldi was baptised- S. Giovanni in Bragora - look for the plaque on the outside wall of the church, and the font inside.
This church is just one of the many we got to visit in Venice, but it's the one that stands out the most in my mind because of its unique architecture: the church has two identical facades, one facing the canal (as shown in the first picture) and another one at a 90° angle facing the campo. The story goes that the church was built in the area where lived two rival families, the Castellani and Nicolotti. During the 16th century, when plans were made to build a new church to replace the one that was getting too old, a decision was made to build two separate entrances so that both families could attend mass without ever having to see each other. I guess this story about the Montagues and Capulets wasn't so far fetched after all!
Santa Lucia, one of Italy's most beloved saints, was born in the city of Syracuse, in Sicily. Saint Lucy's day is celebrated on December 13 in many coutries around the world, and it usually involves the lighting of candles since Santa Lucia is known as the patron saint of the blind. As part of the strange custom of worshipping holy relics, parts of the saint's body were initially scattered throughout Italy, France and Germany. However, the bulk of her body was brought to Venice by one of the city's doges in the early 13th century. Her relics were first deposited in the church of Santa Lucia, but when the latter was demolished to make way for the train station that bears its name, the saint's body was transferred to the nearby church of San Geremia, where numerous pilgrims come to pay their respect every year. The 13th century church is open to visitors free of charge.