San Zaccaria has been rebuilt many times and this can be seen from outside. You can still see the red brick of the older part of the church and the marble facade of the newer church from Campo di San Zaccaria. This marble facade apparently shows a transition from gothic to renaissance architecture and so is one of the most important in Venice. The lower Gothic half is by Antonio Gambello whilst the upper half is by Mauro Coducci and was added after Gambello's death in 1481.
Inside the church (photography allowed, but no flash) it is quite dark which makes it quite an atmospheric place with some interesting works of art including Bellini's Madonna and child with saints .
The 'museum' for which there is a €1 entry fee comprises the chapels of St Athanasius and San Tarasio. The Cappella di San Tarasio has some lovely vault frescos by Andrea del Castagno and gothic polyptychs by Antonio Vivarini. Steps from the chapel lead down to the 9th century crypt which usually has a fair bit (an inch or two) of water in it, but the pathway is raised above the floor level slightly so as to avoid to much wet feet! The crypt contains the remains of eight Doges of Venice.
The little church of San Giovanni in Bragora in the Castello area of Venice is a small and intimate little church with some superb paintings inside. This was also the church in which the Venetian composer Vivaldi was baptised. The original font along with a copy of his baptismal documents are on display inside.
The square outside the church, Campo Bandiera e Moro, was also a pleasant and unusually quiet(for Venice) space.
Santa Maria della Salute is my favoured church in Venice, more than San Marco for a very practical reason: during my last two visits to Venice the queue at San Marco was so long that I abandoned any hope of getting inside, while at the "Salute" there was no queue and I could sit quietly on the steps of the square in front of the basilica with a splendid view on the Bacino di San Marco. Even better, there are no pigeons here.
The architectural reason for liking this church is obvious. In 1630 the architect Baldassare Longhena ((1598-1682)), then only 32 years old, was selected to design a new church dedicated to the Virgin Mary after Venice was delivered from the plague that had killed about a third of its population.
Longhena realized a work of a great beauty and homogeneity only completed in 1687, after his death. Santa Maria della Salute achieves perfection in the baroque style which is equalled by no other church of Venice.
The technical exploit is stunning, 1.106.657 piles of oak, alder and larch were needed for the foundations. On top of these 4 m long piles was build a platform called "zatterone" of oak and larch beams fixed together on which the actual stone construction could start.
The centrepiece of the structure is the church's great altar. The altar is sculpted with images of the Virgin and Child saving Venice from horrors of the plague epidemic of 1630.
The structure of the church is based on an octagonal space with six chapels radiating from the ambulatory. The floors in Santa Maria della Salute are decorated with beautiful ceramic tiles. To preserve these tiles people are not admitted in the central space (photo 4).
S. Maria della Salute is a landmark of Venice and has often been represented in paintings by Canaletto and Guardi (XVIIIth), and later Turner, Monet, Boudin, Pissaro, Sargent from the Grand Canal side or from de Bacino di San Marco.
Open daily: 9 -12 and 15 - 18h. Times may be subject to variation depending on services.
The church of San Giulian, commonly called San Zulian in Venetian dialect, is situated on the Merceria, the main shopping street of Venice. Originally it is structure from the 9th century but underwent a number of reconstructions. The front side was constructed by the great architect Jacopo Sansovino in a shape of flattered classical temple facade. It is parish church of San Salvador, or contrada as parish is called in the local dialect. The bronze bust of Jacopo Sansovine is above the portal.
The interiors is rich of valuable artistic works by famous medieval painters and sculptors, Paolo Veronese, Jacopo Palma il Giovane and Girolamo Campagna.
The church of Santa Maria del Rosario is commonly known as I Gesuiti, but it has nothing to do with the Jesuit Order. The order of Gesuiti, also called "I poweri Gesuiti" (poor jesuits) was founded in Siena, back in the 14th century, but they acquired welth from the privileges granted by the state, including monopoly of the destilation of wine.
Santa Maria del Rosario is an 18th century Dominican church made in classical style with Rococo decorations which are preserved in original form and intact.
Do not mix it with the church of Jesuit Order which is located in Sestiere of Cannaregio.
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.
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