The church has its origins in a painting of the Virgin, placed at the corner of a house, and considered miraculous by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood.
Between 1481 and 1489 (a remarkably short time) Pietro Lombardo built this little church that is in fact a miracle of delicate elegance with its facade covered with polychrome marbles, colored green serpentine, yellow, white and red porphyry.
The church is even prettier because its façade is overlooking a campo; the left side is bordered by a canal and the other sides overlooking small streets.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli is much in favour of photographers and often used for weddings.
The interior is surprising because a steep staircase leads to the chorus that is markedly enhanced compared to the nave. The chorus has a balustrade with four statues and two polygonal pulpits, all in polychrome marble.
All walls are covered with white marble, pink and serpentine, decorated with bas-reliefs and inlays. The barrel vaulted ceiling is divided in fifty coffers decorated with paintings of prophets and saints.
The church is a marvel of Renaissance architecture. The marble has been used as part of marquetry.
Open for visits: Monday - Saturday, 10.00 - 17.00 h. Price 3 €.
[…] Among the artworks in San Zaccaria are frescoes by Andrea del Castagno representing God the Father, St John the Baptist, St John the Evangelist and St Mark, a series of polyptychs by Antonio Vivarini – "Polyptych of the Body of Christ", "Polyptych of the Virgin" and "Santa Sabina Polyptych", Tintoretto's "Birth of St John the Baptist", Van Dyck's "Crucifixion"… But, above all, there is magnificent "Madonna and Child with Saints" painted in 1505 by Giovanni Bellini, who had been at that time about 80 years old. This painting is considered to to be "one of the most beautiful and refined works of the master". Albrecht Durer, who was especially influenced by Giovanni Bellini, had seen this painting in 1506 and he had written about Bellini comparing him to the other Venetian painters: "He is very old, and still he is the best painter of them all".
If not for any other reason, San Zaccaria should not be missed because of Bellini's masterpiece.
[…] Opposite of the entrance door, the painting that grabs the first look is grandiose "Marriage in Cana" painted by Jacopo Robusti called Tintoretto. On the back wall of the sacristy, on the left as visitor enters, there is an early Titian's masterpiece – "St Mark Enthroned with Saints" surrounded by latter tondos representing the Four Evangelists: St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke and St John, as well as the Doctors of the Church: St Jerome, St Augustine, St Ambrose, and St Gregory the Great. Titian also painted the tree magnificent ceiling canvases – "Cain and Abel", "David and Goliath" and "The Sacrifice of Isaac".
Santa Maria della Salute has its place in Serbian culture as it was the inspiration for one of the greatest poems in Serbian language – "Santa Maria della Salute" written by Laza Kostic in 1909.
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.
San Giacomo dall'Orio is one of the oldest churches of Venice. 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.
Church of San Pantaleone Martire, known as San Pantalon in the Venetian dialect, is located on square of the same name. It is dedicated to Saint Pantaleon, martyr and healer from Nicomedia (present day Izmit, a city in Turkey). The church was established in the earliest history of Venice but it is not known even the exact century. In the early 11th century – in 1009 it was rebuilt, then renovated in 1222. In a state of collapse, it was pulled down in 1668 and rebuilt more solidly. Another reconstruction occurred in 1745. The most recent reconstructions and conservations of the paintings in the church were undertaken in 70s and 80s of 20th century.
San Pantalon is particularly well-known for the stupendous painting, considered to be the largest painting on canvas in the world – "The Martyrdom and Apotheosis of St Pantalon", artwork of Gian Antonio Fumiani which he painted from 1680 until 1704. Approximate dimension of the painting is 25×50 m, and it covers the whole of the ceiling of the church. Fumiani putatively died from a fall from a scaffold, although some sources date his death to six years after he had completed his work on this canvas. He was buried in San Pantalon church.
Other notable works include Trecento masterpiece "Madonna of the Poppy" by Paolo Veneziano, "Coronation of the Virgin" by Antonio Vivarini and Giovanni d'Alemagna in the Chapel of the Holy Nail and "St Pantalon healing a Boy" or "Conversion of St Pantaleon", probably the last work of Paolo Veronese, originally commissioned for the high altar.
Church Santa Maria Formosa dominates the square of the same name. The church dates back to the 7th century and, according to tradition, it was founded by St Magnus, bishop of Oderzo. The name "formosa" relates to an alleged appearance of the Holy Virgin disguised as a fashionable woman. The church was restored several times, particularly in the 9th and 12th centuries, and finally rebuilt in 1492 by Mauro Codussi. But when Codussi died in 1504, he had still not begun work on the facades which long remained unfinished. Almost 40 years later, in 1542 Capello family financed construction of the Renaissance-style facade facing the channel. The Baroque facade, facing the square, was completed one century afrer Codussi’s dead – in 1604, and work was financed by the same Capello family. The bell tower is the 17th century Baroque addition too.
Among the most remarkable artworks in Santa Maria Formosa are "Triptych of Madonna of Misericordia" by Bartolomeo Vivarini, "Polyptych of St Barbara" by Jacopo Negretti called Palma Vecchio, "The Last Supper" by Leandro Bassano…
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.
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.
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.
Although there is Cima da Conegliano masterpiece "St John the Baptist with Saints" in Madonna dell'Orto, this church 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, along with his son Domenico and daughter Marietta.
To be continued in PART II…
Basilica Santa Maria della Salute was built in the 17th century, as the gratitude to Virgin Mary, after ending of plague epidemic in 1630. It was designed by Venetian architect Baldassare Longhena who was 33 years old when he received the commission in 1631. He worked on the project intermittently for the rest of his life but died five years prior to its completion in 1687. The volutes, the large dome, the statues and the stairs make Santa Maria della Salute exterior a spectacular sight, which, accompanied with its dominant position made Santa Maria della Salute one of the most recognizable symbols of Venice.
The interior of Santa Maria della Salute is octagonal with robust arches at the sides divided by columns, on which rest the frame and tambour of the dome. The marble floor is decorated with an exquisite spiral mosaic which depicts the thirty-two roses of the Virgin Mary's rosary.
There is a profusion of notable artworks in Santa Maria Della Salute. Since the November 1670 the centre of the High Altar, designed by Longhena and executed by Josse de Corte, is the place of the famous "The Madonna della Salute", made in the 12th century. Among the artworks in the side altars are "Presentation of Mary at the Temple" painted by Luca Giordano and Titian's "The Descent of the Holy Ghost". The large sacristy, which connects the basilica to the adjacent Seminary building treasures some of the greatest Venetian paintings.
To be continued in PART II…
[…] The sacristy ceiling of the church 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 – "Monk with a Black Boy", "St Sebastian"… and brilliant "Three Archers".
Organ, commissioned in 1558, was cast by Maestro Domenico da Treviso who agreed to follow Veronese's special design, and carved & gilded by Maestro Francesco Fiorentino and Maestro Bartolomeo Bolognese. Veronese decorated the wings of the organ with two 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.
San Zaccaria is located on the square of the same name – Campo San Zaccaria. It is dedicated to San Zaccaria – Saint Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, whose relics it claims to possess.
The church was founded in the 9th century. After that it was reconstructed several times – between 1444 and 1465 the architect, Antonio Gambello rebuilt it in a Gothic style, and after Gambello's death in 1481 Mauro Codussi added its present day beautiful Renaissance marble facade.
The crypt of the church, which is prone to flooding, contains the tombs of nine former doges.
To be continued in PART II…
[…] 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 – allegorical figures representing Strength, Prudence, Justice and Temperance, 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.
The painting "The Madonna and Child" by Giovanni Bellini used to be in Madonna dell'Orto, but it had been stolen from it for the third time in 1993 and its present whereabouts is unknown.
Even in treasure box such as Venice, Madonna dell'Orto is very special jewel and it must not be missed.
Church of San Rocco was built by Scuola Grande di San Rocco, approximately at the same time – between 1489 and 1508. It was designed by Bartolomeo Bon, but was substantially altered in 1725. The facade of the church, work of architect Bernardino Maccaruzzi was built between 1761 and 1765. The church is dedicated to San Rocco – St Roch of Montpelier who was declared a patron saint of the city in 1576 and whose relics rest in the church. Every year, on St Roch feast day, August the 16th, the Doge had used to make a pilgrimage to the church. This custom had ended with the last pilgrimage in 1796, less than a year before Napoleon had conquered Venice and the last Doge had abdicated.
The painter assigned to make paintings for Scuola Grande di San Rocco – Jacopo Robusti called Tintoretto, made several paintings for the church as well – "St Roch in the Hospital", "St Roch in Prison Visited by an Angel"… Among the other paintings in Church of San Rocco are "St Martin and St Christopher" painted by Giovanni Antonio de Sacchis called Pordenone and Sebastiano Ricci's "St Francis of Paola Resuscitating a Dead Child".