Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Known by all simply as the Frari, this huge, plain Gothic church dwarfs the eastern section of San Polo. The first church here was built by Franciscan friars in 1250 – 1338, but was replaced by a larger building completed in the mid-15th century.
The interior is striking for its works of art, including masterpieces by Giovanni Bellini and Titian, a statue by...
Basilica di San Marco
The awesome Basilica di San Marco is built on a Greek cross plan. Crowned with five huge domes, it is the third church to stand on this site. The first, built to enshrine the body of St Mark in the 9th century, was destroyed by fire. The second was pulled down in the 11th century in order to make way for a more spectacular church, designed by an unknown architect, reflect...
Deconsecrated six times on account of the murder and violence that took place within its walls, Santo Stefano today is remarkably serene. Built in the 14th century, radically altered in the 15th century, the church has a notable carved portal by Bartolomeo Bon, and a campanile with a typical Venetian tilt.
The interior has a splendid ship’s keel ceiling, carved beams, and ...
San Pietro di Castello
Formerly attributed to Andrea Palladio it’s design is more likely the result of colaboration between the monks and the architects of the Venetian Renaissance. Like St. George and St. Francesco delle Vigna, this church celebrates Venetian knowledge in the fields of Science and Religion. In fact, it served as the Cathedral (the teaching church) of Venice until 1807, when...
Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta di Torcello
The Santa Maria Assunta was founded in 639 A.D. It stands in a lonely meadow beside an 11th century campanile. The Byzantine mosaics are the leading lights here. Clutching her child, the weeping Madonna is a magnificent sight, and on the opposite wall is a powerful Last Judgement.
Byzantine artisans, it seems, were at their best in portraying hell a...
Santa Maria del Rosario ai Gesuati
The church of the Gesuati makes a good stopping point on a walk along the Zattere. This wonderful rococo church, also known as Santa Maria del Rosario, stands four-square on the waterfront. Its façade was built for the Dominicans between 1726 and 1743 and was designed by Giorgio Massari, who commissioned paintings and frescoes of Saint Dominic and other sain...
San Giorgio Maggiore
Appearing like a stage set across the water from the Piazzetta, the little island of San Giorgio Maggiore has been captured on canvas countless times.
The church and monastery, built between 1559 and 1580, are among Andrea Palladio’s greatest architectural achievements. The church’s temple front and the spacious, serene interior with its perfect proportions and cool b...
Church of San Zulian
On the busy Mercerie, the church of San Zulian (or Giuliano) provides a refuge from the crowded alleys. Its interior features gilded woodwork, 16th and 17th century paintings, and sculptures. The central panel of the frescoed ceiling, portrays The Apotheosis of St Julian, painted in 1585 by Palma di Giovane.
The 16th century church façade was designed by Sansovino an...
Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato
Murano island’s architectural highlight is the Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato, whose magnificent apse is reflected in the waters of the San Donato canal. Despite some heavy-handed restoration undertaken in the 19th and 20th centuries, this 12th century church retains much of its original beauty. The galleries running round the apse probably housed wooden ...
Santi Giovanni e Paolo
More commonly known as San Zanipolo, Santi Giovanni e Paolo is second only to the Frari as the city’s great Gothic church. Built in the late-13th to early-14th centuries by Dominican friars, it is striking for its enormous dimensions and architecture.
Known as the Pantheon of Venice, Santi Giovanni e Paolo houses monuments to no less than 25 doges. Many of these ...
Santa Maria dei Carmini
Most visitors associate the Carmini with Tiepolo, whose dizzying work decorates the scuola of the same name. Santa Maria, now a parish church, was built originally as the Venetian heart of the Carmelite order. A statue of the Virgin of Carmelo is perched on top of its campanile. The original one was destroyed by lightning and was substituted with a new one in the ‘...
San Francesco della Vigna
The name “della Vigna” derives from a vineyard given to the Franciscans in 1253. The church, which the order built here in the 13th century, was rebuilt under Jacopo Sansovino in 1534, with a façade added in 1562-1572 by Palladio. The façade bears the following inscriptions in large bronze characters:
DEO UTRIUSQUE TEMPLI AEDIFICATORI AC REPARTORI ACCEDE AD HO...
Church of San Moise
One of the churches in Venice that people love to hate is San Moise, with its Baroque façade. Completed in 1668, it is covered in grimy statues, swags and busts. John Ruskin, in a characteristic anti-Baroque diatribe, described it as the clumsiest church in Venice.
The interior has a mixed collection of paintings and sculpture from the 17th and 18th centuries. In t...
This lovely Gothic church is frequently referred to as the English Church of Venice, for it was British funds that helped restore the building after the 1966 floods. The original church, founded in the mid-14th century, was dedicated to St Christopher, Patron Saint of travellers, to protect the boatmen who ferried passengers to the islands in the Northern lagoon.
San Giovanni in Bragora
The foundation of this simple church dates back to ancient times, but the existing building is essentially Gothic. The intimate interior has major works of art which demonstrate the transition from Gothic to early Renaissance.
Vivarinis, Bellinis and two very ancient icons embellish the church. On the main Altar, an extraordinary work from Cima da Conegliano shows the ...
San Giovanni Crisostomo
This pretty little terracotta-coloured church lies in a bustling quarter close to the Rialto. Built between 1479 and 1504, the church was the last work of Mauro Coducci.
The interior, built on a Greek plan, is dark and intimate. Notable works of art include Giovanni Bellini’s St Jerome with Saints Christopher and Augustine, which hangs over the first altar on th...
Founded in the 9th century, rebuilt in the 15th century, and revamped in the early 19th century in Neo-Classical style, the Church of San Polo lacks any sense of homogeneity. Yet it is worth visiting for individual features such as the lovely Gothic portal, and the Romanesque lions at the foot of the 14th century campanile. One lion holds a serpent between its paws and the other, a ...
It’s easy to hurry past the church of San Barnaba, the focal point of a waterside campo on the route between the Accademia and Campo Santa Margherita. Its foundations date from the 9th century, although this is the third church to be built on the site.
The present church dates from 1749. Architecturally, it is a reworking of the Gesuati, with a classical façade, Corinthian...
Santa Maria dei Miracoli
Santa Maria dei Miracoli, also known as the Marble Church, is located in the Sestiere of Cannaregio in Venice. The church, one of the finest examples of the Venetian Renaissance, utilizes colored marble, has a false colonnade on the exterior walls, and a semicircular pediment.
It was built between 1481 and 1489 by Pietro Lombardo and his sons to house a miraculous ico...