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Basilica de Frari

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

The Basilica dei Frari, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, or the Friar Basilica is most commonly and most simply known as dei Frari, and Frari means brothers.  Here we will refer to it as dei Frari.  This church was originally built by the Franciscans and is somewhat somber as compared to other churches in Venice, but its gigantic size is comparable to that of the largest Venice church, the Basilica of San Marco.

Tizian's paintings at Basilica dei FrariOne famous masterpiece housed within dei Frari is the Assumption of the Virgin which is displayed over the main altar.  (The artist, Titian, is known as Tiziano Vecellio in Italian).  

Titian’s other glorious work of art housed in dei Frari is his Virgin of the Pesaro Family.  It is said that Titian’s wife posed for the painting depicting Mary and that she died in childbirth shortly thereafter.  Also worth noting is that Titian’s stately tomb is contained within dei Frari, as is Canova’s, the renowned Italian sculptor.  (A church is not referred to as a Basilica unless a tomb is contained within it.)

Triptych painting at Basilica dei FrariYet another masterwork displayed in dei Frari is Giovanni Bellini's triptych (a triptych is an artwork hinged together on three wooden panels), and Madonna and Child which is displayed in the room adjacent to the altar where priests prepare for Mass.  It is considered one of the most heralded paintings of Madonna (Virgin Mary) in the world!  

Other artwork (among many) consists of a statue of St. John the Baptist sculpted by Donatello. 

During high-volume seasons and on occasion, volunteers provide free English tours at the dei Frari.  Find out more about tours at dei Frari’s official website here.

How to get there:  By vaporetto:  San Tomà, walking forward on Calle del Traghetto.  Then take a right followed by a left crossing Campo San Tomà.  From there, go forward on Ramo Mandoler, then Calle Larga Prima.  Finally, make a right when you reach Salizzada San Rocco.  Note:  The Basilica dei Frari is near the Scuola Grande di San Rocco.

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