If you find yourself in the San Marco neighborhood, don’t skip out on Chiesa di San Giuliano. Venetians call it San Zulian, and it’s a small church with a unique facade. Inside you’ll find exquisite paintings, murals, and sculptures. They are soaked with history and culture carried through time. The church, located on the bustling shopping street Merceria, is in the middle of the city’s action. There are many exciting sites nearby, incredible shopping, and cafes.
Getting to the church
You will have no problem finding San Zulian on our Venice map. Since the church is in the central part of San Marco, it’s a walking distance from many popular attractions. You can arrive here with a vaporetto; the closest stops are Rialto or S. Zaccaria. Walking to the church from either stop takes five to seven minutes. Yet, the gorgeous streets and squares might distract you on the way. Checking St. Mark’s Basilica on Piazza San Marco is just one of the many options along the way.
History & architecture
The San Zulian we see today dates back to the 16th century and is the third structure on the site. The original one dates back to the 9th century, but there were several reconstructions throughout the years. The building is a lovely example of the late Renaissance style, featuring the Istrian stone facade. In 1553, Jacopo Sansovino started its construction but died before finishing. Therefore, Alessandro Vittoria took matters into his hands and completed San Zulian in 1570.
The person financing the construction was the renowned scholar Tommaso Rangone. He earned his wealth by discovering and selling a natural medication against syphilis. The visitors to the church can see his bronze statue above the entrance. Since Tommaso knew several languages, there are inscriptions on the facade, each in a different language. Indeed, these details make the church a unique and intriguing place to visit.
After examining the facade, step inside to appreciate the interior, designed by Sansovino. Get ready to indulge in the carved marble ceilings, fine art, and splendid murals. The latest are by Leonardo Corona and Giovanni Fiamingo. You can admire St. Julian in Glory by Palma the Younger or Dead Christ and Saints by Paolo Veronese. For those who enjoy sculpture, there are terracotta figures of Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary. The author of these is Girolamo Campagna.
Things to do in the area
The area surrounding San Zulian is packed with famous churches, palaces, and bridges. The St. Mark’s Basilica on Piazza San Marco is a few minutes away. A few minutes further are Santa Maria Formosa, San Moise, and Chiesa di San Lio. You can also check out the Doge’s Palace (a Venice must-see!) or Museo Correr. San Zulian is close to the gorgeous Rialto Bridge or the well-known Bridge of Sighs. To plan your trip and savor your time in Venice, check out the information on venicExplorer.