If you find yourself in the Castello sestiere, stop by for a visit to the beautiful Chiesa di San Lio. It is super easy to find on the Venice map - look for the Rialto bridge, as San Lio Square is nearby.
This 9th-century church is one of the smaller yet impressive churches in the city. It is best known for Canaletto, a prominent Venice landscapist, baptized and buried there.
These days Chiesa di San Lio is full of valuable art and serves as a concert venue. Here you can enjoy beautiful classical music and the famous symphonies from Antonio Vivaldi.
History & architecture
The aristocratic Badoer family built Chiesa di San Lio and initially dedicated it to St. Catherine of Alexandria. But in 1054, the church was renamed in honor of Pope Lio IX.
The church underwent a significant redesign several times. First in the 15th century and second in 1783. The church's three naves changed into a single one, and the bell tower got demolished.
Interior & artworks
When in Chiesa di San Lio, one can't help but notice its dark baroque interior. Once you get used to it, the church opens up in a new light.
Looking up at the ceiling, you will see a magnificent fresco by Tiepolo. It depicts The Glory of the Cross and St. Leo IX. The prominent painter left another mark at the church - a painting of Angels and Virtues.
Visitors can see the painting of Apostle James the Great by Titian. It is by the main door. The main altarpiece is Dead Christ Upheld by Saints and Angels by Jacopo Palma il Giovane. As you enter the chapel, notice a monument to Andrea Pisani. He was Captain General, who served Venice greatly and died in 1718.
There is a beautiful 18th-century organ for the church's musical concerts. There are paintings of Life of David and the Virgin with Putti on the organ.
Chapel of the Gussoni Family
This chapel is notable as it's a perfect example of the early Renaissance architecture of Venice. As it's precious, the restoration by the Save Venice organization took place from 1999 to 2022. In the chapel, there is a sculpture of Four Evangelists by Pietro Lombardo. There is also Pietà with Saints by Tullio Lombardo, Pietro’s son.