The Church of the Madonna dell'Orto is a marvel of Venetian Gothic art built in 1350, commissioned by the Congregation of the Humiliati. The original church was dedicated to and named after St Christopher. St Christopher was the patron saint of travellers and boatmen crossing the lagoon. Even today there is a statue of St. Christopher above the portal. The name of the church was changed in 1414 by concession of the Council of Ten following the discovery of a statue of the Madonna near a vegetable garden. The Venetians believed that this unfinished statue of the Madonna, holding Jesus in her arms, had special powers. The church also boasts a beautiful 56-metre high bell tower.
The interior has three naves and beautiful columns on either side. The large rose window and the portal are the work of the Venetian Bartolomeo Bon. As in many other Venetian churches we find the regalzier technique, a masonry finishing technique. The church also boasts a beautiful internal cloister, which is difficult to visit, however, except for special celebrations or events.
The treasures of the church are the works of Tintoretto, who was a parishioner and lived a few metres away. In the church you will also find the tomb of the Tintoretto family, marked by a plaque, which is located in the chapel to the right of the presbytery. Other great artists who worked on the church are Bellini, Vivarini and Cima da Conegliano. Tintoretto painted and donated to the church the magnificent "Universal Judgement" in 1562. Also by Tintoretto you should admire the "Presentation of Mary at the Temple" of 1551-1556 and "The Cult of the Golden Calf" of 1562. Another masterpiece in the church is 'St John the Baptist and Saints Peter, Mark, Jerome and Paul' by Cima da Conegliano from 1495.
The church offers many other works of art worthy of admiration. We recommend that you explore them further. With the help of our map, we also suggest you reach Tintoretto's house, not too far from the church.