Santa Maria Dei Miracoli

Campiello dei Miracoli, Castello 30121 Venice

Santa Maria dei Miracoli, known as the Marble Church, is one of the unique Venice churches. It is an exquisite early Renaissance masterpiece and one of the city's favorite wedding venues. Its recent reconstruction helped discover long-lost treasures of the church. It will excite you with its history packed with miraculous stories and obscure facts. 

Getting to the church

Santa Maria dei Miracoli is located close to the Campo Santa Maria Nova, part of the Cannaregio neighborhood. To find the church, surrounded by alleys and waterways, might be tricky. It's best to use the Venice map to find the way to this gem. As to almost all Venice churches, you can arrive here with a vaporetto. The closest stops are Rialto and Ca' D'Oro. Each stop is less than a 10-minute walk from the site. As a bonus, you can see the iconic Rialto Bridge. You can also walk to the church after exploring St Mark’s Basilica, as it’s less than 10 minutes away.

History & architecture of Santa Maria dei Miracoli

The story of Santa Maria dei Miracoli is one of the most exciting among Venice churches. It started with a small wooden chapel built to house a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, The Virgin and Child. This painting, created around 1409 and financed by a wealthy merchant Francesco Amadi, is why the church exists. Until recently, many people attributed the painting to Nicolo di Pietro. But the genuine author of the icon is a French painter Jean Charlier, who later became Venetian under the name of Zanino di Pietro. 

Unlike many other Venice churches, the finances for its construction did not come from the government. The funds for the Miracoli came from local citizens. Collected funds exceeded the costs, so a new plan emerged for a larger church and a convent. The nuns in the convent reached the church through an enclosed walkway, which didn't survive until today. The architect Pietro Lombardo, and his sons, completed the church in 1489. Later that year, it was consecrated, and the nuns took residence in the convent. 

Today, Santa Maria dei Miracoli is one of the finest examples of the Venetian Renaissance. It makes the city proud with its colored marble and a colonnade on the exterior. Some people say the church resembles a jewel box decorated with fine statues and marble of various colors. As the legend says, the materials used for the church were the leftovers from St Mark's Basilica. There is also a 17-meter bell tower integrated into the church. 

Inside the church

The interior of Santa Maria dei Miracoli is as impressive as you'd imagine. You can still see the iconic painting of The Virgin and Child above the altar. There are also great statues by Tullio Lombardo, Alessandro Vittoria, and Nicolò di Pietro. The church features a vaulted barrel ceiling. It has 50 portraits of saints and prophets created by Pier Maria Pennachi and his assistants. It's best to visit the church during the day. At this time, the daylight shows the actual shades of white, pink, and gray marbles of the interior.

Things to do in the area

The sestiere of Cannaregio has many activities and sights to offer. It is the second largest one out of six Venice neighborhoods. If you'd like to explore the churches of Venice, it is the right place. Don't hesitate to visit Santa Maria Formosa, Basilica Santi Giovanni e Paolo, San Francesco della Vigna, or Santa Maria Assunta. And if you'd prefer to dive into art and culture, stop at Fondazione Querini Stampalia or the Malibran Theatre. At veniceXplorer, we believe that Venice has so much to offer. So, let’s explore it together while we bring you the greatest Venice attractions.