Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Known by everyone simply as the Frari, the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is a majestic Gothic church. In fact it is the largest church in Venice. The construction of the church was begun by Franciscan friars in 1250 and not completed until 1338. Later improvements and extensions were made. You will also be amazed by the majestic 70 metre high bell tower, second in height only to St Mark's. The interior structure is a Latin cross.

 The internal structure is a Latin cross divided into three naves. Most of the church is made of Istrian stone and terracotta. The walls are in regalzier, a wall decoration technique fashionable in the Veneto region in the 1500s.

The interior is striking for its works of art, including masterpieces by Giovanni Bellini and Titian. The main work is Titian's 'Assumption', a masterpiece depicting the ascension of the Madonna, dated 1516. Also by Titian is the 'Pala Pesaro' painted in 1526 for the Pesaro family. There are many paintings and we recommend that you plan your visit to the Basilica in the best possible way.

Inside the majestic church you will find a statue of Titian sculpted by Luigi and Pietro Zandomeneghi. Also in memory of another great artist is the funerary monument to Antonio Canova. 

You should also admire the wooden sculpture of St John the Baptist by Donatello. Inside the church you will find many statues and wooden works.

In the centre of the main hall, a marvellous stereophonic pipe organ is placed next to a carved and inlaid wooden choir, which seats about 100 people. 

The church building is half surrounded by a large monastic complex, which is now used as the State Historical Archive. This Archive holds documents dating back to the golden age of the Serenissima. The monastery has magnificent cloisters, three of which are open to tourists. 

When visiting Venice, the Basilica of Santa Maria dei Frari is a must-see. Before visiting the church, prepare yourself by studying a few books or get help from a knowledgeable tour guide.