Santa Maria Maddalena is one of Venice's unusual churches as it has a circular shape. The church stands on the Campo Maddalena in Cannaregio, the city's second-largest neighborhood.
Italians call it La Maddalena, and it's a lovely simpler church. Although the area is one of the busier ones on the Venice map, it's worth a visit. The Jewish Ghetto and the Guglie Bridge are nearby, which gives you all the more reason to check it out.
History of Santa Maria Maddalena
The church's existence goes back to 1222, when the Balbo family owned it. In the 14th century, the Venetian Senate created a public holiday for Mary Magdalene's feast. The church had to expand, and a watchtower became a bell tower.
In the early 18th century, the priest Francesco Riccardi restored the church. Yet, in 1780 Tommaso Temanza planned its complete reconstruction. He didn't finish his work, and in 1790 the church was finally completed by Gian Antonio Selva. In 1888, the bell tower was not safe anymore and was demolished.
Today, it's a great example of the neoclassical style. It features simple decor and stunning elegance. The circular shape of the church takes inspiration from the Pantheon in Rome. Yet, when you enter the church, you'll find that the plan is, in fact, hexagonal. The church has six chapels and a notable portal with Masonic symbols above the door.
Although Santa Maria Maddalena isn't a large church, it has a few valuable art pieces inside. One, for instance, is the 15th-century bas-relief of the Madonna with Child. Then, there are many 18th-century paintings, most by followers of the Piazzetta.
You will notice The Sacrifice of Isaac and The Apparition of the Virgin to San Simone Stock by Giuseppe Angeli. And if you are into Giandomenico Tiepolo, there is The Last Supper and a fresco depicting The Faith. The last one was discovered in 2005 when some restoration works occurred at Santa Maria Maddalena.