Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo is the biggest among Venice churches. The Venetians call it San Zanipolo, one of the city's most influential churches. The Basilica is known for being the resting place for 25 Doges of the Serenissima from the 15th to 18th century. There are also relics of a few saints and incredible art inside the church.
Getting to the church
Santi Giovanni e Paolo stands in the Castello neighborhood. Campo dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo is easy to find on the Venice map. It has a unique atmosphere of authentic Venice, unlike other touristic places in the city. You can always get there on foot, as it's close to famous attractions like Rialto Bridge or St Mark's Basilica. Or you can arrive by vaporetto to Ospedale, the nearest stop to the church.
History & architecture
Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo is the Dominican church of Venice with a solid connection to the Serenissima Republic. The church is named after John and Paul, martyrs of the Early Christian church in Rome. In 1246, Doge Jacopo Tiepolo had a vision. He then donated the land to the Dominicans, who built the church, only to demolish it in 1333. And that's when the construction of the current church began. The workers completed Santi Giovanni e Paolo on November 12, 1430. Since 1891 it has already undergone 90 restorations. With its 55-m high dome, the Basilica stands out on Venice's skyline, unlike many other Venice churches. You'll be in awe of the stunning central rose window and impressive gothic stained-glass windows, the biggest in Venice. The bell tower has three bells in D major, an essential part of the experience.
Inside the church
The interior of Santi Giovanni e Paolo is vast - more than 100 meters long. There are 150 tombstones, 37 monumental sepulchers, and valuable works of Italy's most notable artists. Take your time to explore this majestic place. One of the treasures is Madonna della Pace, located in its chapel. There's also a valuable relic - a foot of Saint Catherine of Siena. When it comes to art, in the church, you'll see works of famous Italian artists, such as Bellini, Cima da Conegliano, Palma il Giovane, and Vivarini e Veronese. There you can also see the tombstones of Giovanni e Gentile Bellini or the Bandiera brothers. It's one of the most exciting churches on the Venice map.
Things to do in the area
This part of the Castello neighborhood is full of visit-worthy Venice churches. Close to Santi Giovanni e Paolo are Santa Maria Formosa, San Giorgio Maggiore, and Santa Maria dei Miracoli. A bit further, within 10 minutes walking distance, is Chiesa della Pieta, known as Vivaldi's church. You'll find the Arsenal and the Naval History Museum in this part of the city. Or you can explore San Marco, the most famous district on the Venice map. There you'll find the Venice classics like St Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, Museo Correr, and others.
Monday to Saturday - 9am–6pm
Sunday - 12–6pm