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Angelo Raffaele
I Carmini
Santa Maria del Carmelo

Le Eremite La Romite
Santa Maria del Rosario

Pio Loco dei Catecumeni San Giovanni Battista
Santa Maria della Salute
San Barnaba
San Gregorio
San Nicolò dei Mendicoli
San Pantalon

Saint George's (Anglican)

on page 2
San Sebastiano
San Trovaso
San Vio
Santa Margherita
Santa Maria della Carità
(Gallarie dell'Accademia)
Santa Maria della Visitazione San Gerolamo dei Gesuati
Santa Marta
Santa Teresa
Le Terese
Spirito Santo


Angelo Raffaele
Francesco Contino 1618-1639

Tradition has it that this church, dedicated to the Archangel Raphael, is one of the oldest in Venice, supposedly having been founded in either 416 or 650. The latter date attaches to the legend that it was the second of the eight churches founded by
San Magno (Saint Magnus of Oderzo). Another story says that when Attila attacked Italy for the second time Genusio Rutenio, Lord of Padua, sent his family to the island of Rialto. When his wife, Adriana, arrived in Dorsoduro she vowed to build a church if her husband returned safely. She built an oratory here where the Benedictine nuns from San Zaccaria, whom she had befriended, could visit and worship. Adriana left the oratory to the nuns, who kept it up until it was destroyed by a fire which swept the whole district in 899. The church was rebuilt by the Candini and Ariana families. It became a parish church, which was destroyed by fire in 1105. The first written record dates from 1193, the year in which the church was rebuilt and reconsecrated following the fire.
That church was itself demolished in the 17th century, being considered to be beyond repair.
The current church was built in 1618-1639 to designs by Francesco Contino, with further work in 1676 and 1685. The façade, facing onto a narrow canal, was rebuilt in 1735, with its statue group of Tobias, Raphael, the dog and the fish (see below left) dating from this time too, and said to be by Sebastiano Mariani.
The church became a Chorus church, on the 8th of July 2021, but now isn't.


The church
The restoration of the façade in 2004 left it looking like new but lacking, some complained, that certain crumbling charm that it possessed before (see above right). But the pristine look didn't last, of course, this being Venice. This is one of only two churches in Venice that are free standing, i.e. you can walk all around them.

The church has its original Greek-cross interior, which was reworked in the 18th century and is given a warm glow inside by the orangey net curtains.

Art highlights
The 18th-century art here holds little to surprise, and of course there's one by Palma Giovane. The organ over the entrance (built 1743-49 by Antonio and Tommaso Amigoni) has a balcony divided into five sections, each featuring somewhat feathery but strongly coloured paintings of The Life of Tobias by Giovanni Antonio Guardi (the elder brother of the more famous veduti-painter Francesco) in 1750-53.  There's a central ceiling fresco by Francesco Fontebasso, a pupil of Ricci and Tiepolo (see photo below right) which is a bit darkly out of tone, but impressive. And in the baptistery (entrance to the right of the high altar), a tiny low room, the whole ceiling of is covered with a fresco, also by Fontebasso. It's been much altered, but recent cleaning has left it maybe a little too vivid.

35m (114 ft) electromechanical bells
Rebuilt with the 18th-century's favoured form of the octagonal drum and onion dome.

The church in fiction
This church is central to the action in Salley Vickers' novel Miss Garnet's Angel and so it has become something of a pilgrimage destination for fans of that book. This possibly explains the spate of sprucings-up after the book was published.

Opening times
Monday - Saturday 10.00 - 12. 00 & 3.00 - 5.30
Sunday and holidays 9.00 - 12.00

San Basilio




early 16th century

Founded in 1286 by the Carmelite fathers, an order of desert hermits originally centred around Mount Carmel, and finally finished and consecrated in 1348. In 1515 there was a major modernisation of the interior by Sebastiano Mariani from Lugano, who was also responsible for the new campo façade. The adjacent monastic buildings were also rebuilt early in the 16th century.

The church
The brick façade facing the square and the canal is early Venetian Renaissance and influenced by the work of Codussi. The façade is by Sebastiano Mariano da Lugano, built 1507-14, as are the five crowning statues, probably. The statues are, from the top, the Redeemer, John the Baptist, the Virgin, and the prophets
Elijia and Elisha. The last two are considered to be the founders of the Carmelite order. The doorway has an unusual double pediment.
The side entrance on Calle de la Scuola with its very projecting canopy (see right) is the original 14th-century façade and features Byzantine palm-leaf detailing. It was restored in 2006 by
Venice in Peril.

The form of the interior dates from the original 14th-century Gothic building, but most of the decoration is later. The impression on entering is of vast length. There are twelve bays down each side of the nave, with gilded statues in each of the spandrels, much gilding of the arches, and a frieze of 24 scenes of Carmelite subjects, painted from 1666 to the mid-1700s by Baroque painters, including Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, Gaspare Diziani, Girolamo Brusaferro and Pietro Liberi. There are four altars in each aisle.

The church has no transept but has odd big singing/organ galleries suspended in the bays either side of the presbytery. The apse retains something of the appearance of the 14th-century church and the sacristy has 14th-century fresco fragments.

Art highlights
The second altar on the right has a 1509 Adoration of the Shepherds by Cima da Conegliano (see below right) which is one of his best, with the figures not looking like shop dummies, as his so often do. It's also unusual in including Tobias and the Angel amongst the attendant saints. The dog bears a striking similarity to the one in Titian's Tobias and the Angel, now in the Accademia. It doesn't quite fit its frame.
 The third altar on the right is the only one decorated up into the dome above, with a sparkling fresco depicting Angels by Sebastiano Ricci from 1709. The altarpiece here is by Pase Pace from 1594 and depicts The Virgin Giving the Scapula to Saint Simon Stock.
The fourth altar, the Altare dei Compraven di Pesce (fishmongers) has an early Presentation by Jacopo Tintoretto from 1546/48, which was restored in 2001.

Behind the high altar is a copy of the central part of Titan's famous Assumption from the Frari, made by a painter called Tagliapietra in 1856. Hanging above the altar is a painted wooden crucifix said to be by Paolo Veneziano.
In the left hand aisle the second altar has Lorenzo Lotto's Saint Nicholas in Glory, with Saints John the Baptist and Lucy, painted for the Scuola dei Mercanti in 1529 and still in its original Istrian stone frame. It was Lotto's first public commission in the city of his birth. On a visit in October 1891 the art historian Bernard Berenson, his wife Mary, and their friend Enrico Costa washed this painting 'at the invitation of the sacristan', it having been 'invisible under candle-grease, dust and cobwebs' according to Mary. The effect of Saint Lucy's eyes floating above the chalice at her feet is very odd and frog-like. Saint George fights the dragon in the impressive Flemish-looking landscape below.
To the right of this painting, over the confessional, is the early, small and
quite-recently-restored Holy Family with the Infant Saint John, attributed to Veronese, which was previously in the church of San Barnaba.
Further along is a deep side chapel with one of those dressed up full-size Madonna and Child dummies on a big canopied gold throne surrounded by masses of gold putti. It seems to attract much local veneration.
The last altar on the left has Saint Albert by Pietro Liberi from before 1664.

Ruskin wrote
A most interesting church, of later thirteenth century work, but much altered and defaced. Its nave, in which the early shafts and capitals of the pure truncate form are unaltered, is very fine in effect; its lateral porch is quaint and beautiful, decorated with Byzantine circular sculptures, and supported on two shafts whose capitals are the most archaic examples of the pure Rose form that I know in Venice.


The cloister of the former monastery (see right), whi
ch was rebuilt in the mid-17th century and suppressed in 1810, has an entrance to the right of the façade. The wellhead in the centre is dated 1762 and has the Carmelite crest.

Campanile 66m (217 ft) electromechanical bells
The 1290 original is visible on Barbari map. It was damaged by earthquakes in 1347, 1410 and 1511, demolished in 1511 and rebuilt taller in 1520. This one began to lean as the foundations subsided and was straightened in 1688 by Giuseppe Sardi. The method by which he achieved the straightening involved digging away at the brickwork on the three sides away from the tilt and wedging wood into the holes. He then dissolved the wood away with strong acid and the tower tilted back. At this time the campanile was also topped by a small octagonal temple with a bronze statue of the Virgin of Mount Carmel. The current statue is actually a copy made in 1982 by Romano Vio after the original was struck by lightning in 1979. When lightning struck the campanile, in 1756, the monks ringing the bells at the time were so terrified they fled in panic and one of them hit his head against a wall and died.
At the base of the campanile is the Orto del Campanile, a community garden now growing fruit and veg,where previously there was a dump.

The church in art

Santa Maria del Carmelo and Scuola
Grande dei Carmini, a typically cropped oil painting by John Singer Sargent (see right) shows the façade stuccoed over.
Sickert's oil painting  The Church of the Carmine, now in the Ashmolean, is from a viewpoint just a little to the left of mine for the photo above, and merely trims off the top of the façade. It too shows the façade stuccoed.

Opening times
Monday - Saturday
8.30 - 1.30 and 2.30 - 7.30
Sunday 8.00 - 12.00 and 6.00 - 7.30
This church began appearing on Chorus leaflets with the opening times below, but the ones above are the ones still posted on the door and the church is not on the
Chorus website..
Monday - Saturday
10.30 - 1.30 and 2.30 - 5.00
Sunday Closed

The Scuola
has it's own entry now on my Scuole page.

Vaporetto Ca' Rezzonico or San Basilio







Le Eremite
Giovanni Battista Lambranzini 1693

Built in 1694 by Giovanni Battista Lambranzini (who was also responsible for the nearby Santa Margherita and the modernization of the interior of Santa Marta) for observant Augustinian nuns, and paid for by Santo Donadoni and dedicated to Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
The widow of Doge Giovanni Corner lived here until her death in 1729.
The complex was suppressed in 1810, at which time 38 nuns were resident. Canossian nuns moved in in 1863, and they remain here. The complex has been used as a teacher-training college, by various schools, for language teaching, and now as student and tourist accommodation.
The church was r
estored in late 1990s by
Venice in Peril as it had suffered severely from damp. The work was described as 'stabilising and consolidating the altars'. Also at this time the Fondation Jean-Barthélémy, and others, paid for the restoration of paintings in the church in memory of the painter Marie Thérèse Krafft, who had lived nearby. This restoration work, on four wall paintings by Francesco Pittoni of The Miracles of St Augustine, was completed in 2002. More restoration work took place in 2008/9.
When I wrote to the Istituto Canossiano in 2010 asking if I could have a look inside I was told that that 'at the present the church is being restored, and is not possible to enter'. A visitor in 2014 was told the same thing.

Described as 'rich and sumptuous' in Franzoi’s Le Chiesa di Venezia, the church consists of an aisleless nave, divided in two by the altar with an enclosed choir behind for the nuns. There are ceiling paintings, including The Crowning of the Virgin by Niccolò Bambini, returned now after recent restoration, and 15th century wooden choir stalls with an unusual gilt and polychrome relief carving of The Madonna of the Misericordia in the choir behind the altar (see photo by Val de Furrentes right).

Relics kept here included a thorn from the Crown of Thorns (on which it is said blood appeared on Good Friday), the hand of Saint Juliana and several bodies of saints taken from Roman catacombs.

13m (42ft) no bells
Has an eight-sided budino (pudding) shaped dome.

San Basilio

Opening times Always closed. Which after all that expensive charity-funded restoration work seems something of a waste and a shame.


Giorgio Massari 1726-43


Monks from the mendicant order of Clerici Apostolici Sancti Hieronymi (Apostolic Clerics of Saint Jerome) founded in the 14th century by Giovanni Colombino from Siena established themselves here in 1392. In 1423 they built an oratory and cloister dedicated to Saint Jerome. (They had previously occupied the nearby church of Sant’Agnese.) A proper church and monastery were built here by the Poor Gesuati order (as they now called themselves) from 1494, which was consecrated 1524 and dedicated to Santa Maria della Visitazione.
The Zattere fondamenta derives its name from the order.
The, always contentious, order was suppressed in 1668 by Pope Clement IX and in 1669 the Dominicans bought the complex here at auction, thereby helping to fund the wars against the Turks. After initially approaching Andrea Musalo, who died, they got Giorgio Massari to build the present, much larger, church, beginning work in 1726, to the east of the old church, and finishing it in 1743. Massari also converted the old Gesuati church (now Santa Maria della Visitazione) to a library.
In the foundations of the new church was placed a medal, designed by Massari, on one face celebrating the dedication of the church to the Vergine del Rosario and on the other commemorating, with his arms, Pope Benedict XIII, a Dominican who had been trained at San Domenico di Castello and who, on becoming pope had called for the refinement and elaboration of the feast of the Rosary.
The new church became a parish church when the order was suppressed in 1815, to replace the nearby suppressed and closed churches of San Vio and San Gregorio.
 The monastery to the left of the church, which become a boys' home after suppression, is now the home of the Istituto Don Orione.

The church

This was the architect Massari's first major commission in Venice. The niches on the façade (a heavier and more theatrical reflection of the façade of the Redentore church opposite) contain large statues depicting the four virtues. A stone relief of The Dead Christ Supported by Two Angels set into the side wall of the church (seen to the right in the photo right) may be from the original church.

The interior, like the façade, is modelled on the Redentore. It consists of an aisleless nave with three connecting side chapels each side, full of exceptional 18th-century art, with a window above each arch. The effect of the walls and detailing is pale grey, getting darker for the domed chancel, with it's unplain tabernacle by Massari. The sculptural work - narrative scenes, apostles and Old Testament figures - is by Giovanni Maria Morlaiter.

Art highlights
This church is a real treat for fans of Giambattista Tiepolo, who made forty painting here over the span of a year, from September 1738, including many in grisaille. Amongst his best is the altarpiece in the first chapel on the right depicting the Virgin and Three (female Dominican) Saints (see right)  which was finished by December 1739, but not installed until 1748. The three female Dominican saints are Catherine of Siena, Rose of Lima and Agnes of Montepulciano. Tiepolo also painted the three Dominic-related ceiling paintings, well worth the neck ache, or the easier perusal using the handily provided (and precisely shaped) floor-standing mirror. They are painted in fresco, not oil on panels as is more usual in Venice. Near the entrance is The Ascension of Saint Dominic, nearest the altar is Saint Dominic's Vision of the Virgin and in the centre is the large Institution of the Rosary. They were all also finished by 1739. The smaller grisaille paintings dotted round the ceiling are said to have been designed by Tiepolo but executed by his studion.  In the choir is another ceiling painting by Tiepolo, of David and the Angel
Also two by Giambattista Piazzetta (in the following, second and third, chapels on the right), one being Saint Louis Bertrand with Saints Vincent Ferrer and Hyacinth, the other The Miracle of Saint Dominic at Soriano - a small work in  a large marble frame. And there's a good late one by Sebastiano Ricci, in the first chapel on the left, depicting the Dominicans Pope Pius V, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Peter Martyr from 1732-3.
In the third chapel on the left is an over-restored Tintoretto Crucifixion of c. 1565, which came from the nearby church of Santa Maria della Visitazione. It was in a poor state then and the Dominicans had it restored by Piazzetta in 1743 for its movement here. The foreground is full of emotional Marys.

Campanile 21m (68 ft) electromechanical bells
Also by Massari, with a matching parallel tower.

The church in art

The church dominates the right foreground of The Giudecca Canal with the Zattere by Guardi. The Giudecca by David Roberts. Le Quai des Zattere by Léonce Cordier (1873).
Also watercolours by John Singer Sargent and John Ruskin. Santa Maria del Rosario, known as Chiesa dei Gesuati, by Rubens Santoro (see below right) has bizarre truncation of the church and the wrong campanile.

H.Taine wrote (in Italy: Florence and Venice 1869)
...on the ceiling a pretty piece of boudoir painting in the shape of trim, rosy and bare legs; - in brief a work of frigid luxury and costly magnificence. The Italian eighteenth century is still worse than ours. Our works always show some degree of moderation because they preserve some degree of finesse; but theirs plant themselves triumphantly on the extravagant.
As Taine was French the last statements provoke a wry smile, at the very least.

Opening times
On a laminated sheet screw-fixed to the scaffolding mentioned below the new times are:

Monday to Saturday: 8.00  - 7.00
Sundays and Holy days: 9.00 - 12.00 & 5.00 - 7.00

which seem to be replacing the usual Chorus hours of:
Monday to Saturday: 10.30  - 1.30 and 2.30 - 5.00
Sundays: closed
A Chorus Church

Vaporetto Zattere






Founded by Cistercian nuns from the convent of Santa Margherita on Torcello who moved here because it was a more salubrious location. They brought their own paintings with them, amongst them one by Palma Giovane. They probably occupied an existing house initially, having a small wooden church built for them in 1472. Their finances would've improved after they acquired a miracle-working image of the Virgin.
The church was rebuilt enlarged from 1505 to 1520 and consecrated in 1586. The length of time taken was probably the result of the sisters' poverty causing slow and often-interrupted work.

The complex was suppressed by the French in 1806 and stripped of its art. In 1820 the convent became a girls' school, and then an old people's home later in the 19th century. It was a hospital after this, until the mid-1990s, and is now part of the Universita Ca'Foscari.

Aisleless with a ceiling divided into compartments where small paintings might be set, but aren't, this is a small and plain and very-used convent church with a big nuns' gallery at the back taking up almost half the church’s length (see photo below right) with two altars each side of the nave.
The presbytery and its two flanking side chapels have frescoed ceilings, and for these alone I'd recommend a visit. The presbytery frescoes were commissioned on the 13th March 1673 from Agostino Litterini, who was helped by Giacomo Grassi, from Bologna. In the apse is The Last Supper,  in the vault is The Glory of Paradise. The flanking chapels' ceilings are assumed to be by the same artists, as the look very similar in style. The left-hand chapel, which belonged to the Michiel family, has God the Father in the apse and The Four Virtues in the vault. The Battaglia Chapel, on the right, has The Virgin in Glory and two angels bearing flowers and fruit.

Lost art
Paolo Veronese's congested (it features fifty figures) and spectacular Coronation of the Virgin, of 1583, from the high altar here, is now in the Accademia, in the new Room X dedicated to Veronese. It's dating coincides nicely with the church's completion in 1586. Attributions to Veronese’s workshop are common but there are preparatory studies by the man himself at Christ Church Oxford and elsewhere. He was also commissioned to paint organ shutters for this church around the same time. These show The Adoration of the Magi and The Fathers of the Church and are now in the Brera in Milan, the city which Napoleon intended to make the capital of his new Kingdom of Italy, primarily to annoy the Venetians.
A Visitation painted by Carlo Ridolfi is in storage in the Accademia. A Baptism of Christ by Giacomo Alberelli is lost. As are a large painting by Pietro Muttoni, The Slaughter of the Innocents by Pietro Liberi and a work called Morto Riuscitato by Carlo Sacchi.

The church in art
Rio e Chiesa degli Ognissanti by Mortimer Menpes (see right)

The church on TV
An episode of the German TV series based on Donna Leon's Brunetti novels, called Beastly Things, features the gateway pictured (above right) as the entrance to a fictional hospital.

Campanile 40m (130ft) manual bells

Opening times
9.30-12.30 and 5.30 - 7.00(?)

Vaporetto San Basilio













Photo above by David Orme

Pio Loco dei Catecumeni
Giorgio Massari 1727

The Catecumeni confraternity was founded in 1557 and had previously been housed in the churches of San Marcuola and Santi Apostoli. It moved here in 1571, building on land provided by Andrea Lippomano, maybe moving here to help with the increased number of patients at the hospital of the Incurabili after the battle of Lepanto.
The institution cared for slaves and prisoners of war captured during foreign campaigns. It's underlying purpose being to convert 'infidels' (Muslims and Jews) to Christianity ready for baptism and subsequent citizenship. This task had previously been undertaken by families, who would take in potential converts and guide them through the process.
The complex was rebuilt in 1727 by Massari (the year after he completed the Gesuati) basing it on Palladio's Zitelle, with a central church (San Giovanni Battista) flanked by two blocks of accommodation. It later became a nursery school, but now houses the Istituto Suore Salesie.

Opening times In August 2021 I received a report of this church being found open with nuns in evidence. Further reports welcomed.

Vaporetto Salute


Saint George's
Luigi Marangoni 1892


This church was converted from a warehouse previously belonging to the Venezia-Murano Glass company and bought by Sir Henry Layard. He donated it to a committee which had been set up to establish a permanent
English Church in Venice. The church opened in 1892, built to a design by engineer Luigi Marangoni, with sculptures by Napoleone Martinuzzi.  It contains the tombstone of Consul Joseph Smith, which was moved here from the Protestant burial ground on the Lido, where he had been buried, in 1968. There's also a window commemorating Robert Browning who allowed Anglican services to be held in the Ca’ Rezzonico during the time he lived there. It is one of seven stained-glass windows here recently restored with the help of Venice in Peril.
The church was closed from 1935-45 and then after 1945 reopened as a garrison chapel. Public services were later resumed for the Summer season. During his chaplaincy of 1967-74 Canon Victor Stanley resumed year-round services.
On the 30th May 2019 the pews in St George's were removed to make the space more flexible. Tasteful grey stacking chairs will now be used for services (see left) and so the church can now also be used for exhibitions.

The church has a 19th-century copy of a 16th-century sacra conversazione by Giovanni Buonconsiglio, the original once having hung in in the nearby church of Spirito Santo. It depicts Christ the Redeemer with Saints Jerome and Saint Liberalis of Treviso, with Saint Liberalis in the copy here transformed into Saint George, with Liberalis's usual flag of a white cross on a red background reversed to the red-on-white of Saint George.

Opening times

Services every Sunday at 10.30am



Baldassare Longhena 1631-87

The original monastery and church on this site, dedicated to The Holy Trinity (Santissima Trinità), was given by Venice to the Teutonic Knights in 1256 in gratitude for their help in the war against old rivals Genoa. This complex is shown on the Barbieri map of 1500 (see below). It also housed the Scuola della Trinità for which Tintoretto painted his famous sequence of Old Testament scenes, three of which are now in the Accademia. Suppression by Pope Clement XVI followed in 1592 and the complex returned to the patriarchate of Venice.
This original complex was demolished in order that this church be built to hasten and celebrate the end of the last great plague of 1630-31 which had taken 46,000 people, 30% of Venice’s population. The pestilence had supposedly been brought from the quarantine island of San Clemente by a carpenter who lived in the nearby parish of Sant'Agnese. Santa Maria della Salute means Saint Mary of Health - the Virgin was thought to have had a hand in saving the Venetians. The commission was prestigious and a competition was held, among its conditions were that the church be flashy but not too expensive. Eleven proposals were reduced to two, the loser of these being a more traditional design by Smeraldi. The twenty-six year old Longhena’s winning design took a Palladian base and made something freshly baroque and very theatrical. Longhena had studied with Scamozzi, who had himself collaborated with Sansovino and Palladio. Building took 30 years (a wooden oratory was used in the meantime) with the square in front laid out in 1681. Longhena died in 1682 and Gaspari finished his work. Consecration took place on the 9th of November 1687
The church’s dome with its crowds of angels and its famous huge volutes cannot be said to make a small impression. And the building needed to impress, as it formed the centrepiece of the grand annual ceremony where the doge crossed the canal on a specially-built bridge of barges and processed through the central arch to give thanks for Venice’s deliverance. The ceremony continues to this day, without a doge, but with crowds buying sweets and candles and streaming across the rickety structure. In the 1930s it did collapse, with Sir Osbert Sitwell on it. The church long symbolised Venice’s triumph over adversity and its republican strength, just as its silhouette now symbolises Venice in almost every film and TV programme that gets made about the city.

The church
An extravagant display, made up of eight Palladian façades, with the grandest facing onto the Grand Canal, up thirteen steps. Huge buttresses with orecchioni (big ears) support the drum of the dome and lots of statues of saints and angels. The lantern on top of the dome supports a statue of the Virgin blessing the city. Behind there's the smaller dome over the sanctuary and two relatively delicate campanili.
The interior is impressive but restrained, given the church’s exuberant exterior – a quite plain octagonal space with an ambulatory and six radiating chapels. The high altar is by Longhena. The paving is said to be inlaid with 33 roses symbolising the 33 years of Jesus's life.
Art highlights
Many works by Titian, all taken from the demolished church of Santo Spirito in Isola,
following Pope Alexander VII's suppression of the Augustinian order. Supposedly Titian's first altarpiece, Saint Mark Enthroned with Saints Sebastian, Roch, Cosmas and Damian, was painted during the plague year of 1510-11. The Pentecost altarpiece is later, having been commissioned in 1529/30 and installed over Santo Spirito's high altar in 1541, it had to be replaced with a second version is 1545-6 as the original's paint deteriorated rapidly. The three ceiling panels depicting Old Testament stories which are now in the sacristy were painted for a commission originally given to Vasari. The skies in all three date to 17th century repaintings of lost pigment, with added clouds. They depict The Sacrifice of Isaac, Cain and Abel, and David and Goliath.  The last one was removed and restored in 2010 after water sprayed by firemen tackling a fire at the Seminario next door leaked in though the roof. Also eight portrait roundels in the ceiling of the choir depicting The Four Evangelists and The Four Fathers of the Church.

There's also a huge Jacopo Tintoretto Marriage at Cana in the sacristy (see above) dated 1561 it was painted for the refectory of the Crociferi, the complex previously on the site of the Gesuiti, and was moved to the sacristy here in 1659 after the Crociferi order was suppressed in 1656.  It's the only feast scene that Tintoretto painted for a refectory, despite his being responsible for at least nine Last Suppers. Jesus is oddly far in the background, at the end of the table, but framed by the window and haloed with a nimbus. It was restored in 2017, during which work it was discovered to have been painted in egg tempera rather than oil, and without the usual preparatory layer of gesso.
A Byzantine icon of The Virgin Mesopanditissa (see right) said to have been painted by Saint Luke and to have worked miracles, but actually from the 12th or 13th century, was brought here from Candia (Crete) in 1669 after the fall of the island to the Ottomans. It's set into Longhena's somewhat congested high altar.

Campanile 48m (156ft) electromechanical bells
Two towers, but only one of them has bells.

Edwardian suicides
In 1908 Jean Cocteau wrote a poem called Souvenir d'un soir d'automne au jardin Eaden, which tells of an argument between Cocteau's companion on his trip to Venice and a young American. The quarrel, which took place in the Garden of Eden, lead to the friend shooting himself on the steps of the Salute, which was a not-unusual event at the time, it seems. Francois Mauriac, writing in Le Mal many years later, mentions this event and says of the thirteen steps of the Salute: 'One cannot even count all the young men who have chosen to die there!'

Ruskin wrote
One of the earliest buildings of the Grotesque Renaissance, rendered impressive by its position, size, and general proportions. These latter are exceedingly good; the grace of the whole building being chiefly dependent on the inequality of size in its cupolas, and pretty grouping of the two campaniles behind them. It is to be generally observed that the proportions of buildings have nothing whatever to do with the style of general merits of their architecture. An architect trained in the worst schools, and utterly devoid of all meaning or purpose in his work may yet have such natural gift of massing and grouping as will render all his structures effective when seen from a distance: such a gift is very general with the late Italian builders, so that many of the most contemptible edifices in the country have good stage effect so long as we do not approach them. The Church of the Salute is farther assisted by the beautiful flight of steps in front to fit down to the canal; and its façade is rich and beautiful of its kind, and was chosen by Turner for the principal object in this well-known view of the Grand Canal. The principal faults of the building are the meagre windows in the sides of the cupola, and the ridiculous disguise of the buttresses under the form of colossal scrolls; the buttresses themselves being originally a hypocrisy, for the cupola is stated by Lazari to be of timber, and therefore needs none. The sacristy contains several precious pictures: the three on its roof by Titian, much vaunted, are indeed as feeble as they are monstrous; but the small Titian, "St. Mark, with Sts. Cosmo and Damian," was, when I first saw it, to my judgment, by far the first work of Titian's in Venice. It has since been restored by the Academy, and it seemed to me entirely destroyed, but I had not time to examine it carefully.

E. M. Forster wrote
...and then came Venice. As he landed on the piazzetta a cup of beauty was lifted to his lips, and he drank with a sense of disloyalty. The buildings of Venice, like the mountains of Crete and the fields of Egypt, stood in the right place, whereas in poor India everything was placed wrong.  ...but oh these Italian churches! San Giorgio standing on the island which could scarcely have risen from the waves without it, the Salute holding the entrance of a canal which, but for it, would not be the Grand Canal!
A Passage to India

The church in art

Amongst the many views are all the usual suspects (Canaletto, Guardi, Marieschi, Turner) but perhaps the most famous are by Sickert and Sargent. They both had a thing for oddly cropped views, like the one by Sargent (see right). Frank Brangwyn painted the church too.

Andrew Hopkins Santa Maria della Salute - Architecture and Ceremony in Baroque Venice Cambridge UP 2000

The church in film and on TV
The Salute has become a bit of a cliché for use in establishing shots that say Look - it's Venice! Amongst the most memorable scenes are the threesome having a picnic on the steps in The Wings of the Dove and the dome appearing mysteriously over Katharine Hepburn's shoulder as she chooses shoes in Summertime. (I say 'mysteriously' because there are no shops anywhere near the church.)

Opening times
Summer 1st April - 31st October
9.00-12.00 & 15.00-17.30
The Sacristy (
€10 timed ticket)
Tuesday afternoon: 14.00-15.30 & 16.40-17.30
Wednesday - Friday: 10.00-12.30, 14.00-15.30 & 16.40-17.30
Saturday: 10.00-12.30 & 14.00-17.30
Sunday: 10.00-10.30 & 14.00-17.30

Winter 1st November - 31st March
9.30-12.30 & 15.00-17.30
The Sacristy (€10 timed ticket)
Monday - Friday : 10.00-12.00, 15.00-15.30 & 16.40-17.30
Saturday: 10.00-12.00 & 14.00-17.30
Sunday: 10.00-10.30 & 14.00-17.30

Update September 2023 Scaffolding still all up the sides facing the Grand Canal, with advertising for expensive jewellery. Also a danger you'll find the place closed.

Vaporetto Salute

map          website

The Santissima Trinità complex, demolished to build the Salute.
From the Barbieri map of 1500. The church is sideways on to the Grand Canal and the seminary blocks are built on the canal and rio, as is also visible in the 1631 plan below.


San Barnaba
Lorenzo Boschetti 1749-76

Founded in 809, the original church burnt down in 1105 and was rebuilt and consecrated on the 6th of December 1350. The current church dates from 1749-76 and is by Lorenzo Boschetti, a follower of Massari, being commissioned by Marcantonio Grimani. Boschetti's façade is another Greek temple front, based on Massari's nearby Gesuati, but heavier, with even beefier columns.

Art highlights
There are/were a couple by Palma Giovane. Also a ceiling fresco by Costantino Cedini, a late-18th-century follower of Tiepolo, from Padua, who did similar work in San Cassiano.

Lost art
A quite-recently-restored Holy Family with the Infant Saint John (brought here from the (presumably now lost) Maddalena church in Padua in 1774) which some, Bernard Berenson included, have attributed to Veronese, was more recently moved to the Carmini, where it is now confidently labelled as an early work by Veronese.

35m (114 ft) manual bells
Brickwork with a pine-cone shaped steeple. The original 11th century tower was rebuilt in Gothic style in 1350 and restored in 1882 by Lodovico Cadorin. It looks to be in a poor state of repair.

The Barnabotti
The cheapness of the rents in the area around the church lead to its colonisation in the 18th century by nobles who had ruined themselves through extravagance, and who where thus called the Barnabotti, in honour of the area. They were supported by the state and their daughters were accorded begging privileges.

The church in film

The church featured as a library in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - our hero finds catacombs, rats and dead Crusaders under the floor and later emerges from a manhole in the campo. Katherine Hepburn fell into the canal in front of this church in Summertime and the shop where she finds the red glasses, and her late-life love interest, is to the left of the façade.

The church in art
Maschere à San Barnaba by Italico Brass (see right) the painter father of the famed ass-obsessed pornographer Tinto Brass.
There's also Sortie de Messe à San Barnaba by Julien Gustave Gagliardini (1912).

Opening times
Long deconsecrated, the church used to be mostly closed, but is currently eternally open 9.30 - 7.30 daily due to a 'temporary' exhibition of models of Leonardo's machines which has been here for many years now and shows no sign of ever leaving. (Find details here.) There's a lot of scaffolding and display cases and stuff inside, though, which makes appreciation of the actual fabric pretty much impossible.

Vaporetto Ca' Rezzonico




San Gregorio
Antonio di Cremona  15th century

Founded in 806 and given to Benedictine monks from the abbey of Sant'Ilario on the banks of the lagoon, who founded an abbey here in 1160. The current church dates from the mid-15th century and is by Antonio di Cremona. It's closely modelled on the nearby church of the Santa Maria della Carità with its three-part brick Gothic façade, but has long since lost the finials that the façades shared, visible in the detail from the Canaletto painting (see below). Has a triple-apse (see below right) facing onto a canal at the rear. Built into the façade of the canonica to the right
of the church’s façade is an arch from a 14th-century funerary monument, visible in the film still below. The skin of Marcantonio Bragadin, who had been flayed alive by the Turks in 1571, was kept here in a wooden box in a column, before being moved to San Zanipolo in 1596.
Palma Vecchio is said to have been buried here in 1528.
The complex was suppressed by Napoleon in 1806 and the church deconsecrated. The buildings were turned into a metal-refining workshop for the Zecca (the Mint) in 1818, complete with an added chimney. (A watercolour of 1840 by Turner in the Tate Gallery of the steps of the Salute shows smoke coming from this chimney.) The complex was later used as a hotel and a magazine. In 1919 the church was 'restored by an antiquarian', but fell into a sad state of disrepair in the mid-20th century when plans were made to make it into a concert hall. In 1968 it was restored and became home to an art restoration laboratory funded by private rescue committees
. This having been prompted by the flood of 4th November 1966. Their first big job was the Tintorettos from the Madonna dell'Orto (see interior photo below) then getting much restoration attention.


Adjoining, with a decorated 14th-century entrance (attributed to Bartolomeo Bon) facing the
Grand Canal which is topped by an aedicule containing a sculpted relief of the enthroned Saint Benedict. Admired by Ruskin, it's all that remains of the abbey, which had two cloisters until one was demolished in the late 19th century. In the early part of the 20th century the remaining cloister was let as tenements (see photo below right) but it has recently been spruced up and used for art exhibitions, often during the Biennale.

Lost art
A late 14th-/early 15th-century portable altar, now in the Accademia.

Ruskin wrote
An important church of the fourteenth century, not desecrated, but still interesting. Its apse is on the little canal crossing from the Grand Canal to the Giudecca, beside the Church of the Salute, and is very characteristic of the rude ecclesiastical Gothic contemporary
with the Ducal Palace. The entrance to its cloisters, from the Grand Canal, is somewhat later; a noble square door, with two windows on each side of it, the grandest examples in Venice of the late window of the fourth order.

The cloister, to which this door gives entrance, is exactly contemporary with the finest work of the Ducal Palace, circa 1350. It is the loveliest cortile I know in Venice; its capitals consummate in design and execution; and the low wall on which they stand showing remnants of sculpture unique, as far as I know, in such application.

The church in art
The Entrance to the Grand Canal... by Canaletto (see detail right) shows the church with the façade's original pinnacles.
The Cloister of San Gregorio, Venice by Margaret Fisher Prout, the daughter of the artist Mark Fisher. An artist called Myles Birket Foster painted the cloister in the 19th century too, inhabited by colourful locals, as was his wont.

The church in film
The church and a view of the campo in front of the entrance (see screen grab right)
features in
Who saw her die?

Opening times Closed
Most recently used by art restorers. But no longer.
August 2021 update A sign on the door in November 2019 told of plans for San Gregorio to be converted into a museum of oriental art. Initial work was supposed to have finished in March 2018

Vaporetto Salute


Two of the Tintorettos from the Madonna dell'Orto
(The Presentation of the Virgin is in the apse to the left)
 getting restored in San Gregorio in the late 1960s.



San Nicolò dei Mendicoli
12th-16th Centuries

The area around this church is thought to have been one of the first parts of Venice to be settled, being so close to the mainland, and tradition says that the first church here, dedicated to Saint Lawrence, was built in the 7th century by Paduans fleeing the Langobards. Some books say that this building may have been on the foundations of a castle. Recent restoration work found the foundations of this earlier church and discovered that it became Greek-cross shaped in the 8th century.
Fire in 1106 and 1149 destroyed this original church and the current church was built. It was dedicated to Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. The name 'dei Mendicoli' means 'of the Beggars', reflecting the area's long history as home to Venice's working classes, traditionally fishermen and their families. But another theory says that the name derives from Mendigola, the ancient name for the island on which it was built.
The church was restored in 1361-4 and remodelled in 1553-80. And in 1750-60 when the new Istrian stone entrance façade was created, perhaps by the Roman architect Paolo Posi. A priest was imprisoned for not being able to say where the money for this 18th century rebuilding came from. It was said that a hoard of Roman gold and silver coins had been found under the campanile. This story also adding weight to the one about the church being built on the site of an ancient temple.
There was a total restoration in 1923, when some wall paintings and the painted ceilings of the aisles and crossing were removed while the nave ceiling was cleaned. Some where not replaced, and those from the north and south aisle are said to have been lost.
Venice in Peril carried out major restoration work in the 1970s, after the floods of 1966 (see black and white photo below) including re-roofing, damp-proofing, work on paintings and crucifixes, and the raising of the floor, which was 30cm below canal level. More careful and revealing restoration took place in 2003.

The church
The creation of the present, somewhat baroque, Greek-temple-front side entrance led to restoration work on the old 15th-century porch which was once a common feature but only this one and those at San Giacometto and Torcello Cathedral remain. It was rebuilt in 1903 using bits of the 12th-century building. Poor and virtuous women were allowed to shelter and sleep here. The newer entrance has statues of the Virgin (centre) and Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint John of Nepomuk (flanking the door).

The interior
A nave with two aisles, the 12th-century basilica plan features two colonnades of columns with 14th-century capitals surmounted by rows of statues of the Twelve Apostles dating from the 16th century. The triple-arched screen between the nave and the sanctuary gives the impression of aisles on three sides and the three deep chapels in the right aisle make for a pleasing asymmetrical impression, so it's this spatial interest that appeals here, and the atmosphere generated by the darker upper parts.
The paintings, mostly late 16th/early 17th century,
feature no big-names - even the Marieschi painting is labelled 'attrib' and there are a lot of anonime works. The nave at clerestory level has ten large scenes from the life of Christ by Alvise dal Friso, but the Resurrection is by Palma Giovane. Frescoes over the apse arch of God the Father and The annunciation are also by Alvise dal Friso. The organ gallery has three paintings of The Miracles of Saint Marta by Carlotto Caliari, the son of Veronese.
The ceilings in the nave, crossing and aisles all acquired painted scenes and decoration during the late-16th-century remodelling. The central ceiling panel in the nave is The Apotheosis of Saint Nicholas by Francesco Montemezzano, an associate (possibly pupil)  of Veronese. Either side are two more square scenes from the saint's life by Leonardo Corona, a Murano-born painter who may have been a late pupil of Titian.
There are varied and attractive paintings on the chapel ceilings too; and do put a Euro in to illuminate the place - it cuts down on some of the shadowy atmosphere but makes it much easier to appreciate the art. Even more of a mixture of periods and styles than usual, then, but a pleasing effect nonetheless, and said to be based upon arcane numerical harmonies.

Lost art
Of the 16th-century ceiling paintings, Old and New Testament scenes in the north aisle, by Leonardo Corona and Andrea Schiavone, were removed in 1923 during restoration work and are now lost, I have read. The same fate is said to have befallen the scenes of the Legend of the True Cross and the Life of the Virgin by Alvise dal Friso. A circular Saint Nicholas in Glory from the crossing, by Carletto Caliari, Veronese's youngest son, evidently went into storage.

26m (85ft) manual bells
Dates from the 12th-century building. The clock was added in 1764. Damaged by a stray bomb in WWII, it also benefited from the  restoration work by Venice in Peril in the 1970s.

The fresco upstairs

than half of a fresco from the 14th century showing the Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saints John and two pairs of saints (including Peter and Mark) (photo right) discovered in the late 1970s in a small space above the apse. It appears to be the work of two hands, one responsible for the central figures and angels, the other for the flanking pairs of saints. See my fresco story

The church in film
This is the main church that Donald Sutherland is restoring in Don’t Look Now.

Opening times
Mon-Sat 10.00-12.00 & 3.00-5.30
Sunday 9.00-12.00

Vaporetto San Basilio







Continued on page 2


Cannaregio :: Castello :: Dorsoduro :: Giudecca :: San Marco :: San Polo :: Santa Croce :: The Islands :: Demolished