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San Giovanni in Bragora
Church San Giovanni in Bragora dedicated to St John the Baptist, had been founded at the beginning of the 8th century by St Magnus, the Bishop of Oderzo. It was restored in the 9th and the 12th centuries and rebuilt in 1475 in the Gothic style. Its brick facade is divided vertically by pilasters that mark the internal division of the church into nave and side aisles. Addition to its name is probably derived from the old dialectal word "bragolare", meaning the fishing trade, or from "bragola", meaning a market square, but another tradition states that the church took its name from the Greek "agora", which means simply "square".
The best known painting in this church is "Baptism of Christ", made by Cima da Conegliano. Among the others are "Washing of the Feet" by Jacopo di Antonio Negretti called Palma Giovane, "Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist and St Andrew" by Bartolomeo Vivarini, "Resurrection" by Alvise Vivarini…
According to legend, San Giovanni in Bragora was one of the seven original churches on the islands of Venice. Another legend says that on the spot where the church now stands once stood the little church of St Mark, where, tradition has it, on his return from Aquileia St Mark the Evangelist greeted an angel with the words "Pax tibi Marce Evangelista meus", which form the motto of the Republic of Venice.
Antonio Vivaldi, famous Venetian composer and violinist, and Pietro Barbo, later to be Pope Paul II were baptized in Church San Giovanni in Bragora.
Address: Campo Bandiera e Moro, Castello
Directions: San Giovanni in Bragora is located in Castello area on Campo Bandiera e Moro or De la Bragora, by Riva degli Schavioni. The nearest vaporetto stations are "San Zaccaria" and "Arsenale".
San Giacomo dall'Orio
San Giacomo dall'Orio is one of the oldest churches of Venice. The original foundation of the building seems to date from the 9th century but the church was completely rebuilt in 1225. The churh was restored and modified in the 14th and the 15th centuries, the major renovation was undertaken in 1532 and the of Chapel of the Holy Sacrament was built in 1549. The origin of the name of the church is unknown. Possibilities include being named after a laurel – "lauro" that once stood nearby, a version of "dal Rio" – "of the river", or once standing on an area of dried-up swamp – "luprio".
Exterior of the San Giacomo dall'Orio is very austere, excluding, perhaps, square-plan bell tower built in the 13th century. The interior is beautiful, with quite unique, archaic atmosphere. Wooden keel roof with decorated wooden beams, built in late 14th or early 15th century and recently renovated, looks spectacularly.
San Giacomo dall'Orio treasures several paintings by Jacopo di Antonio Negretti called Palma Giovane considered to be the greatest of his achievements – "Passover", "Virgin and Child with Saints", "St Lawrence Giving the Wealth to the Poor", "The Martyrdom of St Lawrence"… Among the other paintings are "Virgin and Child with Saints" by Lorenzo Lotto, Veronese's "Doctors of the Church" and "Faith and the Holy Spirit"…
Although located on the square of the same name, one of the most beautiful Venetian squares – Campo San Giacomo dall'Orio, the church main facade and the portal face tiny Campiello del Piovan.
Address: Campiello del Piovan, Santa Croce
Directions: San Giacomo dall'Orio is a-few-minutes-walk far from Fodaco Dei Turchi (Natural History Museum) on Canal Grande. The nearest vaporetto stations are "San Stae" and "Riva di Biasio".
Santa Maria della Salute
[…] Opposite of the entrance door, the painting that grabs the first look is grandiose "Marriage in Cana" painted by Jacopo Robusti called Tintoretto. On the back wall of the sacristy, on the left as visitor enters, there is an early Titian's masterpiece – "St Mark Enthroned with Saints" surrounded by latter tondos representing the Four Evangelists: St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke and St John, as well as the Doctors of the Church: St Jerome, St Augustine, St Ambrose, and St Gregory the Great. Titian also painted the tree magnificent ceiling canvases – "Cain and Abel", "David and Goliath" and "The Sacrifice of Isaac".
Santa Maria della Salute has its place in Serbian culture as it was the inspiration for one of the greatest poems in Serbian language – "Santa Maria della Salute" written by Laza Kostic in 1909.
Address: Campo Salute, Dorsoduro
Directions: Santa Maria della Salute is visible from Piazzetta San Marco, and it is just one vaporetto station away from Pontile di San Marco.
San Pietro di Castello
Church San Pietro di Castello is on the island San Pietro di Castello – isolated and peaceful part of Venice. There were church at the same place since 7th century, first dedicated to SS. Sergio and Bacco, and then it seems that it was rebuilt by Bishop Magnus in honour of St Peter, and, in honour of the island, it was named San Pietro di Castello. San Pietro di Castello was the he Cathedral of Venice until 1807, when the title passed to St Mark’s. After several reconstructions, it was "redesigned" by Andrea Palladio in the 16th century. Paintings in this church are made by Marco Basaiti ("St Peter Enthroned and Four Saints"), Luca Giordano ("Virgin and Child with Souls in Purgatory"), Tizian, Paolo Caliari Veronese, Alessandro Varotari Padovanino…
There is so-called Throne of St Peter, presented to the Doge by Byzantine Emperor Michael III, in San Pietro di Castello. This throne, according to legend, was used by St Peter during his apostolic mission to Antioch of which he was the first bishop. Throne of St Peter plays an important role in Corto Maltese’s adventure in Venice.
Address: Campo San Pietro, Castello
Directions: San Pietro di Castelo church is on the Isola di San Pietro, at the east of Venice, and it can be reached by vaporetto ("San Pietro" station), or walking about 10 minutes from Giardini.
The Four Tetrarchs
The Four Tetrarchs is the porphyry sculpture on the south-west corner of San Marco Basilica. It represents the Tetrarchs – four rulers of the Roman Empire toward the end of its power – Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius and Constantius. The sculpture has been taken from Constantinople, during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, and the missing foot of one of the figures has been discovered in Istanbul in the 1960s, where it is still on display.
The sculpture symbolizes the unity of the Tetrarchy, rather than depicting four personal portraits. Each tetrarch looks the same, without any individualized characteristics.
Although on "the touristiest" location in the whole Venice, this sculpture is often missed. It should not be.
Horses of San Marco, replicas
Horses of San Marco, odd decoration of the portal of Basilica di San Marco, are probably the oldest part of the basilica itself. Those Roman or Greek bronze statues, originally part of a monument depicting a quadriga, date from 4th or 3rd century BC and they have been attributed to the Greek sculptor Lysippos.
Most of the time of their existence horses were displayed at the Hippodrome of Constantinople. In 1204 Doge Enrico Dandolo sent them to Venice as part of the loot sacked from Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade, and 50 years later, in 1254 they were installed on the terrace of the facade of the basilica. They were brought to Paris by Napoleon in 1797 where they were used in the design of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, but returned to Venice in 1815. Statues were hidden away for the duration of both world wars. Nevertheless they suffered damage from weathering over the centuries.
After a long restoration, since the 1990s they have been displayed in San Marco Museum, inside the basilica. The horses now on the facade are bronze replicas.
Address: Piazza San Marco - SAN MARCO
[…] The sacristy ceiling of the church is decorated with the earliest of Veronese's works for San Sebastiano – "Coronation of the Virgin" and frescoes representing the Four Evangelists – St John, St Luke, St Mark and St Matthew. The three large paintings on the ceiling of the nave – "The Banishment of Vashti", "Esther Crowned by Ahasuerus" and "The Triumph of Mordecai", painted in 1556, tell a story of Esther, the Persian Queen who saved the Jews from persecution. Paintings on the left and the right wall of the church depict the life, deeds and martyrdom of Saint Sebastian – "St Sebastian Reproving Diocletian", "Martyrdom of St Sebastian", painted in 1558, "Sts Mark and Marcellinus Being Led to Martyrdom" and "Martyrdom of St Sebastian", painted in 1565. "Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints", painted during 1564 and 1565, dominates the altar of the chancel. Several frescoes of the upper part of the nave are very noticeable – "Monk with a Black Boy", "St Sebastian"… and brilliant "Three Archers".
Organ, commissioned in 1558, was cast by Maestro Domenico da Treviso who agreed to follow Veronese's special design, and carved & gilded by Maestro Francesco Fiorentino and Maestro Bartolomeo Bolognese. Veronese decorated the wings of the organ with two paintings – "Presentation in the Temple", visible when wings are closed, and "Healing of the Lame Man at the Pool of Bethesda", visible when wings are opened.
Although of not very attractive exterior, rather small, and off the beaten path, San Sebastiano is one of the churches with the most impressive paintings and it should not be missed.
Address: Fondamenta San Sebastiano, Dorsoduro
Directions: The church of San Sebastiano is located in the Dorsoduro area by the Rio di San Sebastiano, approximately one hundred metres from its junction with the Canale della Giudecca.
"[…] In 1576 Doge Alvise Mocenigo invoked the end of the epidemic and the salvation of the city by constructing a votive temple 'which successors will go and visit, in perpetual memory of the grace received'. The first stone of the new shrine was laid in May 1577, and on the third Sunday in July of the same year Doge Sebastiano Venier proclaimed Venice free of contagion and asked Andrea Paladio to design the church which was completed in 1593. […]"
Santissimo Redentore – Church of the Most Holy Redeemer stands on the Giudecca island, on the waterfront of Canale della Giudecca. It is Andrea Paladio's masterpiece, although his first intention – to build a round church inspired by the Pantheon in Rome was not accepted, but his back-up plan based on elongated Latin cross and massive dome. Palladio did not live to see the church finished. His work, in accordance with his plans, was completed by architect Antonio Da Ponte. Facade of the church is typical Palladian – elegant and white, of a classical calm. Wide staircase of fifteen steps, which is reference to the Temple of Jerusalem, match the diameter of the dome. Above the center of tympanum stands the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
The church interior is spacious and bright. There are no burial places in it due to wish of the 16th century Capuchin monks whose monastery and church Santa Maria degli Angeli previously stood on the site of Santissimo Redentore – they asked that their new church never be used for burials, and that was granted.
Santissimo Redentore treasures some very noticeable artworks – Alvise Vivarini's "Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Child", "Baptism of Christ", painted by Paolo Cagliari called Veronese, "David and Achimelech" by Jacopo di Antonio Negretti called Palma Giovane… But the most impressive is beautiful, turbulent "Resurrection of Christ", masterpiece of Francesco Bassano.
In the church are wax portraits of the monastery abbots displayed under glass bell jars. Unfortunately we have heard about them to late and we have not seen them. It is the task for the future time.
Santissimo Redentore is the venue of the traditional Festa del Redentore – Festival of the Redeemer, annual celebration of the end of the plague that struck Venice in the 16th century.
Address: Campo del Redentore, Giudecca
Directions: Santissimo Redentore is visible from Piazzeta San Marco and it can be reached by vaporetto, "Redentore" station, starting from "San Zacaria Danieli" station.
San Giorgio Maggiore
San Giorgio Maggiore is church on the island of the same name. It is artwork of Andrea Palladio, one of the most famous and the most influental architects. The building of this church, which began in 1566 and the facade was completed in 1610, 30 years after Palladio's death. The church is a beautiful example example of Palladio's architectural style, and one of the finest buildings he designed. The bell tower, first built in 1467, fell in 1774 and it was rebuilt in 1791. The Benedictine monks still officiate in the church.
Among the artworks inside the church are replica of Vittore Carpaccio's masterpiece "St George and the Dragon", influential Jacopo Bassano's "Adoration of the Shepherds"… But the most precious of artworks treasured in San Giorgio Maggiore are three paintings made by Jacopo Robusti called Tintoretto: "Entombment", "The Jews in the Desert" and the most famous of all, artist's masterpiece, one of his latest (if not the last) and his best artworks – "The Last Supper". Tintoretto painted the Last Supper several times in his life, his paintings of the Last Supper are in Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Santo Stefano and San Polo churches, and it is very interesting to compare one in San Giorgio Maggiore with his earlier paintings of the same subject.
Address: Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Giudecca
Directions: San Giorgio Maggiore is visible from Piazzeta San Marco and it can be reached by vaporetto, "San Giorgio" station, starting from "San Zacaria Danieli" station.
Santa Maria Formosa
Church Santa Maria Formosa dominates the square of the same name. The church dates back to the 7th century and, according to tradition, it was founded by St Magnus, bishop of Oderzo. The name "formosa" relates to an alleged appearance of the Holy Virgin disguised as a fashionable woman. The church was restored several times, particularly in the 9th and 12th centuries, and finally rebuilt in 1492 by Mauro Codussi. But when Codussi died in 1504, he had still not begun work on the facades which long remained unfinished. Almost 40 years later, in 1542 Capello family financed construction of the Renaissance-style facade facing the channel. The Baroque facade, facing the square, was completed one century afrer Codussi’s dead – in 1604, and work was financed by the same Capello family. The bell tower is the 17th century Baroque addition too.
Among the most remarkable artworks in Santa Maria Formosa are "Triptych of Madonna of Misericordia" by Bartolomeo Vivarini, "Polyptych of St Barbara" by Jacopo Negretti called Palma Vecchio, "The Last Supper" by Leandro Bassano…
Address: Campo Santa Maria Formosa, San Marco
Directions: Santa Maria Formosa is located approximately on the half way from Piazza San Marco to Campo San Giovanni e Paolo.
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