Things to see and do - Venice
Venice's most beautiful churches :
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Venice's most beautiful churches
Venice's most beautiful churchesPedestrian, Other, 10 km, 1 day
Byzantine style (St Marks Basilica), flowery Gothic (Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo), Renaissance (San Rocco) and Baroque (Santa Maria della Salute, a masterpiece by Baldassarre Longhena), the Venetian churches unfold all of the magnificent history of the architecture of the lagoon. Together, they make up a beautiful poem in stone that is reflected in the canals.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
The Basilica of the Salute means health, the health hoped for by all Venetians when they raised this basilica in 1630 to ward off a plague epidemic. But it also represents the salvation of their souls, because you never know. Baldassare Longhena was placed at the head of the construction work to build this always venerated church, and especially so on the 21st of November, when Venetians commemorate the end of the epidemic. This imposing building crowned with an immense white dome topped by a statue of the Virgin, is even more impressive because of the gigantic staircase leading up to it and the multitude of statues that decorate the building's exterior. Dictated by the main cupola, the floor plan consists of a central area surrounded by six chapels. A polychrome marble floor leads to the center of the building, with five roses evocative of a rosary. The interior is solemn. The Mesoponditissa (an icon brought from Crete known as the Madonna of the Salvation) is the central piece, crowned with an allegorical group representing Venice freed from the Plague (by the Flemish artist Justin the Short), and the interior is strikingly cold. The Sacristy has several works of art: theatrical theme works Wedding of Cana by Tintoretto capture the attention of the visitors who should not miss the two works by Palma, the altarpieces by Luca Giordano and, on the ceiling, paintings by Titian that create a dramatic atmosphere.
Its five domes outlined in the sky, its facade interrupted by a terrace with balustrade ornamented by a group of bronze horses, the mosaics on its portals showing the story of the return of Saint Mark's body to Venice, offer a spectacular vision that you will have all the time to admire if you just stand at the tail of the line of visitors that sometimes extends to the other end of the square. Don't be discouraged by the wait, as you must not miss the inside of the basilica. Even the least interested among you will be left in awe of the place! The first impression you get is oddly oriental. The magnificent marble floor contributes to this effect. But most of all it is the sumptuous golden mosaics that literally cover the entire building and illuminate the whole place, especially on a sunny day! You might not have the time to interpret the scenes from the New Testament, but in the end it doesn't really matter: the whole is spectacular! Under the entrance porch, a staircase leads to the gallery and the Saint Mark's Museum - do go upstairs! From there you will get a panoramic view of the interior of the basilica and, from the outside gallery, you will get a sumptuous view of the city and Piazza San Marco. In the museum you attention will turn, without any doubt, towards the bronze horses. They were brought to Venice as part of the spoils of the 4th Crusade. But they actually date from way before that time, and they will impress you with their extraordinary aliveness.
A Lombard facade, a masterpiece of the Renaissance, built by Codussi between 1480 and 1500 according to the plan for the Church of Saint Michael. A spacious interior with a Renaissance nave and Gothic choir, and walls that are literally covered with paintings: the most famous one is the Holy Conversation by Giovanni Bellini (1505). You must also see the Chapel of Gold adorned with three splendid altarpieces from 1443, by Antonio Vivarini (paintings) and Ludovico da Forli (frames).
Immense, built with red bricks by the Dominicans between 1240 and 1430, this church is the worthy counterpart of its Franciscan competitor of the Friars Minor on the opposite bank of the Grand Canal. The sober facade remained sober, as the planned polychrome marble decoration was never finished. A portal made of marble decorated with a leaf and rope motif is the work of Bartolomeo Bon. The interior is spacious and bright. It was created to be a Pantheon for the doges of the Venetian Republic, and has a number of mausoleums, including that of the Mocenigo family, on the inside of the façade. You will also find many monuments and memorials: of the Bandiera brothers executed by a firing squad in 1844 and who share space with the doge Nicollo Marcello, who died almost four centuries earlier... Items not to be missed are the Polyptych by Bartolomeo Vivarini that represents a particularly severe Saint Augustine, a statue of the doge Sebastiano Venier, a victor of the Battle of Lepanto over the Turks, a few remarkable works of art by Veronese, the majestic monument to doge Andrea Vendramin executed by Tullio Lombardo (1493), that of the doge Leonardo Loredan, by Girolamo Campagna. Also notice a magnificent stained glass window in the right arm of the transept, executed by a master glass artist from Murano according to sketches by Bartolomeo Vivarini, Cima da Conegliano and Girolamo Mocetto. Last but not least, the Polyptych of Saint Vincent Ferrier is a masterpiece by Giovanni Bellini.
A magnificent example of polychrome marble marquetry, standing on the edge of a curvy canal, dominating a tiny campo as a symphony appears to flow out from the closed windows - a truly harmonious and well-balanced whole that words alone cannot describe. Run over and abandon yourself to daydreaming while sitting on the steps of the humped bridge over the canal...
The "Frari" are the Frati Minori, which means the Friars Minor, a kind of Franciscan monks. Immense, the style of this church reminds us of the Dominican churches, Saint Zanipolo that is in away its counterpart. Flanked by a bell tower that is 70 m tall (the tallest after Saint Mark), this Gothic style building stands out for its sheer size no matter which angle you see it from. The three-part facade ornamented with three rose windows carved out of Istria stone, has a portal that is topped by statues executed by Alessandro Vittoria and Bartolomeo Bon. But you will actually enter the church through a side door, where you should be sure to notice the fine detail of the tympanum statues. Once inside, there is no doubt that you will be impressed upon discovering its three naves dominated by an intertwining of beams located under the ribbed vaulting. Of course, it has a number of works of art that make it a museum-church. The monument to Canova, could only be of a Neoclassical style, as it was designed by the sculptor himself... though for Titian! You will also see Titian's painting that dominates the altar of la Madonna de Ca' Pesaro and above all, the extraordinary Assumption, the highlight of this church! An amusing fact is that there are only eleven Apostles, which rather amazed the good friars... Among the other works, do not miss a marvelous Triptych by Giovani Bellini with a certain caring touch; Titian's mausoleum, which was finally completed in the 19th C.; the 124 finely carved stalls in the axial chapel, and the Byzantine sarcophagus of the doge Francesco Dandolo.
This church has a very complex floor plan and a very rich decor: a painting by Titian, a funerary monument by Sansovino, a bust marking the location of Veronese's tomb, who dedicated large portion of his life to painting superb frescoes for this church, under the orders of a monk and friend, who gave the artist free reign in terms of artistic expression... which did cause a few problems later own with the Holy Inquisition and its finicky ways! But the final result is magnificent.
Facing the canal, the chevet of this very old basilica offers a remarkable view. The central circular apse is a masterpiece of Venetian Byzantine art of the 12C. Inside, a superb floor made of mosaic that is especially rich in terms of embellishments that are symbolic, or represent animals, which remind you of the mosaics at San Marco.