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Venice's most beautiful churches

Venice's most beautiful churches

Pedestrian, 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.

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1

Basilica of the Salute (Holy Mary of Health)   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Campo della Salute 30123 Venezia
Religious buildings

Built in 1630 by Baldassare Longhena to ward off a plague epidemic, this immense church crowned with a domed and standing almost exactly at the mouth of the Grand Canal, is one of the best-known sites of Venice. If the interior can seem quite cold within its majestic solemnity, it does contain some priceless works of art: The Wedding of Cana by Tintoretto, and works by Titian whose topic is sacrifice (ceiling of the Sacristy) and altarpieces by Luca Giordano.

2

Saint Mark's Basilica   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Piazza S. - Marco 30124 Venezia
Religious buildings

If the facade of Saint Mark's Basilica is superb, the marble interior, mosaics and bronze horses will leave you in awe, as much by the luminosity of the mosaics as by its 12C animal and geometric patterns. The edifice, consecrated in 1094, features a mixture of Byzantine and Western influences and is home to a host of treasures such as alabaster columns and a gold altarpiece!

3

Church of Saint Zachary   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Campo S. - Zaccaria 30122 Venezia
Religious buildings

A Lombard facade and 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 is the Holy Conversation by Giovanni Bellini (1505). You must also see the Chapel of Gold, which is the 13C heart of the early Gothic church.

4

Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Campo di S.S. - Giovanni e Paolo 30122 Venezia
Religious buildings

Built by the Dominicans from 1240 to 1430, this is the largest Gothic church in Venice. Its solemn character is derived from its historical role as doges' pantheon. The impressively spacious and light interior layout comprises a nave and two aisles preceding a transept which gives onto five apses. In the Rosary Chapel, note Veronese's New Testament scenes, and the St Vincent Ferrer polyptych by Giovanni Bellini (first altar on the right).

5

Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Campo S. - Maria Nova 30131 Venezia
Religious buildings

Its sophisticated architectural design and splendid polychrome marble decoration indicate that this church draws inspiration from 15C Tuscan examples. Built by Pietro Lombardo between 1481 and 1489, it is one of the earliest and best examples of Renaissance art in Venice. On the altar stands a Virgin and Child, the focus of devotion in this church dedicated to Mary.

6

Church of the Friars Minor   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Campo di Frari 30125 Venezia
Religious buildings

The huge late-Gothic church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari and its majestic facade are flanked by a 70m-high bell tower and home to a host of masterpieces. Among which the monument to Canova, a sort of Neoclassical pyramid opposite Titian's mausoleum, a stunning 15C side chapel, complete with 124 carved stalls, and a remarkable Madonna di Ca'Pesaro, by Titian, who also signed The Assumption (1516) in the main chapel.

7

Church of San Sebastiano   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Campo di S. - Sebastiano 30123 Venezia
Religious buildings

The beauty of San Sebastiano church lies primarily in its richly decorated interior, illuminated by superb frescoes by Veronese using a complex palette of contrasting hot and cold colours and light and dark shadows. The ceiling, adorned with trompe l'oeil motifs in imitation of architectural details, features Esther crowned by Ahasuerus, the Triumph of Mordecai and the Repudiation of Vasti.

8

Basilica of Holy Mary and Saint Donato (Murano)   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Campo S.Donato 30141 Venezia
Religious buildings

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.

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