Although the historical center of Venice, located on a group of 118 islands, is small, the number of monuments and buildings related to its area, is enormous. Of these structures, more than 100 are churches…
The churches of Venice were built by great architects, in different periods and architectural styles, and hide priceless artistic treasures. Small or large, sumptuously decorated or sober, every Venetian church represents an important tourist attraction and is worth discovering.
Below, you will find the most important churches in Venice, in our opinion, and we hope you will agree with this list. If not, be sure to tell us in a comment.
10. CHURCH OF SAN GIACOMO DI RIALTO
The Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, popularly known as San Giacométo, is a church considered to be the oldest in Venice. The church is located only a few meters away from the Rialto Bridge, in the San Polo district (sestiere).
According to tradition, the church was consacrated on March 25, 421, but the studies have shown that it was built much later, and the first reliable information dates back to 1152.
Interesting are the exterior with the bell-gable, the large clock and the Gothic porch, one of the last examples of this kind left in Venice.
Time: Monday-Saturday, from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm; Sunday, from 11.00 am to 7.00 pm | Tickets: FREE Admission | Waterbus stop: Rialto
9. CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DI NAZARETH
The Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth, known locally as Chiesa degli Scalzi, is a church overlooking the Grand Canal, located near the Santa Lucia railway station and the beautiful Ponte degli Scalzi.
After the Discalced Carmelites settled in Venice in 1633, they asked the architect Baldassare Longhena to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The construction of the edifice began in 1656, and was completed in 1689 by Giuseppe Pozzo, seven years after the architect’s death. The facade of the church was built in Baroque style between 1672 and 1680 by the architect Giuseppe Sardi.
Among the artworks we can admire inside the church, we can mention the Christ at Gesthemane and the Apotheosis of Saint Teresa, both by Giambattista Tiepolo, the sculpture of Saint Teresa in Extasis by Heinrich Meyring, and the Crucifixion of Giovanni Maria Morlaiter.
Time: Every day, from 7.00 am to 12.00 pm and from 3.00 pm to 6.50 pm | Tickets: FREE Admission | Waterbus stop: Ferrovia
8. CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DEI MIRACOLI
The Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli is a small church in Venice, located in sestiere of Cannaregio.
The church was built between 1481 and 1489 on a project by the architect Pietro Lombardo, at the behest of the Lombard merchant Angelo Amadi, who desired a proper shrine for a painting depicting the Virgin, considered miraculous by the locals.
The beautiful facade of the church is covered in polychrome marble and adorned with squares, crosses, stars and circles.
Time: Every day, from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm | Tickets: 3.00€ | Waterbus stop: Rialto
7. CHURCH OF SAN ZACCARIA
The church was started in 1444 by the architect Antonio Gambello, and completed after his death, in 1504, by the architect Mauro Codussi. It was consecrated in 1543.
The superb facade of the church, in Istrian stone, is divided in five orders. The lower two orders, work of Gambello, are in late-Gothic style, and the upper orders, by Codussi, in Renaissance style. The facade, with many mullioned windows, is dominated by a large arched tympanum surmounted by the statue of San Zaccaria.
Time: Monday-Saturday, from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm and from 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm; Sunday, from 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm | Tickets: FREE Admission | Waterbus stop: San Zaccaria
6. CHURCH OF SAN PIETRO DI CASTELLO
Until 1807, the Church of San Pietro di Castello was the Cathedral of Venice. The structure is located on the northeastern area of the city, in the Castello district, not far from the Arsenal of Venice.
Although a first structure was built in the 9th century, the current church dates from the second half of the 16th century, on a project by the architect Andrea Palladio.
The current facade of the church does not exactly reflect the original design of Andrea Palladio, but is faithful to its essential lines.
Time: Monday-Saturday, from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm; Sunday, closed | Tickets: 3.00€ | Waterbus stop: San Pietro di Castello
5. BASILICA OF SANTA MARIA DELLA SALUTE
The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute was built in the 17th century on the southern bank of the Grand Canal, close to its eastern end.
The church represents a symbolic image of Venice, and the favorite subject of many famous artists such as Michele Marieschi, Francesco Guardi, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert and Canaletto.
The construction of the church began in 1631 on a design by Baldassare Longhena, but the soil was not solid enough to support this massive structure, and the church was completed only in 1687, five years after the architect’s death.
The church, viewed from above, has an octagonal shape, the central dome being surrounded by buttresses in Baroque style, that make the structure more stable. The facade, built of Istrian stone, was enriched with numerous sculptures of angels and saints.
Time: Monday-Saturday: 9.30 am to 12.00 pm and 3.00 pm to 5.30 pm; Sunday: 10.00 am to 12.00 pm and 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm | Tickets: 4.00€ | Waterbus stop: Salute
4. BASILICA DEI SANTI GIOVANNI E PAOLO
The Basilica of Saints John and Paul, known in the Venetian dialect as San Zanipolo, is the largest church in Venice, located in the homonymous square, in the Castello district.
The church was built starting with the 13th century, completed in 1368, and it was solemnly cosecrated on November 14, 1430.
The church has a salient facade in Gothic style, characterised by a large central rose window and two smaller lateral ones. The lower order of the facade is characterized by six niches, which house some sepulchres, and by the large portal, decorated with six marble columns, work of the sculptor Bartolomeo Bon.
Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo is considered the pantheon of Venice, thanks to the large number of Venetian doges and other important people who were buried there since the 13th century.
Time: Monday-Saturday, from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm; Sunday, from 12.00 pm to 6.00 pm | Tickets: 3.50€ | Waterbus stop: Ospedale
3. IL REDENTORE
When you are looking at the Giudecca Island, from Zattere, your eyes are attracted by the splendid creation of Andrea Palladio, the Church of the Holy Redeemer.
The church impresses at first from the distance, thanks to its massive structure, but only in front of it you will be able to discover the details that complete one of the most valuable architectural creations of the Venetian Renaissance.
The church was built on a project by Andrea Palladio starting with 1577, and completed in 1592 by Antonio da Ponte.
Il Redentore houses a series of paintings signed by Jacopo Bassano, Paolo Veronese or Alvise Vivarini, and sculptures by Jacopo Tatti (Sansovino).
Time: Monday-Saturday, from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm | Tickets: 3.00€ | Waterbus stop: Redentore
2. BASILICA OF SANTA MARIA GLORIOSA DEI FRARI
The Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is one of the largest churches in Venice, and one of Italy’s most important Franciscan sites. The church, commonly known as Frari, is located in the homonymous Campo dei Frari, in the sestiere of San Polo.
The church was built starting with 1330 by the architect Jacopo Celega, and was completed in 1396 by his son, Pier Paolo.
The church has impressive dimensions, measuring 102 meters in lenght, 48 meters in width and 28 meters in height. The exterior, built of bricks in Gothic style, is rather plain, like many other Franciscan churches.
The church houses 17 monumental altars, many tombs and funeral monuments of numerous personalities, including the composer Claudio Monteverdi, the painter Tiziano Vecellio (Titian), the sculptor Antonio Canova, as well as numerous doges, and many invaluable works of art.
Time: Monday-Saturday, from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm; Sunday, from 1.00 pm to 6.00 pm | Tickets: 3.00€ | Waterbus stop: San Toma
1. BASILICA OF SAN MARCO
The Basilica of San Marco (Saint Mark’s Basilica) is the Cathedral of Venice, located in the beautiful Piazza San Marco, in the district of San Marco.
The current Basilica dates back to 1063, and was begun by Doge Domenico Contarini and continued by Domenico Selvo and Vitale Falier. The consecration of the Basilica took place in 1094.
The church measures 76.5 meters in lenght and 62.60 in width, in the transept area, while the central dome is 43 meters high.
The facade has two orders, the lower one marked by five large splayed portals that lead to the internal atrium, and the upper one with a walkable terrace and four blind arches plus a central one in which there is a loggia which houses a sculptural quadriga (four horses).
Time: Every day, from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm | Tickets: FREE Admission | Waterbus stop: San Zaccaria