The Church of San Zaccaria is a beautiful church in Venice, located in the sestiere (district) of Castello, in Campo San Zaccaria, not far from the St. Mark’s Square. The church is dedicated to Saint Zechariah, father of Saint John the Baptist.
A first church was built on this site in 827 by Doge Giustiniano Partecipazio to accommodate the remains of San Zaccaria, who were donated by the Byzantine Emperor Leo V the Armenian to the city of Venice. An adjacent convent was built around the same time.
In 1105, a terrible fire destroyed the ancient church and the convent, and it is said that more than a hundred nuns, who took refuge in the basement, died asphyxiated.
The current church was started in 1444 by the architect Antonio Gambello, and completed after his death, in 1504, by the architect Mauro Codussi. The church was consecrated in 1543.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
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.
The interior of the church, with three naves and cross vaults, has an apse surrounded by an ambulatory, illuminated by tall windows in Gothic style.
The walls are covered with paintings dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The most important work of art in the church is the San Zaccaria Altarpiece, also called Madonna Enthroned with Child and Saints, by Giovanni Bellini, painted in 1505.
The church also houses works by Andrea del Castagno, Palma Vecchio, Tintoretto, Giuseppe Porta, Palma il Giovane, Antonio Vassilacchi, Anthony van Dyck, Andrea Celesti, Antonio Zanchi, Antonio Balestra, Angelo Trevisani and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest vaporetto stop is San Zaccaria, located about 120 meters away, on the waterbus Lines 1, 2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 14, 15, 19, 20. To find the church on foot, use the map below.
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