The Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth, known locally as Chiesa degli Scalzi, is a wonderful church in Venice, overlooking the Grand Canal, located near the Santa Lucia railway station and the beautiful Ponte degli Scalzi.
The church is the seat of the religious Order of the Discalced Carmelites (or the Barefoot Carmelites, scalzi meaning barefoot in Italian).
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, funded by the Venetian diplomat Girolamo Cavazza, and was completed in 1689 by Giuseppe Pozzo, seven years after Longhena’s death.
The church was consecrated in 1705 and the Order of the Discalced Carmelites used it together with the adjacent convent until the beginning of the 19th century. In 1810, they left the church, returning 30 years later, in 1840.
The church of Santa Maria di Nazareth was restored between 1853 and 1862, while only a few years later, with the appearance of the Santa Lucia railway station, the convent was demolished.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The facade of the church was built in Baroque style between 1672 and 1680 by the architect Giuseppe Sardi, and decorated with saints sculpted by Bernardo Falconi, an artist who also made the statue of the two atlases on Punta della Dogana.
Among the artworks we can admire inside the church, we can mention the Christ at Gesthemane and the Apotheosis of St. Teresa, both by Giambattista Tiepolo, the sculpture of St. Teresa in Extasis by Heinrich Meyring, and the Crucifixion of Giovanni Maria Morlaiter.
Tiepolo’s fresco entitled Translation of the House of Loreto was destroyed along with the roof of the church in 1915 by an Austrian bombing. Fragments of the fresco are now kept in the Accademia Gallery, and the church ceiling is decorated today by a painting of Ettore Tito, made in 1934.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth is located a few meters away from the Santa Lucia train station. In front of the church, there is the vaporetto stop Ferrovia Scalzi, which can be reached with one of the waterbus Lines 2 and 5.2.
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