Only a few meters away from the Rialto Bridge, in the San Polo district (sestiere), there is a church considered to be the oldest in Venice, the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, popularly known as San Giacométo.
According to tradition, the church was consacrated on March 25, 421, but the studies have shown that it was built much later. In a document of 1097, the place is mentioned, but without the church, and the first reliable information dates back to 1152.
It seems that the church was consecrated only in 1177 by the Doge Sebastiano Ziani.
In 1513, the church escaped the serious fire that devastated the nearby Rialto Market. In 1531, it underwent a restoration, and again in 1601, after an order of the Doge Marino Grimani, with the floor being raised to face the high water.
Currently, the Church of San Giacomo is a rectorial church, dependent on the parish of San Silvestro.
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 the city.
The clock, added to the church in 1410, was restored in 1749, and the entire facade was restored in 1958. The current bell-gable was also built in 1749. Under the bells, there is a Gothic relief of the Virgin and Child from the early 16th century.
The interior follows the traditional cross plan with a central dome.
The history of the church is linked to the Rialto Market, and the testimony stands on an inscription on the external apse, dating back to the 12th century, which invites traders to honesty.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of San Giacomo di Rialto is located about 1.6 kilometers away from the Venezia Santa Lucia railway station. The closest vaporetto stop is Rialto, located on the other side of the bridge. You can reach the Rialto stop with the waterbuses 1 and 2.
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