The Church of San Stae stands on the right bank of the Grand Canal, as you come from Piazzale Roma, heading to Piazza San Marco, between Palazzo Vendramin Calergi and Ca d’Oro, at an equal distance. Its external facade, characterized by rich decorations, faces the Canal Grande, and you can not pass beside it on a vaporetto without at least one admirative look.
The church is said to have been built in 966 and dedicated to Sant’Eustacchio (San Stae, in the Venetian dialect). St. Eustacchio was the commander of Trajan’s army, who would have seen a crucifix between the antlers of a deer, while hunting.
The first reference is in a document from 1127, where the church is remembered as a filial parish of San Pietro. This original church, rebuilt in the 12th century following a fire, was demolished in 1678.
The current church was built by Giovanni Grassi, who realigned it to face the Grand Canal.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The facade, which has the form of a temple, with an imposing triangular pediment, supported by columns resting on high pedestals, was built by Domenico Rossi in 1709, whose design was the winner of a competition. The facade features the work of seven sculptors, among which we can mention Giuseppe Torretto, Antonio Tarsia, Pietro Baratta and Antonio Corradini.
The interior reveals a clear influence from Andrea Palladio. The single nave is flanked on each side by three open chapels and, in the center of the church, the flooring is occupied by a large tombstone that marks the burial place of Doge Alvise Mocenigo, who had paid for Rossi’s façade.
Inside, there are some works by the most famous Venetian Baroque artists of the early 18th century. We find paintings by Sebastiano Ricci, Giambattista Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista Pittoni and Giambattista Piazzetta.
HOW TO GET THERE
The church has its own vaporetto station, right in front of it, San Stae, that can be reached with the waterbus of ACTV Line 1.