All Churches in Venice

Italy has many churches, and all of them are beautiful and full of spectacular works of art. The main church of the city is referred as Il Duomo, but you will find churches that are named Basilica, Chiesa or Cattedrale, depending on their size and importance.

From the Italy’s most famous church, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, in Florence, to the Duomo di Milano, and further, to Basilica San Marco, in Venice, Duomo di Siena or Campo dei Miracoli, in Pisa, and up to Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Cathedral of Rome, the route of the most beautiful churches in Italy is assured, and if you are passionate about art and beauty, in general, you should follow it.

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    Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

    There are many churches in Venice, and many are beautiful, but few impress like the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. It may be the place, because not many churches have their own island, or it may be the bell-tower, probably second in height after the one in the Saint Mark’s Square, but we can easily believe that, among all, the inspiration of Andrea Palladio matters probably the most.   SHORT HISTORY In 982, the Doge Tribuno Memmo donated the island of San Giorgio Maggiore to a benedictine monk, who will establish here a monastery. The church, built five years later, from brick and wood, will last until 1223, when it will be severely damaged by an earthquake. The Doge Pietro Ziani will fix it, only to retreat to the island a few years later. In 1109, the relics of St. Stephen will be brought here from Constantinople, and the annual celebration held on 26 December, on the saint’s day, will become one of the most popular Christian holidays in the Venetian calendar. The church we see today was begun by Andrea Palladio in 1565 and completed after his death, in 1610. The one who finished the project was, apparently, Vincenzo Read more [...]

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    Il Redentore

    When you are looking at the Giudecca Island, from Zattere, your eyes are attracted by the splendid creation of Andrea Palladio, Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore or, commonly known, Il Redentore (The 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.   SHORT HISTORY After the plague epidemic of 1575-1577, that killed over 50,000 Venetians, the Senate of the Republic decided to build a church to celebrate the end of the scourge and to thank the Divinity. The mission was entrusted to the great Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, who was to begin the construction in 1577 and to leave it, after his death in 1580, to Antonio da Ponte, who would complete it many years later, in 1592. After the church was finished, the Venetian Senate established that every July, a pontoon will be built to link Zattere with the Giudecca island. In time, this tradition will become an important celebration for the Venetians, known as Festa del Redentore.   ARCHITECTURE Considered the most beautiful church built by Palladio, Read more [...]

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    Santa Maria della Salute

    On the southern bank of the Grand Canal, near to its end leading to St. Mark’s Basin, one of the most beautiful churches of Venice, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, was built in the 17th century. A symbolic picture of the floating city, that appears in many of the documentaries about Venetian architecture, but also in many paintings left by famous artists such as Michele Marieschi, Francesco Guardi, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert and, of course, Canaletto.   SHORT HISTORY After the plague of 1630, which is said to have killed nearly a third of the population of Venice, the Venetian senate decided to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After a competition between several architects of that time, the project was entrusted to the young Baldassare Longhena. The construction began in 1631, but the soil was not solid enough to support this massive structure, and the church was to be completed very late, not until 1687, five years after Longhena’s death. Every year, on November 21, Festa della Madonna della Salute is celebrated. The Venetians build a bridge over the Grand Canal, from San Marco to Dorsoduro, where locals go to worship the Virgin Mary, and Read more [...]

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    Church of Madonna dell’Orto

    The Church of Madonna dell’Orto is a beautiful Gothic church located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built by the religious congregation of Humiliati around the middle of the 14th century, and dedicated to God, to the Blessed Virgin and to Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. Because of its weak foundations, the church underwent important restoration works in 1399. In 1414, the Council of Ten, one of the highest governing bodies of the Republic of Venice, granted the church the name of Madonna dell’Orto, which was already popular among the locals. The name came from a miraculous statue of the Madonna, brought to the church from a nearby garden (orto meaning garden in Italian). In 1462, the Humiliati were expelled by a decree of the same council, and the church was assigned to the congregation of the Canons Regular of San Giorgio in Alga, which was suppressed in 1668. The convent of the Madonna dell’Orto passed in 1669 to the Congregation of the Cistercian Monks, and in 1787 came under a public administration. In 1841, the Austrian government of Venice ordered a general restoration at its own expense. The restoration of Read more [...]

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    Church of San Michele in Isola

    The Church of San Michele in Isola is a beautiful church dedicated to Saint Michael, located in Venice, on the island of San Michele, near the cemetery with the same name.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place in 1221, but was destroyed by a fire in 1453. The current church dates back to the second half of the 15th century. More precisely, the church was built between 1468 and 1479 by the great architect Mauro Codussi, the same architect of the Church of San Zaccaria, the Vendramin Calergi Palace and the Clock Tower from the San Marco Square. In 1530, the architect Guglielmo Bergamasco built a hexagonal chapel to the left of the church, known as Cappella Emiliani. In 1560, the famous sculptor and architect Jacopo Sansovino renovated the church and the chapel.   ARCHITECTURE The church has a tripartite facade divided by Ionic pilasters, with two superimposed levels. The lower one is characterized by a smooth ashlar, with a central portal with a triangular tympanum and two high arched windows in correspondence of the aisles. The upper level, included between the Ionic pilasters, has a large oculus, around which are arranged four polychrome marble Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giacomo dall’Orio

    Founded in the 9th century, the Church of San Giacomo dall’Orio is one of the oldest churches in Venice. The church, located in the Santa Croce district, in the Campo San Giacomo dall’Orio, is part of the same parish with the Church of San Stae and the Church of San Zan Degolà.   SHORT HISTORY The church was erected in the 9th century and rebuilt in Byzantine style in 1225 by the noble families Badoer and Da Mula. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the church was remodeled in Gothic style. From this church, the pilgrimages to Santiago di Compostela began, as evidenced by the image of a man carrying a shell placed on the bell tower. The tower dates back to 1225.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The interior is characterized by the coexistence of various architectural styles: the bell tower and the basilica plan with three naves belong to the Byzantine style, while the roof is Gothic and the decorations of the main altar and the central nave are Lombard. On the counter-facade, we can find the organ and, underneath, three 16th-century paintings attributable to Andrea Schiavone: Appeal of the Apostles, Dispute of Jesus with the doctors of the Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Alvise

    The Church of Sant’Alvise is a Gothic church in Venice, located in the Cannaregio district, overlooking the homonymous square. The church is dedicated to Saint Louis of Toulouse, a Neapolitan prince from the House of Anjou canonized in 1317, known in Venice as Sant’Alvise.   SHORT HISTORY The church of Sant’Alvise was built in 1383, together with the nearby convent, by the noblewoman Antonia Venier, after the saint appeared to her in a dream. Later, Antonia Venier retired in the monastery, following the Augustinian rule. At the beginning of the 16th century, other Augustinian nuns were welcomed here, after they escaped from the territories affected by the War of the League of Cambrai. The church underwent a major reconstruction in the 17th century, which largely changed the interior.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church is built in Gothic style, having a basilica plan. The facade, very simple, is delimited by six protruding pilasters, connected by ogival arches. The portal in Istrian stone is enriched by a statue of Sant’Alvise in marble, attributed to Bartolomeo Bon. The bell tower retained its original Gothic appearance of the 14th century. It was built in terracotta, with a pinecone cusp and spiers at the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth

    The Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth, known locally as Chiesa degli Scalzi, is a wonderful church in Venice, 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).   SHORT HISTORY 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 train station, the convent was demolished.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church was built in Baroque style between 1672 and 1680 by the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Zan Degolà

    The Church of San Giovanni Battista Decollato (Saint John the Baptist Beheaded), abbreviated in the Venetian dialect as San Zan Degolà, is a church located in the sestiere of Santa Croce, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY The church was founded in the 8th century, but the first documented information dates back to the beginning of the 11th century, when the church was rebuilt by the Venier family, residing in a palace nearby. In 1213, the church was renovated at the expense of the Pesaro family, and again in 1703, when the current facade and the bell tower were built. In 1807, the Napoleonic decrees suppressed the parish and led to the deconsecration of the church, which was transformed into a warehouse. In 1818, the church was reopened and assigned to the parish of San Giacomo dall’Orio, to which it still belongs as a vicarial church. Today, the church is the seat of the Russian Orthodox Christian community and the liturgies are held regularly every week.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church is one of the rare examples of Venetian-Byzantine architecture that remained fairly intact in its original conception up to the present day. Only the facade and the bell tower Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giovanni in Bragora

    The Church of San Giovanni in Bragora is a church located in the homonymous square, in the sestiere of Castello, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY Although the first document mentioning the church dates back to 1090, it seems that the structure was built earlier, in 829. The church was rebuilt in the 10th century, under Doge Pietro III Candiano, to house some presumed relics of St. John the Baptist, to which is dedicated, and again in 1178. In 1464, when Pietro Barbo became Pope Paul II, the church was restructured according to a late Gothic style by the architect Sebastiano Mariani, taking its current form. The works lasted thirty years, from 1475 to 1505, at the end of which it was reconsecrated, as it is shown on the facade, on the lintel above the entrance, under the lunette. In 1481, the chapel dedicated to Saint John the Merciful was built, which houses the precious relics of the saint since 1249. Over time, the bell tower of the church collapsed several times. The first structure, from the 9th century, underwent a major renovation between 1475 and 1498, only to be demolished in 1567 due to its precarious condition. Rebuilt in 1568, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Marcuola

    The Church of San Marcuola is a church dedicated to Saints Hermagoras and Fortunatus, located in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice. The church is situated across the Grand Canal from the Fondaco dei Turchi. The name Marcuola comes from the Venetian pronunciation for Hermagoras.   SHORT HISTORY The current church was built in the 12th century on the site of an ancient church from the 9th century, thanks to the contributions of the Memmo family, owners of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. In 1663, minor changes were made to the structure. Later, the architect Antonio Gaspari presented a new renovation project, but the works were started only after his death, under the direction of the architect Giorgio Massari. In 1736, Giorgio Massari managed to complete the interior of the church, but the facade remained unfinished. In 1779, the church was consecrated for the last time by the Patriarch Federico Maria Giovanelli.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a single nave with a square plan, covered by a barrel vault. The presbytery was created from a semicircular apse, and is practically the vestibule of the beautiful rectangular main chapel, surmounted by an oval dome, supported by four columns. Read more [...]

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    Church of Spirito Santo

    The Church of Spirito Santo (Church of the Holy Spirit) is a church located on the Zattere promenade, in the sestiere of Dorsoduro, in Venice.   SHORT HISTORY In 1483, the monastery of the Augustinian nuns of the Holy Spirit was founded on this place, with a church enclosed within its walls. From the beginning, the monastery distinguished itself by scandals caused by the nuns, documented by the archives of the time. In the first decades of the 16th century, when the foundations of the Zattere were settled on the Giudecca Canal, the monastery was restructured in a radical way. The old church was demolished to make room for the cloister and, in 1506, the construction of the current church began, with the facade oriented towards the Giudecca Canal. At the same time, near the church, separated from it by the Calle Larga della Chiesa, the building of the School of the Holy Spirit was also started.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church has a poorly proportioned structure: the portal and the two side windows on the ground floor apparently denote an initial project focused more on the width of the building than on its height, while the second Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Fosca

    The Church of Santa Fosca is a church dedicated to Saint Fusca of Ravenna, located on the island of Torcello, in the Venice Lagoon, part of the largest complex of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Saint Fusca of Ravenna was a child martyr killed along with her nurse, Maura, around 250 AD, in Ravenna, under the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Decius.   SHORT HISTORY It seems that a church dedicated to Santa Fosca existed on this place since the first half of the 9th century. Around 1000, the building was part of the larger project promoted by the Bishop Orso Orseolo, for the reconstruction of the entire complex of the cathedral. The building received its current appearance around the 12th century, when it was rebuilt to house the relics of the christian martyrs Fosca and Maura, arrived from Sabratha, in Africa.   ARCHITECTURE The church, with a circular plan, is an example of the Venetian-Byzantine style. It stands outside the remains of the ancient city square, next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the remains of the ancient baptistery. The church is surrounded by a portico on five sides. The arches are supported by columns with Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria del Rosario

    The Church of Santa Maria del Rosario, commonly known as I Gesuati (the Jesuates), is a church located on the Fondamenta delle Zattere, in the sestiere of Dorsoduro, in Venice. The Gesuati name comes from the religious order of the Jesuates, suppressed in 1668, which possessed a large convent in the area, later bought by the Dominicans.   SHORT HISTORY The Compagnia dei Poveri Gesuati (Company of the Poor Jesuates) was formed at the end of the 14th century, and in 1432 began the construction of the nearby Church of Santa Maria della Visitazione and of the adjacent convent. With the dissolution of the order, the complex passed to the Dominicans, who shortly after began the construction of a new larger church further along the Zattere. The church was built between 1726 and 1735 by the architect Giorgio Massari, with the collaboration of Giambattista Tiepolo and Gian Maria Morlaiter, and was consecrated on September 29, 1743, by the Patriarch Alvise Foscari. With the suppression of the religious orders in 1810, the church became a parish church.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The classical facade is divided into three parts by semi-columns with composite capitals and completed on the sides by composite Read more [...]

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    Church of San Pietro di Castello

    The Church of San Pietro di Castello is an important church in Venice, which, until 1807, it was the city’s cathedral. The church is located on the northeastern area of Venice, in the Castello sestiere, not far from the Arsenale.   SHORT HISTORY As reported by the chronicler Giovanni Diacono, the building of the Church of San Pietro began around 822, and was completed nine years later, probably in 831. In 1120, a fire devastated the church, and a new larger structure was built, with a baptistery next to it dedicated to San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist), now lost. In 1451, with the suppression of the Patriarchate of Grado and the constitution of the Diocese of Castello of the Patriarchate of Venice, by the bull of Pope Nicholas V, the Basilica of Saint Peter became the new Cathedral of Venice. Between 1508 and 1524, the Patriarch Antonio Contarini decided to carry out restoration works on the ceiling, the vaults and the floor of the church. Between 1512 and 1526, the minor chapels were rebuilt and the decorations were redone. In 1558, the Patriarch Vienzo Diedo commissioned Andrea Palladio to rebuilt the facade and the interior of church. However, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giacomo di Rialto

    Only a few meters away from the Rialto Bridge and the Rialto Market, there is a church considered to be the oldest in Venice, the Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, or San Giacometto.   SHORT HISTORY It is believed that the church was consacrated on March 25, 421, but the studies have shown that it was built much later. In a document from 1097, the place is mentioned, but without the church, and the first certain information dates back to 1152. It seems that the church was consecrated in 1177 by the Doge Sebastiano Ziani. In 1513, the church escaped the serious fire that devastated the nearby 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.   ARCHITECTURE Interesting are the exterior with the bell tower, 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 Read more [...]

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    Church of San Barnaba

    The Church of San Barnaba is a beautiful church in Dorsoduro, in Venice, with a facade inspired by a Greek temple, known by many for being featured in a few scenes of the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.   SHORT HISTORY The church was founded in 936, on the place of a previous church, San Lorenzo, which would probably have been built at beginning of the 9th century. Because of the numerous fires, the Church of San Barnaba underwent several reconstructions, until it was consecrated on December 6, 1350. The current appearance dates back to 1779, when it was completed the renovation work begun in 1749, on a project by the architect Lorenzo Boschetti. In 1810, in full Napoleonic rule, the parish was suppressed and the church was deconsecrated.   ARCHITECTURE The façade of the church, designed by Lorenzo Boschetti, was built in 1749 in a classical style, with Corinthian style columns. The interior has a single-nave structure, with six side altars, three on the right and three on the left, all decorated with paintings, except one, and a presbytery with a square plan. The bell-tower, built in Romanesque style, stands detached from the church. The bell-tower, with Read more [...]

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    Church of San Rocco

    The Church of San Rocco is one of the four plague churches in Venice, along with San Giobbe, San Sebastiano and the Salute. The church was built for the Confraternity of San Rocco, founded in the plague year 1478, with the mission to help the poor and the sick, particularly the people suffering from the disease. San Rocco is the only Venetian church designed as a sacrarium for the remains of its titular saint, St. Roch, whose body is preserved within the high altar.   SHORT HISTORY A church was standing on this place before 1485. The new church was built after a design by the architect Pietro Bon, starting with 1489. In March, 1490, the left side-chapel of the presbytery was finished and ready to receive the remains of St. Roch, which were to be brought from San Silvestro. A competition for the construction of the high altar was won in 1517 by Venturino Fantoni, who designed a reliquary-altar, developed in Venice by the sculptor-architects Pietro and Tullio Lombardo. After 1680, the church was almost entirely demolished and rebuilt between 1726 and 1733 by the architect Giovanni Scalfarotto, who kept only the fifteenth century chancel and the ground-plan of Read more [...]

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    Church of San Stae

    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.   SHORT STORY 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. Read more [...]

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    Church of San Geremia e Santa Lucia

    The Church of San Geremia e Santa Lucia is a church in Venice, located on the left bank of the Grand Canal, as you are heading to Piazza San Marco, right before its confluence with Canale di Cannaregio.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Geremia was founded in the 11th century by Mauro Tosello, who used it to house the arm of St. Bartholomew brought from Apulia in 1043. The church was dedicated to the prophet Jeremiah, an old testament figure. The church was rebuilt in 1174 by the Doge Sebastiano Ziani and reconsecrated in 1292. Later, the church was demolished and rebuilt again in 1753, by Carlo Corbellini, a Brescian priest and architect. The first mass was celebrated on April 27th, 1760, during the final works of reconstruction. Following the damage made by the Austrian bombardment from 1849, two facades were built in the second half of the 18th century, one facing Campo San Geremia (St. Jeremiah Square), and the other one oriented towards Cannaregio Canal. A chapel built in 1863 contains the relics of the Sicilian Santa Lucia, stolen by Enrico Dandolo during the Sack of Constantinople, which, in 1204, marked the end of the Fourth Crusade. Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria e San Donato

    Also known as the Duomo di Murano, the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato is one of the oldest buildings in the Venetian lagoon. Of byzantine conception, the church preserves the relics of Saint Donatus of Arezzo, martyred in the 4th century after Christ, during the reign of Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Iulianus.   SHORT HISTORY A document from the year 999 shows that the church had been built in the 7th century, when many refugees from the continent arrived on the Murano Island. Initially, it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and later, in 1125, when the relics of St. Donatus were brought from Cephalonia, it received a second patronage. The church, apparently, has been rebuilt at that time, in a Byzantine style, in the form that resisted, to a large extent, until today. The mosaic inside is marked with the year 1141, when these reconstruction works were completed. In the 18th century, the church was redecorated in Baroque style and later, between 1858 and 1873, a return to its original style was attempted. This development of the building was condemned by several voices, because the result was a hybrid between the 12th century style and the later Read more [...]

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    Le Zitelle

    Most of the tourists who arrive on Giudecca Island are attracted by Il Redentore, the famous creation of Andrea Palladio, and only a few know that the island hosts another church attributed to the great architect, the Church of Santa Maria della Presentazione, also known as Chiesa delle Zitelle or, simply, Le Zitelle.   SHORT HISTORY Le Zitelle is part of an ecclesiastical complex set up by the Jesuit Benedetto Palmi, to provide shelter to beautiful young girls (zitelle) from poor families who otherwise would become prostitutes. Poor virgins were taken in and trained in lace and music making. They were protected until the age of 18, when they could choose between marriage or becoming nuns. If they chose the marriage, a husband will be found and a dowry will be provided. The church was built between 1581 and 1588 by the architect Jacopo Bozzetto, after a project belonging to Andrea Palladio, which was initially intended for another location. The assignment of the church to Andrea Palladio is somehow controversial. Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio argues that in the absence of the documents that would link Palladio to this creation and because Palladian style is not very Read more [...]