This site grew out of my frustration that there wasn't a site like
it, or indeed a comprehensive book devoted to Venice's churches available in English.
The churches are divided up by sestiere - the six 'boroughs'
of Venice established by Doge Vitale Michiel in 1171. I've added an extra page for Giudecca, which is not a sestiere -
it's actually part of Dorsoduro - but is a separate enough entity to
deserve its own page, I think. There are also pages devoted to the
islands and to demolished churches. I suppose I must
point out that, contradictory (and maybe even contrary) as it may seem to some, this is a
religion-free site. My interest is artistic, historical, and also
impious. I am respectful of others' beliefs, usually, and expect them
to be respectful of my personal convictions too.
church's history is told, followed by a description of its
architecture, artistic highlights, unique features, the art it has lost
and any interesting stories. The degree to which each topic is
covered will vary, depending on the information available and what
makes each church interesting and worth visiting, as will the amount of
personal observation and opinion in each piece. The latter depends on
my having visited the church, and how recently, and it's this
aspect that will keep the site improving for a good long while, I
think. My intention is to tell you what makes each church special,
rather than to list all of its features and contents. As I
progress I'm finding that I'm becoming more interested in digging out
the sparse facts about forgotten churches rather than writing about the
churches that are well-enough covered elsewhere. Also I'm
finding that on later visits experience and education is making me
notice different things. Each entry also tells you the nearest
vaporetto stop and a link to it's position on a special
Google map. And then there's the opening times - I'll endeavour to keep these times as accurate as
possible, but it's always a good idea to check before travelling, and to
be prepared for disappointment.
The photos are mostly mine, except where noted.
There's also an alphabetical list of all the churches
and a page revealing my
The month of May saw
updates adding news about the sudden opening of
for an art installation and I've been swapping some photos with
nicer spruced-up versions, replacing some of the small ones I'd made to
lower my bandwidth, which has stopped being a problem.
It seems that guidebooks are waning in popularity, what with the
internet and all. It's still gratifying to get good plugs in them,
like the new edition of the Rough Guide to Venice and the Veneto,
from which the image below was snatched.
Recent reading about
Palladio has added some fascinating bits of content. For example
I've been able to add to the fact that in 1204 the body of Saint
Lucy was brought to
San Giorgio Maggiore, but that her
feast day celebrations on the December 13th became so popular that
after a storm resulted in the deaths of many people in 1280 her body
was moved to the church of
Santa Lucia in Cannaregio, the fact
that the disgruntled monks here held onto an arm relic. I've also
added a photo of the
Redentore interior that shows that
until 1950 there were monochrome grisaille figures, like cardboard
cut-outs, in imitation of sculpture, in niches in the nave.
Improvement rather than expansion is my goal this year. A trip to
Venice in September has been booked too, my last visit being January
Correspondent Harry C
San Giobbe has reopened, but that the apse is still
closed off. He also oddly found
San Samuele open. There was no
information about times that he could see but 'there was a notice
saying a guidebook was available from the Sacristan (if you knew
where to find him!)' He also found
San Beneto closed, like everyone
else, despite promises that it is now to be open. I've written to
Chorus for clarification re. San Giobbe, but I've had no reply, and
don't really expect one.
I may have missed the recent Tintoretto
exhibitions but I have the catalogue of the big Palazzo Ducale/Washington
one and I'm working through the index's references to churches and adding
much to the Tintoretto-related content here, and I've only got to
Season's Greetings! No new pages
were begun in 2018 but Bologna, the newest page here, got solidly
improved after a visit.
There was no visit to Venice for me this year, despite the lure of the
Tintoretto exhibitions, but a trip is planned for 2019, to
take in the Biennale and a tie-in exhibition devoted to the
demolished church of
San Geminiano, involving its links with
Dutch painters, and a Tintoretto once owned by David Bowie.
In other (hopeful) news recent press reports talk of a gathering of
worthies to celebrate
reopening after 40 years closed. Correspondents on the spot have yet
to find it open. Watch this space for further updates. Much useful
Venetian information and updates (and photos) came from a fair few
of you this year. (You know who you are!) Which was all good.
The current Mantegna and Bellini exhibition in
London and a recent
trip to Milan
have resulted in some intensive appreciation and reading-up-on with
regard to Mantegna. The fruits of this are some on-going big
improvements to my entry for the
Eremitani church in Padua. His frescoes there have been argued
to be as important as those of Masaccio in Florence and Piero in
Arezzo, but they where largely destroyed by American bombs in 1944.
I'm also wondering about giving the best churches in Padua and
Verona pages to themselves, as I have done for Venice and Florence.
I can then go to town a bit more on their art.
23rd July 2018
not been in Venice since January 2017 I was happy to take up recent
correspondent Terry Hunefeld's offer of help, and asked him to check
out the accuracy of old scaffolding updates and whether opening times still
applied. And he's done me proud! Checking old facts and adding much
that's new - all of which info I'm going to be adding to these pages
Depressing developments include more scaffolding screens to stop
stones falling on tourists' heads (a thing in Florence too) as the
façades of San Salvatore, the Gesuati and Sant’Aponal are now blighted by such
stretches. The fact that it's just defensive and doesn't mean any
actual work is happening means that it'll remain up for an even more
indefinite time than usual, I suspect. And will the work in San Sebastiano never end? I thought
that it was finishing, but it looks
like the interior has filled up with scaffolding again. Paying
visits to a building site is wearing a bit thin.
Also almost all of the Chorus-run churches now open a half-hour
later and close a half-hour earlier, with San Stae now only open in
the afternoons and San Giovanni Elemosinario only in the morning.
Sant'Isepo and San Giobbe remain closed.
14th July 2018
just started a complete revision and correction run through all
the Venice pages. No major changes so far, but typing errors are
being corrected, links between churches inserted
and there's often the need for rewriting in the light of the past few years'
1st July 2018
On a quiet Sunday afternoon, with the
temperature nudging 30 in London, nothing warms the cockles of a
webmaster like the discovery that he's been cited and linked to
on the Tate Gallery's website. And
another page on the site The
Churches of Venice is cited to contradict the previous misidentification of a doorway! Also worth celebrating -
my Bologna page
is now live. Additionally a 2013 exhibition catalogue called
Venise au XIX siècle, picked up cheap in the Nancy Musée de
Beaux Arts, has provided references and scans for a few churches'
The church in art entries, adding some French 19th century works.
In prospect this year is a trip to Bologna
in May, to get that city's page presentable. A visit
to Venice is also a possibility as there are some tempting
exhibitions to celebrate Tintoretto's 500th birthday.
The Padua and the Verona pages had
gathered some dust in the past year, but after a trip in
September improvements (and additions) due to research and visits
are in progress.
I'm also experimenting with giving every
other paragraph grey text, to differentiate between them
without using up space with blank lines. I tried red text at first,
being inspired in the whole thing by illuminated manuscripts, but
changed it to grey because I thought that using red looked too much like I
was highlighting that text as more important - which I'm not.
Following March’s visit I
have made a start on a page on Bologna’s churches, but planning a
trip to Siena in October I realised that beginning Bologna should
best wait until after necessary work on the still-incomplete pages
devoted to Verona and Padua, as well as Siena. So I’m now planning a
trip to Padua and Verona in (the otherwise somewhat empty of
commitments month of) September.
Seasoned aficionados of
this site will know that I have long left the exploration of the
Basilica San Marco to others, due to my not being at all fond of
queues, crowds and mosaics. But this situation changed recently, with my
taking various courses devoted to the early medieval period and
Byzantium, and my
visit to Venice in January 2017. So to celebrate the 10th
birthday of The Churches of Venice I'm
making a start!
Basilica San Marco
On a trip to Milan this
month I spent
an afternoon in the Brera Gallery, finding the paintings there that
were once in churches in Venice (and Padua and Verona). So I have now been
able to add some juicy details and dubious opinions to their mentions
on this site.
January 2017, Part 2
The trip to Venice this month has
indeed resulted in additions major and minor, fresh photos and
factual updates, as well as updated entries on art from some closed
churches found in the Sant’Apollonia Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art.
Most exciting of all was finding the macabre painted crypt of
San Simeon Piccolo suddenly shockingly surprisingly open. I went into the Basilica for the first time in
This year marks this site's 10th
birthday. And still improving! Last year saw the addition of the
Scuole page and I've even begun a Basilica San Marco page, as
mentioned below, but am loath to upload it until I have freshly
visited the place (I've not been inside since the early 1990s)
which I'm hoping to do on a suddenly-arranged trip to Venice later
(click here to send me an encouraging e-mail)
and my other sites are...
These sites also have their own Facebook page...
The Friends of Fictional Cities and the Churches of Venice
Click on the link and Like the page for
regular news updates.
You can post (positive) comments too.
Copyright © Jeff Cotton 2007-2019
More than a decade of steady improvement!