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The Veneto: Padua and Verona               NEW: Emilia-Romagna: Bologna





I created this site in 2007 because there wasn't a site like it, or indeed a comprehensive book devoted to Venice's churches available in English. The photos are all mine too, except where noted.

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 lagoon islands and to demolished churches, and to the churches of Padua, Verona and Bologna.

I suppose I should 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 unpious. I am respectful of others' beliefs, usually, and expect them to be respectful of my personal convictions too.

Each 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.

There's also an alphabetical list of all the churches and a page revealing my sources

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5th January 2020
Making plans for 2020. On this site Bologna and Venice have had a fair amount of attention of late, but Verona has fallen behind a bit, my last visit being in 2017. And I've yet to explore the churches there which had just been gathered touristically into a Chorus-type organisation called Verona Minor Hierusalem. Possible city additions in the Veneto are Modena and Vicenza, both of which I've never visited however. Over on The Churches of Florence and Siena the latter got a lot of work last year and Florence is getting visited this March. Possible new cities here include Pisa, Prato and Arezzo, the inclusion of which could prompt another name change to The Churches of Florence and Tuscany.
Also my new camera (a Fujifilm X-T30 mirrorless) helped my take some fine photos in Venice in November, and I now have a new very-wide-angle lens, which means that I’ve now got to revisit every church, especially the ones across narrow streets, to get even more of them in!
Even more prosaically all of my sites will be moving to new hosting next year, but I hope that this will go so smoothly you won’t even notice.

26th November 2019
 The updating mentioned below continue, and I'm having to refresh the info on the special Biennale-related exhibition openings as they finished on the 24th. Any news about if the churches are remaining open through some other agency would be appreciated.

11th November 2019
I'm just back from my first visit to Venice in almost two years and so I've been adding useful facts and fab photos like fury! Rare visits to San Vidal, San Giovanni di Malta and San Samuele have lead to major updates, and next I'll be feeding in some books and guides that I picked up.

3rd October 2019
I'm just back from a week in Ferrara and Bologna with plenty of photos and words to add to my Bologna pages in the coming weeks, before next month's trip to Venice.

August 2019
Preparing myself for a trip to Venice in November, making a list of possible odd church openings and passing a list of updates needing updating over to Terry H, who provided sterling help last July and is in Venice now, has provided much good news and up-to-date updates. Both San Samuele (Byzantine icon and revetment) and San Giovanni di Malta (Bellini altarpiece) have guaranteed opening times until the 24th of November, due to their hosting art exhibitions - Biennale-related but not official satellites, hence the news of them being slow to arrive. This is looking like becoming a fashionable way to staff the opening of some churches and follows the even bigger deal of the even bigger San Lorenzo opening in March 2019 as Ocean Space and currently housing an exhibition until September 29th 2019. Furthermore the building work at San Sebastiano, long a noisy building-site experience, seems to be coming to an end. A long-suffering attendant told a recent visitor that it was hoped that the work would finally finish in October. Currently only the right side of the nave is still blocked off.
Good news all around!

June 2019
The month of May saw updates adding news about the sudden opening of San Lorenzo 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 comes the scan below.

April 2019
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 2017.

March 2019
 Correspondent Harry C reports that 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.

ary/February 2019
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 San Giorgio!

December 2018
 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 San Beneto 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.

November 2018
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
Having 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 this week.

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 regular 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
I've 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' learning processes.

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 on 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.

January 2018
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.

October 2017

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.

Copyright © Jeff Cotton 2007-2020



Cannaregio :: Castello :: Dorsoduro :: Giudecca :: San Marco :: San Polo :: Santa Croce :: The Islands :: Demolished

Padua :: Verona:: Bologna