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The Veneto: Padua and Verona







A detail from the Merian map of 1635  showing Corpus Domini and Santa Lucia on the north bank of the
Grand Canal and Santa Croce and the old church of San Simeon on the south bank.

Corpus Domini


Established by the abbess Lucia Tiepolo who had grown up in the Benedictine convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli on Murano from the age of 11. After thirty-four years she was made abbess of the unattractive and declining convent of Sant'Apostoli on the lagoon island of Ammiano. After three grim years there she unsurprisingly had a vision of Christ, bound to a column and bloody, telling her to go to Venice and found a convent in his name. 
Within six years she had found some land on the northwest tip of the city and built a wooden church. At first she'd been hindered in her intentions by four women promising to help and then pulling out, but money she'd earned healing the sick was used instead. Of the four women who got cold feet one developed a tumour on her face and died, one married and was murdered by her husband, one 'burned herself up' and the fourth 'fell into great poverty' and also died miserably. A little later she obtained funds from the young patrician Francesco Rabia, and built a small stone church to replace the wooden one. He also helped her to build a seven-cell wooden dormitory. The building of the stone church was preceded by a vision in which the Virgin came to Sister Lucia and caused snow to fall in the church 'enough to cover an altar' which then froze solid. It remained so for seven days and so this was where the altar was placed in the new stone church.

Soon afterwards two devout young orphan girls, aged 15 and 11, Isabetta and Andreola Tommasini, 'had some beautiful visions' . Their confessor, Giovanni Dominici from San Zanipolo, had had similar visions and, after initially suggesting that they merely become nuns at Sant'Andrea della Zirada, encouraged them to help establish a convent at Corpus Domini. He also helped to obtain papal permission for this. Dominici had been appointed by Raymond of Capua, who had been Catherine of Siena's confessor and had become the Dominican master general, to oversee the building of Dominican friaries which adhered to a more faithful, called Observant, version of the Dominican order. The Sienese reforming friar Tommaso Cafferini was charged with their spiritual direction, and he it was who commissioned the works from the also Sienese Andrea di Bartolo mentioned below. Lucia Tiepolo agreed to become the first priora of the convent they now built, and to change the order from Benedictine to Observant mantellate Dominican. The girls' dowries were used for the construction of a new church and a substantial convent that was consecrated on June 29th 1394. It took just a year to build and during that whole time it never rained on a workday, we are told, only at night and on holidays.
The complex was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1440, with reconsecration in 1444, with the financial help of Fantin Dandolo (a Venetian who became Bishop of Padua in 1448) and Tommaso Tommasini, the brother of Isabetta and Andreola, who was bishop of Feltre.
The body of Saint Lucy was put in Corpus Domini during the late 1400s, while the Augustinians were carrying out building work at Santa Lucia nearby. But it was is Corpus Domini for so long that the nuns began to consider it their own and were very unhappy about letting it go. So much so that in 1476 a little commando unit of nuns stole the body from the convent of Santa Lucia and brought it back, hiding it under some stairs. Even a delegation from the Council of Ten did not succeed in getting the nuns to reveal where the body was. So they ordered the doors and windows of Corpus Domini to be walled up until they let their hostage out. When the builders arrived, the nuns gave up the body.
The Convent of the Penitential Sisters of Saint Dominic in Venice, as it was then called, the church and the kitchen gardens were demolished, after suppression  in 1810 to make way for railway offices.
A façade model and the print (above right) are in the Correr museum. The Canaletto (right) has the wall of the Corpus Domini complex on the left with the also-demolished church of Santa Croce over the canal just beyond.

Sister Bartolomea Riccoboni - Life and Death in a Venetian Convent: The Chronicle and Necrology of Corpus Domini  Edited and translated by Daniel Bornstein
Contains biographies of around fifty women who died in the convent between 1395 and 1436. Historical events are covered, but also the stories of lives lived behind a triple-locked door, characterised by fasting, hair shirts, chains, whips and miraculous visions. Much of the detail in the history above, and the quotes, come from this book.







Lost art
The Sienese artist Andrea di Bartolo painted a panel for the church here, Saint Catherine of Siena and Four Mantellate (see right) now in the Museo Vetrario on Murano, and devotional panels for the dormitory, a Madonna and Child and a Crucifixion, now in the National Gallery in Washington.

There is documentary evidence that Jacobello del Fiore painted an altarpiece for this church around 1428.

Cima da Conegliano's St Peter Martyr altarpiece of 1505-06, taken by Napoleon and now in the Brera in Milan, was painted for the altar in the chapel of San Pietro Martire here for a spice merchant called Benedetto Carlone. The saint looks thoughtful with the chopper in his head, and is flanked by Saints Nicholas (holding two balls) and Benedict. The Lamentation by the Florentine Mannerist Francesco Salviati, painted for patrician Bernardo Moro c.1539-41, is also now in the Brera.

A well-preserved carved and gilded wooden altar frontal showing scenes from the old and new testaments, now in the Correr Museum.

An Antiphonal (music manuscript) of c.1401, an early work by the illuminator Cristoforo Cortese, is now lost and dismembered, with possible fragments in various American institutions.


 Santa Lucia


There had been a church on this site since 1192, probably. The church and attached Augustinian convent had originally been dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In 1280 the remains of St Lucy were brought here from San Giorgio Maggiore to which they had been brought in 1204, looted from Constantinople. The church at the time had been called La Nuntiata, after the Annunciation, and its dedication would only be changed to Santa Lucia in 1343, when restoration work was carried out. The church passed from the Dominicans to Augustinian nuns in 1467.
Disputes between the nuns here and at Corpus Domini over Saint Lucy's remains (see above) were finally resolved with Santa Lucia's Augustinians getting the remains and the Corpus Domini Dominicans getting 40 gold ducats. In 1579, after paying her homage to the saint, empress Maria of Austria was given a small piece of Lucy's flesh, which is now kept in Vienna.
The original gothic church (visible on the De' Barbari map) was rebuilt in 1580-90 following Leonardo Mocinego's 1565 commissioning of Palladio to design a chapel for his family and high altar. This church had a classical façade (see right).  In 1592 the choir and the capella maggiore were completed, and Saint Lucy’s relics were then transferred from the convent to the chapel.
The nuns were removed in 1806 and St Lucy's remains were transferred to the church of San Geremia. The complex was demolished during the 1840s by the Austrians to make way for the railway station of the same name, which was itself replaced by the current station in 1954.

The tower on the De Barbari map was replaced by two small towers during the 1580s rebuilding.

The church in art
The façade is visible to right of centre in Marieschi's The Grand Canal with San Simeone Piccolo and the Scalzi, of around 1742. Also The Grand Canal with San Simeone Piccolo and Santa Lucia and The Grand Canal with Santa Lucia and the Scalzi (detail right) both from 1780, by Guardi. The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool has a View on the Grand Canal by an unknown Venetian artist. It shows the Scalzi to the right, Santa Lucia in the middle and Corpus Domini in the distance to the left.

Lost art
Four panels from a late 15th century polyptych attributed to a Tyrolean painter, now in the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona. The depict, full length, Saints Jude (see right), Augustine, Stephen and Bartholomew which points to their having been from here.



Santa Maria Nuova

Built around 971, by the Borselli familly, with the first documented mention in 1110. Originally dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, it became known as Santa Maria Nova in the 13th century. The church fell down in 1535, was swiftly rebuilt, and then restored in the 18th century, with the façade finished by Giovanni Vettori in 1760. Doge Niccolò Contarini was buried here in 1631. Closed in 1808 and then used as a warehouse, its art and ornaments were dispersed and the remains of those buried here taken to the ossuary island of Sant'Ariano. These remains included those of the philosopher Fortunio Spira, the Wocowich-Lazzari family and Doge Niccolò Contarini. Conte Widman bought some bits of the campanile, which had been rebuilt after collapsing in 1488 and was demolished in 1839, for use in some houses he was building in Casselleria. The church itself was demolished in 1852. Although I have a guidebook of 1904 which says it was then being used as a magazine.

Lost art
Titian's large late and smoky Saint Jerome in Penitence of 1556 (see right) now in the Brera. It was commissioned by a merchant from Cologne called Enrico, more commonly known as Rigo Helman, his name appears as Elman R in an inscription on a book propped up in the painting on a rock below a skull. His marriage to Chiara d'Anna produced eight children, she being the sister of Titian's friend and wealthy patron Giovanni d'Anna, which may explain how such a modestly wealthy and minorly important merchant came by a Titian of such quality. It sat on his family altar, the first on the right, which after one of his sons, called Jerome, died prematurely was dedicated to his name saint. Helman was accused of fraud in 1561, probably unjustly, and fled Venice, never to return.

Local lad
In the nearby Campo di Tiziano is the House of Titian, where he lived from 1531-1576.

The church in art
The Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and the apse of Santa Maria Nuova
by Bernardo Bellotto (see above right). Also a similar small portrait-aspect view of the back of the Miracoli church, with the circular apse of Santa Maria Nova to the right, is in the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight.
Santa Maria dei Miracole e Santa Maria Nova by Ippolito Caffi takes a similar viewpoint too.















detail from the the Ughi map of 1729.


This detail from the map of 1635 shows the three churches demolished to make way for the
Giardini Pubblici. In the foreground Sant'Antonio, above it to the left is the domed San Nicolò.
Then in front of the walls of the Arsenale (top left) is San
Domenico on this side of the now- filled-in canal.

The three churches demolished in 1808 to make way for the public gardens

1. Sant'Antonio di Castello


Built from 1346, the first stone was laid by the founder, Fra Giotto degli Abbati, a Florentine nobleman and prior of the Canons of St Anthony. Vincenzo and Girolamo Grimani commissioned a new façade in 1518 from Tullio Lombardo, shown in the Luca Carlevarijs print (see right). The tombs of  two doges were to be found here - Antonio Grimani, who died in 1523 and Pietro Lando who died in 1545.The monastery and church passed to the Laterans until they were suppressed in 1768.
One of the three churches demolished in 1808 by Napoleon to make way for the public gardens, this one seems to have been the greatest loss. Two of the church's bells were sold to help pay for the under funded project and materials from the church were used towards another building, which was demolished to make way for the Biennale buildings later in the 19th century. The Doric arch of the Lando chapel of the church (designed by Michele  Sanmicheli) still stands forlornly in the Giardini Pubblici (see left) and is all that's left of the fabric of the three demolished churches.
In Sir Francis Palgrave's Hand-book for Travellers in Northern Italy of 1842, the author wrote that the creation of the Giardini Pubblici  'afforded an excuse for pulling down a few churches which in itself was a recommendation for the French.'

Lost art/The church in art
The Accademia now has the large and impressive Polyptych with the Annunciation (The Lion Polyptych, named after the donor) by Lorenzo Veneziano at the end of room 1.

Also The Vision of Prior Ottoboni (see right) by Carpaccio, which depicts the interior of the church with his own painting of The Apparition of the Martyrs of Mount Ararat (also now in the Accademia) installed over the Ottoboni altar. The Vision... depicts the miraculous appearance of the 10,000 martyrs to Prior Francesco Ottobon in the nave of the church. The screen to the left is an example of a once-common feature in Italian churches, which now remain very rarely. This painting is currently (September 2015) to be found in the corridor/room as you approach the room of the St Ursula cycle.
Some very expressive heads from a terracotta sculpture group by Guido Mazzoni (see left) once part of a figure group to be found in this church are now in the City Museum in Padua.


2. San Domenico


The monastery and church was founded in 1312. The church was restored in 1506 and 1536. Following the Arsenale fire of 1569 the complex was rebuilt in 1586 and the church reconsecrated in 1609. The court of the Inquisition was held here until 1560 when it moved to the Frari. Prohibited books that had accumulated were burnt on the 29th April and the ashes tipped into the canal that is now the Via Garibaldi. Given to the Austrian navy in 1807 and soon after demolished, it being one of the three churches demolished to make way for the Giardini Pubblici, San Domenico faced the (still standing) church of San Francesco di Paula across a canal that was filled in to make the Via Garibaldi. A bridge named after San Domenico was lost too. The bridge and San Bartolomeo (the previous church on the site of San Franceso di Paola) are also visible in the de' Barbari map of 1500 (see left) beyond San Domenico in the top left-hand corner.
The former (early 15th century, Gothic) entrance to the monastery is to be found on the south side of the Via Garibaldi at no. 1310 (see right).

Lost art
Savoldo's Annunciation, painted for this church, is now in the Museo Civico, Pordenone.

A detail from the the Ughi map of 1729

3. San Nicolò

One of the three churches demolished by Napoleon to make way for the Giardini Pubblici, but it is said to have fallen into disuse as a church long before.

The church in art
View of San Nicolò di Castello, Venice by William Marlow (see left) is to be found in Basildon Park, Berkshire. And
San Nicolò is the church in the foreground of the Canaletto (see right) with the undemolished Sant’Isepo in the background.



San Daniele Profeta


San Provolo
San Procolo

A church founded on the island of San Daniele (see top left in detail from Ughi map of 1729 right) in 820 by the Bragadin family. First certainly documented in 1046, the church was given in 1138 to Manfredo, a Cistercian, and he built a monastery, consecrated in 1219. In 1437 the Augustinian nuns from Sant'Andrea de Zirada moved here. The church had a nave and two aisles with rectangular apses. Their were twelve columns of red Verona marble and nine alters. The complex became a French barracks in 1806 and an Austrian one in 1815. When the church was demolished in 1839 the remaining buildings became the college of the Royal Imperial Navy. What's left is still in use as a barracks.

Lost art
Bas relief of Daniel in the Lions' Den and a 1469 carving of the saint now at the Ca'Bragadin (Bigaglia) in Barbaria de le Tole. Two female saints by Alvise Vivarini and Daniel in the Lions' Den by Pietro da Cortona in the Accademia.

A detail from the the Ughi map of 1729.


Probably founded by the Partecipazio family in 814, with priests nominated by the abbess from the nearby convent of San Zaccaria. Documented from around 1077. Rebuilt in 1384 and again between 1477 and 1504. Restored in 1642. Suppressed in 1808, today there's a house and bar on the site.
It is said that a Signor Procolo died when the bell from this church's campanile fell on him. Whether the coincidence of his name makes this story more or less believable I leave up to you to decide.

Lost art
Sante Peranda painted a Descent from the Cross for here.





A detail from the Clarke map of 1838.

San Sepolcro


San Severo


A convent founded in 1409 as a hostel for pilgrims. Modernised in 1570 when the portal, maybe by Sansovino or Vittoria, was added. This doorway (see right) is now the entrance to the Presidio Militare (no. 4142, on the Riva degli Schiavone) and is all that remains after suppression in 1808 and the demolition of most of the buildings. See the map in the entry for San Provolo just above - San Sepulcro is in the bottom right hand corner.
This is another of the church buildings where the tirelessly immortality-obsessed physician Tommaso Rangone attempted to get himself portrayed in stone on the façade. (See San Geminiano and San Zulian) Here he succeeded, stipulating in his agreement that his statue be visible from the Canal Grande. It is now in the Seminario Patriarcale.

Lost art

An altar table with legs in the form of angels by Tullio Lombardo is now in San Martino.

Well photo by


Originally built  between 811 and 827 and then rebuilt 1053 and after the fire of 1105. It kept this form until it was suppressed on 12th April 1813 and demolished in 1829. The Austrians built a prison on the site, which itself closed in 1929. See the map in the entry for San Provolo above - San Severo is at the top in the middle.

Lost art
A typical Tintoretto Crucifixion, now in the Accademia.


San Severo, in a detail from the map of 1635,
with the dome of San Zaccaria in the foreground.

Santa Maria de la Celestia


Built 1119-1239 by the Celsi family, with a Cistercian convent dedicated to St Mary of Heaven. Carlo Zeno, the hero of Chioggia, was buried here in 1418 by the sailors of Venice. The convent lost part of its orchard when the Arsenale was expanded in 1564 and then was rebuilt following destruction during the Arsenale fire of 1569, by Andrea Palladio. The map (see right) shows how unsurprising it was that a fire in the Arsenale would damage this convent. The church rebuilding fell to Vincenzo Scamozzi in 1591, who planned a domed structure (inspired by Palladio's rejected original design for the Redentore) but the nuns rejected his plans just as the dome was being installed. In 1611, having demolished this building in 1606, they erected a Latin-cross shaped church. This church was demolished in 1810. The convent was used as Austrian garrison barracks from 1858-76, and as a school for naval mechanics from the Arsenale from 1873-1943. In 1930 part of it was converted into public housing, with the rest used for housing the city archives. Restoration recently begun on the cloister.


La Celestia is number 83 in the Braun and Hogenberg (1572)
map above, the entrance to the Arsenale is number 133.


Lost art
A small altarpiece depicting The Madonna and Child with Saints (see left), a late work by Lorenzo Veneziano, probably came from la Celestia and  is now in the Brera in Milan, where it has been on loan from the Ca' d'Oro since 1958. It has its original frame and remains Byzantine-looking for the late 14th century. Its size suggests it was for a nun's private devotion.
A small darkly-framed altarpiece depicting The Madonna and Child with Saints (see left), a late work by Lorenzo Veneziano, probably came from la Celestia and is now in the Brera in Milan.  It is small so was probably for private devotion.

The convent in fiction
The 1569 Arsenale fire, and the destruction of the Celestia, is the impressive opening event of the novel Altai by Wu Ming.

Santa Maria delle Vergini
Le Virgini


Built by Doge Pietro Ziani at the suggestion of Ugolino Bishop of Ostia, who later became Pope Gregory IX, on a visit as apostolic legate in 1224. The Augustinian convent and church were named Santa Maria Nova, to commemorate the church in Palestine destroyed by the Saracens.
In 1519 the nuns protested at plans to bring the observant nuns from Santa Giustina here. A wall was built to separate the observant nuns from their unwilling convent-mates, which the militant resident nuns duly knocked down. They got a stern telling off from the Doge and Patriarch, and the wall was rebuilt.
After some fires and reconstructions Guglielmo dei Grigi was commissioned to undertake rebuilding between 1547 and 1549.
Church and monastery were suppressed and given to the Navy in 1806, becoming a prison in 1809. The choir was demolished in 1822, the remaining parts in 1844.  All that's left is a relief (see right), God the Father with the Virgin and Saints Mark and Augustine, from over the church entrance, which is now embedded in the wall of the Arsenale. The plaque underneath the arch, dated 2nd May 1557,  reads...


'Hope and love keep us in this pleasant prison'.

Lost art
Eight small 15th-century tempera panels, showing scenes from the Old Testament, by the studio of Lazzaro Bastiani, now in the church of Sant'Alvise, were taken from the organ case of the church here.

The church in art
The View of the Lagoon and the Church of Santa Maria delle Vergini from Campo San Pietro di Castello by Canaletto (see above), is in the Pushkin Museum.

A chunky one, as seen in the map of 1635 (see right), demolished between 1844 and 1869 to make way for a dry dock. It looks more graceful in the Canaletto painting, though.

A detail from the map of 1635 showing Santa Maria delle Vergini
with (
left foreground) San Daniel. Campo San Pietro is to the right.

Santa Marina

A church here was founded in 1130 by the Balbi family and originally dedicated to San Liberale and Sant'Alassio. The right hand (used for blessing and the vanquishing of a dragon) of St Margaret of Antioch (known as Santa Marina in the East) was brought here from Constantinople in its reliquary (see left) in 1213 by one Joannes de Borea and placed on the high altar, resulting in the church switching dedication to her. Santa Marina was a 5th century saint from the Lebanon who spent her life as a monk, only being found out as female upon her death, despite her having been accused of fathering a child, which she then raised. One report says that her remains were transferred to Santa Maria Formosa. The (empty) silver-gilt hand reliquary mentioned above and pictured left is now in the Museo Correr.
The church had two fine monuments, one to Doge Michele Steno, the other to Doge Nicolò Marcello and the work of Pietro Lombardo. Both are now in San Zanipolo. The church was restored a few times, and rebuilt in 1705, before suppression in 1810. In 1818 it became a tavern, but was demolished in 1820 to make way for housing. The church is commemorated by a small altar with an image of Santa Marina on the wall of a house in Campo Santa Marina. Giovanni Bellini lived in the parish nearby in his later life, probably in Campo Santa Marina itself.

Santa Ternità

There's still a campo named after this church, which was at what is now number 3026. The church was founded during the reign of Doge Pietro Centranico  (1026-1032) by the Celsi and Sagredo families. The remains of San Gherardo Sagredo, martyred in Hungary in 1046, were preserved as a relic in the family chapel to the left of the high altar. He is now commemorated by the Sagredo chapel in nearby San Francesco della Vigna. The church of Santa Ternità was restored in the 13th century, when the body of St Athanasius was brought here. It was rebuilt in 1569 after a fire at the Arsenale, in 1607, and in 1721. Suppressed in 1810, it was used as a timber store until it was demolished in 1832.

Lost art
The St Francis Receiving the Stigmata by Giambattista Tiepolo painted for this church is now lost.

12th century and detached, it was truncated when the church was demolished and was lived in until it collapsed on 13th December 1880, burying Giovanni Baratelli, a ship's engineer, who was dug out unharmed.

A detail from the map of 1635 showing Santa Ternità in the
left foreground, with Santa Maria de la Celestia to the right and
San Francesco della Vigna, top left.

A view by Pivador from around 1847
made during demolition.



And a detail from the the Ughi map of 1729 covering the same ground
as the detail from the 1635 map above it. Santa Ternità is middle bottom.


Chiesa degli Incurabili


Part of the Ospedale degli Incurabili (Hospital for Incurables) complex founded in 1522 by San Gaetano of Thiene, with the help of noblewomen Maria Malpiera Malpiero and Marina Grimani. The hospital was initially set up to care for three female sufferers from syphilis found near the Scuola di San Rocco.  The disease was unknown in Europe before the Renaissance, and was at this time thought to be transmitted through the sufferers breath as well as through sexual, and other, contact. By 1524 there were 80 patients, and by April of the following year 150. Amongst them were 'sinful women converted to God' according to the Patriarch.
The church (San Salvatore?) was oval-shaped and was built to designs by an elderly Sansovino in the mid-1560s. The choice of shape was for reasons of acoustics (as was the flat wooden roof) as the church, like the Pieta, Derelitti, and Mendicanti, was famous for the quality of its choirs of orphan girls. It also had to fit into the hospital's courtyard (see plan below). New hospital buildings, which survive on the Zattere, were built by Antonio da Ponte in 1572, replacing earlier structures and enclosing the church.
Since 1807, following closure by Napoleon, the complex has been used as a barracks, an orphanage, for storage, as a juvenile prison, and, since 2004, as part of the Accademia. The church was pulled down in 1831, with two of its nave altars going to San Giovanni di Malta. Also the room pictured, part of the Accademia complex, may well be embellished with bits of the church.

Lost art
Tintoretto's Voyage of St Ursula with the eleven thousand virgins (see left), an Annunciation by Salviati and a Crucifixion by Veronese were all taken from this church to San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti.

A damaged Holy Family and a Saint (probably Mary Magdalene) by Andrea Mantegna, once in the sacristy here,  is now in the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona. It was one of 17 paintings stolen from the museum in November 2015 and later recovered.






A plan of the Ospedale, by Cesare Fustinelli, with the church
in the courtyard and the Zattere along the bottom.

San Basegio
San Basilio


Built in the late 9th or early 10th century. Renovated after fire of 1105, but collapsed during the 1348 earthquake. Rebuilt 1476 to 1514. Had a nave and two aisles separated by columns, with ship's-keel ceiling and an image of St Basil over the altar. The interior was restored by Andrea Tirali in 1730. Closed in 1810, the church became a timber warehouse before being demolished in 1824.
When demolished the church retained its façade of the 14th century, but the interior was more lavish and baroque. An altar housed the remains of the blessed Peter Acotanto which are now in San Trovaso. He was a 12th century Benedictine recluse and sometime resident of San Giorgio, beatified for his work for the poor 1759/60 (he gave them all of his inheritance) his statue can be found on the façade of the church of San Rocco.

Lost art
Paintings by Palma il Giovane, Jerome Gambarato, Marco Vecellio, Leonardo Corona, and Alvise Vivarini.

Antonio Visentini 1771

A detail from the Clarke map  1838,
San Basegio is bottom left.

Santa Maria dell'Umiltà  

The original church of the Umiltà was a small oratory about which we know very little, except that it belonged to the Teutonic Knights. In 1525 when the order of Teutonic Knights was suppressed their land passed to Andrea Lippomano, who was a friend of Ignatius of Loyola. Work on the new church for the the Jesuits began in 1560.  In August of 1563 work on the interior of the church began, including the ceiling by Veronese. Swift enlargement was undertaken from 1578, involving a new choir, extending the apse and interior woodwork. The church was finished in the late 1580s. Following the Jesuits' expulsion from Venice in 1606 the complex was occupied by the Benedictine nuns from San Servolo on 26th June 1615 - they had asked to be moved due to the dangerous condition of their convent. In 1806 the church and monastery were suppressed and both were demolished in 1824, making way for the gardens for the patriarchal seminary.

Built 1564.

Lost art
The church had the mighty fine Tintoretto Deposition of c.1560 (see right) (recently restored) which is now in the Accademia. Also three oval ceiling paintings by Veronese, which were moved to the Capella dell Rosario in San Zanipolo in 1919, having been in Vienna from the time of the church's suppression. These depict The Annunciation, The Adoration of the Shepherds and The Assumption. (The first two were cut down in size, probably sometime during the 18th century). A Life of the Virgin cycle by Palma Giovane in the apse.

The four altarpieces in the nave chapels were Saints Peter and Paul by Jacopo Bassano, Palma il Giovane’s Passion of Christ, The Circumcision by Marco dal Moro and Simonetto da Canciano’s Saint Francis. The Bassano is in the Galleria Estense of Modena, the Moro in the Accademia, the others are lost.

The church in art
Depicted on Odoardo Fialetti’s view of Venice which is at Eton College (see above). And in Canaletto's La Dogana e la riva delle Zattere (detail left) the church flank is visible just beyond the sandy coloured building. The painting is in the  Crespi Collection in Milan.

A detail from the Clarke map  1838


San Geminiano
Cristoforo da Legname & Jacopo Sansovino 1505-1557

The original church of San Geminiano is traditionally said to have been built on the west side of a smaller Piazza in 554, next to an orchard belong to San Zaccaria.  The first certain documentation dates to 1023. This church was demolished in the early 13th century to extend the Piazza - part of major work on the Piazza and the Palazzo Ducale instigated by Doge Sebastiano Ziani. A new church was built further to the West and the Rio di Batario, on which the old church stood, was buried beneath paving. Begun by Venetian architect Cristoforo da Legname in 1505, the church was dedicated to Saints Germinianus and Menna. Work was completed by Jacopo Sansovino in 1557, who contributed a dome and a new façade, as part of his major improvements to the whole piazza. The work was driven by the parish priest Benedetto Manzini and latterly was offered finance by Tommaso Rangone (who became procurator here in 1554) with the condition that his bust was displayed on the façade. This demand was refused by the Senate. (Rangone got his way later with the less-prominent church of San Zulian.) A bronze bust of Rangone by Vittoria was placed over the entrance to the sacristy here, in fact, but it shared it's pride of place with the busts of two pievani (parish priests), including that of Benedetto Manzini, also by Vittoria.
The church was demolished, to no small outcry, to make way for the staircase of Napoleon's Palazzo Reale in May 1807. Since 1797 it had served as a military barracks due to its strategic position. It was originally to be replaced by a triumphal arch. Sansovino was buried in the church but his remains were moved upon demolition to the Seminario della Salute. His children, Fiorenza and Francesco (the latter the author of Venetia, citta nobilissima et singolare) had also been buried in the church. The remains of Saint Geminianus himself were transferred to the church of Santissimo Nome di Gesu.
Francesco Sansovino described the church as 'being lavishly decorated within and encrusted with marble and Istrian stone on the outside. It is extremely rich and well-conceived in
design' and 'judged by everyone to be almost like a ruby among pearls'.
In the Hand-book for Travellers in Northern Italy, a guidebook of 1842, the author, Sir Francis Palgrave wrote that the destruction of San Geminiano was an example of 'Gallic vandalism ... which has inflicted such irreparable injury upon the fine arts'.
The nearby church of San Maurizio was designed by patrician Pietro Zaguri who drew inspiration from Codussi and from Sansovino’s San Geminiano.

Lost art
Two panels from an altarpiece by Bartolomeo Vivarini once here (Saints Mary Magdalene and Barbara) are now in the Accademia, in the big room XXIII which used to be the upper part of the Carita church.
Organ doors by Veronese, with the organ placed over the the door to the sacristy in the left transept, as with the organ doors also painted by Veronese at San Sebastiano.  The doors here depicted Saints Geminianus and Severus together in a wide and decorated domed space on the outside (see left), whilst the inside wings portrayed two single saints in imitation stone niches - John the Baptist and Menna. The face of Saint Severus is a portrait of Benedetto Manzini, the above-mentioned parish priest and Veronese's patron. It has been suggested that Saint Menna may be a portrait of the artist, or his brother Benedetto. The doors are now in the Galleria Estense in Modena - Saint Geminianus having been a 4th century bishop of Modena.
The bust of Tommaso Rangone by Alessandro Vittoria is now in the Ateneo Veneto. His bust of Benedetto Manzin is in the Galleria Franchetti in the Ca' d'Oro. Three statues of saints by Bartolomeo Bergamasco are now on the high altar of San Giovanni di Malta. The altarpiece of the Scuola di Santa Caterina by Giovanni Bellini is now lost.
Jacopo Tintoretto's Angel Foretelling Saint Catharine's Martyrdom was painted for this church. It was here until the church was demolished, after which it was briefly in the Accademia, Florence, before passing into private ownership. Around 1818 it was acquired by a Colonel T.H. Davies, and until recently was reported to to be in a private collection in Chicago. But this altarpiece has been in the news recently as it emerged that it had been bought by David Bowie in 1987.  At the sale very soon after Bowie's death in 2016 it was bought by an unnamed European collector for around €200,000, who then offered it as a long-term loan to the Rubens House Museum. Rubens owned seven Tintorettos and Bowie loved the Rubens House Museum, it seems. There are plans for the painting to return to Venice in 2019 for a Biennale-related exhibition devoted to this church and its relationship to Flemish artists, including Rubens himself and his pupil Van Dyck.




Initially dedicated to San Mauro, founded in 920, with the first documentary evidence in 1069. Later dedicated to Sant'Anzolo, i.e. San Michele Arcangelo. The church burnt down in 1167, was rebuilt in 1431, and restored after another fire in 1685. Domenico Cimarosa, the musician, was buried here in 1801. Closed on the 14th October 1810 and used as a warehouse until it was demolished in 1837. The altar from this church is now in the right chancel chapel in the nearby church of Santo Stefano.

The first one was toppled by an earthquake in 1084. A later detached campanile fell down in 1347 after, it is said, the bells rang out of their own accord. In 1455 an architect called Fioravanti tried to correct a strong inclination and a day later it fell, killing two friars. It was rebuilt in 1456 but struck by lightening in 1487. A restored campanile lasted until the church was demolished in 1837.

Lost art
Titian's late dark and smoky Pieta (see right) which some say caps and summarises his career,  the friars at the Frari refused to place in the chapel of the Crucifix where Titian was hoping to be buried, and placed it over another altar, so prompting Titian to demand its return to his studio. He never was buried in his hometown, his next plan, and so his intention to have this painting over his tomb was never realised. It was eventually acquired by his ex-pupil Palma Giovane, who made small additions to it and left it to Sant'Angelo, where it remained until it was moved to the Accademia when the church was closed in 1810. The prostrate figure to the right, probably representing Saint Jerome, is supposedly a self-portrait.

The church in art
The church appears in paintings by Canaletto (see above) and Bella in the Querini Stampalia gallery.


Santa Maria dell'Ascensione
Santa Maria in Broglio


San Paterniano


In the 12th century the order of Templars owned the church of Santa Maria in Broglio (from brolo meaning garden or orchard) with an attached hospice for pilgrims on their way to the holy land. It stood on the site of the current Hotel Luna near the Vallaresso vaporetto stop. Abandoned in 1311, when Pope Clement V abolished the Templars, the complex passed to the Knights of Malta, who later sold it to the procurators of San Marco. They rented it to a Fra Malasa on the understanding that he didn't use it to house the poor but keep it available for visiting ambassadors. In the late 15th century the monastery was rented to the Osteria della Luna. Restoration work on the church was begun in 1516 by the confraternity of the Holy Spirit (aka the confraternity of the Ascension) but was not completed until 1597, because of conflicts with the confraternity of the Blind. The church was later renamed after the Feast of the Ascension and closed in 1810. It was used as a warehouse until it was demolished in 1824 to make way for an extension to the Hotel Luna.


Tradition has it that the Andreada family founded a wooden church in the 10th century dedicated to Saint Paternian, an image of whom had been brought from the Marche of Ancona in 890 and venerated in a tabernacle. This church burnt down in 976 and was rebuilt in stone between 1005 and 1168 using eight Greek marble columns brought from Constantinople. Rebuilt again in 1437 with a nave, two aisles and seven altars, the church was finally closed in 1810. The church and its pentagonal campanile dating from 999, and so the oldest in Venice, was demolished by the Town Council in 1871 to make way for the Manin statue in Campo Manin after having first put them up for auction and having found no takers.

Santi Filippo and Giacomo

A church and convent,  founded by the Bendictines in the 9th century, with its dedication later extended to include Sant'Apollonia, in connection with the nearby scuola. Restored in 1683, the complex was secularised in 1807 and then mostly demolished, the remaining buildings becoming the residence of the primate of San Marco. The lovely Romanesque cloister remains (see left) as part of the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art. Its entrance is facing us to the right of the church façade on the left in the print (see right).


Francesco Zucchi 1740

The church is to the far left in this detail from the
Ughi map of 1729.


Sant'Agostino to the left, San Boldo to the right,
San Giacomo dell’Orio to the rear. From the Merian map of 1635.

San Boldo

San Boldo is Venetian dialect for St Hubald. The church, originally dedicated to Sant’Agata, was built, according to tradition, in the 10th century. The first documentary evidence mentions the Tron and Zusto families and building in 1088. The church was damaged by fire in 1105 and rebuilt in 1305. This last rebuilding involved enlargement and the building of the campanile.  The church acquired the name San Boldo from the attached hospice for poor women founded in 1395 with a bequest from the De Matteo family of Florence.

The freestanding church became gradually hemmed in and at the beginning of the 18th century was falling down. Rebuilding resulted, and the church and reopened in 1739, after plans by Giorgio Massari. After the 18th century rebuilding works by Rocco Marconi, Paolo Piazza, Gaetano Zompini and Francesco Pittoni could be found here.  Suppressed in 1805, closed in 1808 and demolished in August 1826, only the truncated 14th century campanile remains (see photo left) now attached to the Palazzo Grioni, also sometimes called the Palazzo San Boldo. (However, another source says that this is the Palazzo Businello S. Boldo and that the Palazzo Grimani (aka Grioni?) was demolished.) The church façade was to the right and faced the campo, as can be seen on the de'Barbari map (see below). 

Lost art
A 14th century relief of Saint Agatha saved from the church is now in the Museo Patriarcale.




From the de' Barbari map.

San Mattio


The church of San Matteo Apostolo del Rialto, called San Mattio, was founded in the mid 12th century, renewed and rebuilt many times. Considerable work in the first years of the 17th century. Complete rebuilding in 1735. Known as a church rich in its fittings and paintings, testimony to the guild of butchers who had been responsible for the church from 1436. The church was suppressed in 1805, the campanile was demolished in 1818 due to a dangerous lean, with the church's demolition following a few years later.

Lost art
ll that remains of  the church is a bas relief of the 16th century, once on the campanile and today in the Museo del Seminario Patriarchale.




San Mattio is upper left in this detail from the Ughi map of 1729,
the Rialto bridge is to the right.



San Stin


San Stin (or San Stefanin) is the Venetian dialect for San Stefano Confessore, (the Confessor). The original church was built in 10th century, first documented in 1038, destroyed by the fire of 1105 and rebuilt by 1149.  Much work on the interior in the 17th century, with improvement to several chapels belonging to local worthies, including the wealthy Zuane family, who
first commissioned Longhena, then Antonio Gaspari, and finally Domenico Rossi. These last two artists oversaw the work on the church.
Suppressed by the French  in 1810 and demolished soon after. The base of the campanile and the remains of a chapel still exist, and were used until quite recently as an upholsterer's workshop. The campo of the same name (the church was on the rio side, see the centre of the map detail below San Nicolò below) has a well head with a relief depicting St Stephen.

The church in art
In Bernardo Bellotto's Campo San Stin (see left) the church is at the end of the campo, with the Frari looming beyond.

Lost art

The Assumption by Tintoretto now in the Accademia (see right).


Founded in 959 by the Bishop of Olivolo, Pietro Marturio Quintavalle, who left the church in his will to the future Bishops of Olivolo. The first documented mention dates it to 1088. Rebuilt twice after fires in 1149 and 1630, in the latter case to designs by Francesco Contin, with consecration following in 1691. This church's interior was described as slender and reminiscent of Longhena. Chapels included one for the Zane family by Antonio Gaspari and Domenico Rossi. Suppressed in 1808, closed in 1810. Used as a flour mill from 1813 (to ease the blockade) and then as a warehouse until it was demolished in 1872. Housing was built on the site. The church is top right of centre in the detail from the the Clarke map of 1838 below.

During work to install sewage treatment tanks in 2000 the foundations of the last church were found and then four graves dating from the first church. They had been opened and desecrated by the builders of the second church, and the bones of about 20 other corpses were found all mixed up.

Lost art
Altarpieces by Bernardino Prudenti (St. Augustine and St. Monica with the Virgin Mary and Jesus), Pietro Libera (The Crucifixion with
St. Francis and other saints) Giuseppe Nogari (The Martyrdom of St. Christopher) and Paris Bordone (Ecce Homo).

Local press
In Campo S. Agostino Aldus Manuzio had his famous printing press, over the door of which was a sign telling visitors to state their business in as few words as possible so as to leave the busy man in peace.


The second church, on the de' Barbari map.

The church as it was just before demolition

San Nicolò della Lattuga

Given the diminutive name San Nicoletto to differentiate it from San Nicolò del Lido, both churches were dedicated to St Nicholas of Myra. Built around 1332 by Procurator Nicolò Lion, the man who discovered Doge Marin Falier's conspiracy in 1355. He had been miraculously cured of a serious illness by eating some lettuces from the Frari's friars' garden and so founded this small church and monastery on the site of the garden and left it to the Franciscans after his death. He died in 1356 and was buried in this church, his tomb being moved to the Frari after the church was closed in 1807. There had been rebuilding in 1561, major redecoration in the 1580s and reconsecration in 1582. When the complex was closed by Napoleon the monks moved to the Frari, the monastery being used by the French as a barracks for a while and then as a flour mill from 1813 (to ease the blockade). The church itself was demolished in 1809. Its cloister became part of the Frari State Archives complex in 1875.

Lost art
Titian's unusual and masterful altarpiece The Madonna and Child with Saints (see right) installed here 1533-35, is now in the Pinacoteca museum in the Vatican. It shows a selection of Venice's favourite saints (prominently including St Nicholas of course) and Franciscans, seemingly in some sort of circular dungeon. The rays above the Virgin's head originally emanated from the dove of the Holy Ghost, removed in the 19th century. Titan's employment here may have contributed to his getting the career-boosting commission for the huge Assumption for the Frari.
The church acquired eleven works by Veronese in the 1580s, late in his life, including seven ceiling paintings. Three of these works (The Consecration of St. Nicolas as Bishop of Mira, St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, both ceiling paintings, and a wonderful and innovative - off-centre - Crucifixion) are now in the Accademia. Both the ceiling paintings were originally quatrefoil shaped but St Nicholas was cut down and made made circular to fit the Accademia ceiling panel in the centre of room 1, where it no longer resides. Also five ceiling paintings (of lesser reputation) went to San Zanipolo (The Adoration of the Magi and four Evangelists) and are set into the ceiling of the Chapel of the Rosary. A single panel continuous narrative showing the Baptism and Temptation of Christ, which hung on the right wall of the presbytery, beneath a Last Supper by Veronese’s son Carletto Caliari, was transferred to the Brera in 1809.  Two monochrome figures of the Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Ezechiel, previously in the Accademia, are in the Fondazione Cini.

Also paintings by Palma Giovane (the last of the quartet of paintings in the apse begun by Veronese and his studio) and the Flemish painter Paolo Fiammingo, also from the 1580s redecoration, and by Nicolò Bambini and Giovanni Antonio Fumiani, the latter famed for the ceiling of San Pantalon.


Detail from the the Clarke map of 1838, showing San Nicoletto left centre,
Sant'Agostino top right of centre, San Stin in the centre and San Boldo top right.

Santa Chiara


Founded in 1236, rebuilt several times, caught fire in 1574, consecrated during rebuilding work in 1620. The convent and church were suppressed in 1807, with the convent converted into a military hospital in 1819. All but the 17th century cloisters were demolished in the second half of 19th century. They're now part of the police headquarters and are also home to the Red Cross.

Lost Art
Paolo Veneziano's large Coronation of the Virgin Polyptych (see below left) from Santa Chiara has been in the Accademia since the church's suppression. It faces you as you get up the stairs into room 1.

The convent in art
Canaletto's The Grand Canal, looking South-East along the Fondamenta di Santa Chiara, (Private collection, London), has the wall of the convent peeking into the right-hand edge, with the wall of Corpus Domini, also
lost, far left.

From the Merian  map of 1635, Santa Chiara is rear centre,
and that's Sant'Andrea della Zirada in front.


Santa Croce

Established by refugees fleeing the Lombards in the late 6th century, becoming a parish church around 775. A monastery was then established here in 1109 by Cluniac monks from France. A scandal forced the monks to leave in 1341. The complex passed to the Franciscans and then to the Poor Clares.
Restoration to plans by Antonio da Ponte from 1583, the year Doge Nicolo da Ponte laid the foundation stone. New church consecrated in 1600 and acquired by the patriarch. Suppressed in 1810, used as a warehouse and then demolished in 1813. The site became the private garden of Spiradone Papadopoli in 1834, but is now the grim and dusty public Giardini Papadopoli. The church had nine altars and was richly decorated. A column from the church (see photo below right) is all that remains, in the corner of the garden wall on Rio dei Tollentini.

The black and white photo (below left) taken in December 1928 shows a church-like building which was one of the buildings of the Giardini Papadopoli.

The church in art
The detail above is from a Bellotto view. Above right is a detail from a Canaletto called The Canale Santa Chiara, in the Wallace Collection in London.



A detail from the Merian map of 1635 showing
Santa Croce to the west with San Giovanni Battista to the east,
and the then-new church of Le Zitelle in the Centre.


San Giacomo della Giudecca


The order of the Servi de Maria (Servites) based in Cannaregio were given money in 1338 by Marsilio da Carrara, Signore of Padua, to build a church called Santa Maria Novella on the Giudecca. The church was built on the site of an oratory dedicated to San Giacomo, and inherited the name. (Until 1999 the local Vaporetto stop was also called San Giacomo.) Before the building of the Redentore in the 16th century this was the biggest church on Giudecca. Suppressed by the French in 1806 and demolished in 1837. The monastery became a barracks in 1821 and was later demolished to make way for public housing.

Lost art
Michele Giambono's painting of Four Saints (including San Giacomo) and the Blessed Filippo Benizzi is now in the Accademia.
Giambono was also a mosaicist - his work can be seen in San Marco.
Vittore Carpaccio's early Madonna and Child with the  Infant Saint John the Baptist, which was after restoration in 2003 reattributed to him, after having slipped to the status of copy following dubious conservation work in the 20th century. It's now in the Correr, and looks flat and unconvincing, presumably because of all the restorations.
Veronese's (workshop?) Assumption of the Virgin, now in the Accademia, decorated the ceiling of the refectory here, flanked by two ovals  of the
Annunciation and the Visitation, which are currently in storage there. On the wall was the Feast in the House of Levi (see left), largely the work of Veronese's brother Benedetto and his sons Gabriele and Carletto, but the painting was probably begun by Veronese himself just before he died. Following suppression it became the property of the Accademia. Since 1910 it has been on loan to Verona, and since WWII it has hung in the town hall, the Palazzo Barbieri. It was cleaned and restored for the Veronese exhibition held in 2014 in Verona and it looked fine.

The church in art
Visible in many 18th century views of the Redentore, to the right (west). A View of the Redentore, Venice, on the Feast of the Redeemer (detail top left) is attributed to Johann Richter and owned by the University of Cambridge. It should be noted, though, that Richter's views are sometimes less than totally topographically accurate.

The church is also to be seen in at least four Canaletto views of The Church of the Redentore. Versions are to be found in Woburn Abbey, the Manchester Art Gallery, and a sale at Sotheby's New York in February 2018. One of them moves San Giacomo further to the right, and in the one in the Sotheby's sale the campanile is moved towards the west end of the church. This last version has the clearest view (see detail above right) but the buildings in front of the church in all of them seem to contradict the map below.

Detail from Ughi map of 1729

San Giovanni Battista



Church and monastery founded in 1333 by Bonaccorso de Benedetti, a merchant from Lucca and occupied by Camaldolesi monks from San Mattia on Murano. The complex stood at the tip of Giudecca, opposite San Giorgio (see the map at the start of Giudecca section above). It was completed in 1344, with the addition of a hospital for the poor in 1369. The church was renovated and consecrated in 1371 by Paolo Foscari, the Bishop of Castello. Once had organ doors painted by Cima de Conigliano. By 1820 the church was no more.

The church in art
Appears in the centre of San Giorgio Maggiore with the Giudecca and the Zitelle by Guardi, of which many versions exist. Also a Canalletto view of the Dogana in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna has the church in the background (see detail above).

Capuchin monks found refuge here in 1546 when they were expelled from the Redentore by the heretic Fra Bernadino Ochino, returning in 1548 when the monastery was destroyed and the heretic expelled.

And here it was that the Carmelites living on Sant'Angelo di Concordia were moved in 1555, and that island took its present name, Sant'Angelo della Polvere, brcause the Senate decided to depopulate it due to its unhealthy air and to install a gunpowder depot, the island being a good safe distance from places of habitation.

The site here was taken over when Junghans expanded their clock and watch factory in 1943.

Santi Biagio e Cataldo

Initial consecration of the church dates from 1188, with an attached hospice for pilgrims on the way to the Holy Land. In 1222 a monastery was founded by Giuliana di Collalto, who became the abbess.  In 1519 accusations of moral laxity led to reformation and the transfer here of fourteen nuns from Ognissanti. In the 16th century the complex underwent major restoration, with the church renovated by Michele Sanmicheli. Later restoration was carried was the early 18th century by Domenico Rossi and Giorgio Massari. This work resulted in the demolition of Sanmicheli's choir roof, the columns from which were used to make the portico of the nearby church of Sant’Eufemia. (The remains of Giuliana di Collalto where moved to Sant'Eufamia too, in 1822. Her decorated coffin is in the Correr.) Pope Pius VII visited in 1800. Suppression followed in 1810 and the complex was put to use as a hospital for infectious diseases. It then passed into private hands and was gradually demolished for building materials, until it was finally destroyed in 1882.

Lost art
Saints Nicholas, Charles Borromeo and Lucy by Palma Giovane, which came from this church, is now in San Pietro Martire on Murano.

The church in art
Appears at left edge of Guardi's View of the Giudecca Canal and the Zattere
(see detail right).



San Cipriano

A Benedictine monastery. The doges Pietro Polani (1148) and Pietro Gradenigo (1310), who foiled Bajamonte Tiepolo's rebellion, were buried here.

Lost art
The early 13th century ceiling mosaic from the apse here is now in the apse of the Friedenskirche in Potsdam (see left), bought by the Prussian king Frederick William IV in 1835 for this his church, which is in the palace grounds of Sanssouci Park.


San Giacomo


San Giovanni dei Battuti

Lost art
Works by Veronese from about 1577-78, commissioned by Giovanni Trevisan, a Benedictine monk, abbot of San Cipriano (see above) and elected patriarch in 1560. All of them are now in England. The Visitation is now in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham. Christ and the Sons of Zebedee (which would have been over the high altar) and two organ shutters (from the inside) depicting St. Augustine and St. James are in Burghley House, Lincolnshire. A Resurrection has been in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London since 1950. It is displayed in the hospital chapel, which was built for it.
A Mystic Marriage of St Catherine also by Veronese from the outside of the organ shutters, and The Wedding Feast at Cana by Tintoretto and The Martyrdom of St Agatha by Palma Giovane, which came from the nuns' refectory and the chapel inside the convent respectively, are now lost.


Lost art
There was a Scuola di San Giovanni dei Battuti from which some panelling, carved by Pietro Morando, and paintings, were removed and installed in the sacristy of San Pietro Martire on Murano.
The Baptism Of Jesus by Jacopo Tintoretto which came from above the high altar here is now also in San Pietro Martire on Murano.
An altarpiece St John the Baptist worshipped by Vincenzo Serena by 'school of Titian' came from here and went there too. Vincenzo Serena having been a 'guardian' at the Scuola here.

    San Martino            San Matteo
                                                                              San Maffio


San Mattia









The oratory (at 19-23 Fondamanta Radi) is all
 that remains of a monastery founded here in 1280.


Lost art
One of the finest works by famed illuminator Cristoforo Cortese is a Gradual he illuminated c.1412-1413 for this church, probably, now in Milan.

The church in art

The Church and Convent of San Mattia di Murano
by Giacomo Guardi (above).

San Salvatore


Santo Stefano

San Salvatore is to the right, San Pietro Martire to the left.




The church was demolished between 1835 and 1860 following suppression. The chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento was saved from destruction by a Monsignor Giovanni Nichetti, who made it into an oratory in 1848, which still exists. Frescoes in the oratory depict the Trinity, the Four Evangelists, Saint Jerome, Saint Gregory, Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine.

Lost art
An altar 'in Lombardian style' and the baptismal font, both now in San Pietro Martire on Murano.

The very typical Cima Madonna of the Orange Tree in room 2 of the Accademia is from the Franciscan church of Santa Chiara on Murano 



San Giovanni Evangelista


Sant'Antonio Abate








Rebuilt after a fire in 1343. The church later fell into ruin.

Lost art
The Polyptych of the Apocalypse by Jacobello Alberegno, now in the Accademia.

A Benedictine monastery which  stood on an island to the southeast, on a canal which retains the name. In 1216 the abbot of San Giorgio Maggiore gave some land to a brother Tommaso of  Torcello to build a church dedicated to Saint Anthony. It was an insalubrious site, prone to flooding, but the abbot gave Brother Thomas autonomy and tax breaks so he built a monastery. This means that the monastery was founded in the 13th century, but tradition argues for the 9th or 10th century as the date of of foundation.
From 1246 the monastery housed the nuns of San Cipriano from Mestre, under the jurisdiction of the church of Santi Maria e Donato on Murano. The nuns found the complex a bit of a wreck but it was restored several times, and
expanded with the addition of other communities in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. These were those of Santi Filippo e Giacomo of Ammiana, Santi Giovanni e Paolo of Costanziaco, Santi Marco e Cristina also from Ammiana. From the latter they acquired the remains of Santa Cristina, now to be found in San Francesco della Vigna.
With the Napoleonic suppressions of 1806 the sisters were moved to the convent of San Matteo of Murano. Following the confiscations and demolitions of buildings not much remains.

Lost art

The Museum of Torcello (opposite the Basilica and Santa Fosca) has some 'school of Veronese' works : a pair of organ doors depicting The Annunciation and The Adoration of the Magi, five monochrome panels and four paintings of the life of Santa Cristina.
Veronese's very fine Saint Anthony Enthroned with Saints Cornelius and Cyprian of 1570 (see right) once here is now in the Brera in Milan, where it's been since 1808. Another Veronese (and studio) work taken from here is, according to its caption in the gallery, the Elemosina di Santa Cristina in the Carrara Gallery in Bergamo.

The other islands
San Clemente
Works from it are in Sant’Appolonia


San Cristoforo della Pace

A 15th century church (and monastery) by Pietro Lombardo, demolished around 1810, which resulted in it's works of art being destroyed or sold, mostly out of Italy. In 1836 the channel between San Cristoforo and San Michele was filled in to build the cemetery island of San Michele.

Lost art
Giovanni Bellini painted Saint Jerome between Saints Peter and Paul for the altar of the funerary chapel of Grand Chancellor Giovanni Dedo in San Cristoforo in 1505. Zanetti said it was in a poor state in 1771 - it's now lost. Another lost Bellini from this church is Saint John the Baptist Between Saint Jerome and Saint Francis with a lunette depicting the Madonna and Child, St Clare and
St Veronica. (see left) which went to the then Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin, was presumably destroyed in 1945 in the fires in the Friedrichshain flak tower (Flakturm)  where paintings from the Berlin collections were being stored to protect them from bombing. An altarpiece by Francesco Guardi was also destroyed. A Madonna and Child with Saints by Alvise Vivarini is said to be in Berlin, but was not to be found in the Gemäldegalerie when I was there, and may have been the one destroyed in the same fire mentioned above). Also a Virgin and Child with Saints by Giovanni Agostino da Lodi (previously thought to be by Basaiti) painted for the ferrymen of Murano, is now in San Pietro Martire on Murano.

The church in art
The church was painted by Canaletto, with San Michele beyond, in a view (detail right) and by the Guardis.


San Giorgio in Alga

An early - after 800 - Benedictine establishment. Monks from here moved to San Giorgio in Braida in Verona in the late 15th century?

Lost art
Cima da Conegliano's Adoration of the Shepherds was here by 1497, but is now lost.

The church in art
The Island of San Giorgio in Alga
by Francesco Guardi (see left).


San Secondo


San Severo


San Vitale

Lost art
A Tintoretto Crucifixion now in the Accademia.

A thriving community, on a par with that on Murano, once lived on Poveglia. The War of Chioggia in 1378 and the consequent repatriation to Giudecca thinned the population. The island itself had eroded to a shadow of its former size. It became fortified and made into a shipyard. In the late 18th century the island took over duties as a quarantine station from the Lazaretto nuovo - the sanatorium buildings remain. Tradition says that the church possessed a miraculous sculpted crucifix painted by Titian, which was later moved to Malamocco. The church was suppressed in 1806 and demolished. All that remains of it is the tower, which was used as a lighthouse. For photos of the current state of the hospital see here.

The campanile in a 70s TV series
The crumbling hospital buildings and the campanile featured in an episode of the 70s Brit series The Protectors. Details here.

Sant'Andrea della Certosa
(Le Certosa )

A church by Pietro Lombardo, part of a monastery established by Carthusians in 1424 and later suppressed by Napoleon.

The church in art
View of the Island of San Andrea della Certosa  by Francesco and Giacomo Guardi (see left), is in Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire.

Lost art
The high altar once housed the impressive Calling of the Sons of Zebedee by Marco Basaiti, now in the Accademia. As is The Madonna and Child, with Saints Andrea, John the Baptist, Dominic and Peter (see right) of 1464 by Bartolomeo Vivarini, which was once over the altar in the Morosoni chapel here.
Sant'Angelo di Concordia

The site of a Benedictine church and monastery founded by doge Domenico Contarini in 1060, first housing monks and then nuns. The latter dedicated the monastery to St Michael the Archangel, hence the original name. In 1474 the nuns were forced to move to Santa Croce on Giudecca, in punishment for misbehaviour - running the convent as a brothel for local fisherman. From 1518 the complex here was used by Carmelites from Mantua and Brescia.
In 1555 the island took its present name, Sant'Angelo della Polvere, when the Senate decided to depopulate it due to its unhealthy air and to install a gunpowder depot, the island being a good safe distance from places of habitation. The Carmelites moved to Sant'Angelo della Giudecca. Lightning struck the island on 29 August 1689, exploding 800 barrels of gunpowder and destroying the whole complex, it is said. A certain amount of rebuilding took place, but the island remained abandoned for years, with 18th century maps showing military installations and it remained a military site until World War II. It has been disused since then.


An engraving of 1696 showing the island after the gunpowder explosion of 1689
Santa Maria in Valverde

Founded around the end of 12th century, suppressed at the fall of the Republic, the church was stripped of it's art and fittings in the middle of 17th century. It was also once rich of relics. It was demolished together with most of the convent at the beginning of 19th century.

Only the 15th century campanile remains (and a chapel/toilet?) from the lost church. The old photo bellow seems to show a different campanile, but if you imagine the damaged spire and drum knocked off and a thinner spire and drum substituted, and the windows opened up...





Santo Spirito in Isola

Dating back to 1140 when it housed Canons Regular  In 1380, they were expelled and replaced by Cistercians. In 1430 it passed to Augustinian Regular Canons from the Lazzaretto Vecchio. Consecrated by Bernard Venier, bishop of Chioggia on Easter Sunday 1505, including the two main altars, dedicated to the True Cross and the Virgin. The facade and choir rebuilt during work around 1540 to designs by Sansovino and commissioned paintings by Palma Vecchio and Titian.
Part of the monastery was, for a short time, used as a printing house of music books. The Augustinians were evicted when Pope Alexander VII suppressed the order in 1656, and all the art moved to the Salute during the following three years. The Venetian Senate sold the property, to help pay for the war in Crete. The art was transferred to the Salute which was under construction. Following the Republic's loss of Crete to the Turks Franciscan's thereby made homeless came here, until 1806.

Napoleon plundered church and monastery and used it as a garrison, demolishing old buildings to build barracks and sheds. Also used as a gunpowder store in WWII and abandoned since 1965. So, the church and monastery are long gone, although there are rumours of some considerable remains - the church's west facade and some walls have been mentioned. The island, the last Lagoon island to go on sale, was put up for €28 million in 2011.

The church in art
Isola Santo Spirito by Guardi (see left).


Lost art
Titian was commissioned by to paint his first altarpiece, of St Mark Enthroned, during the plague year of 1510-12, it includes Saints Cosmas and Damian, Sebastian and Roch. Nearly twenty years later they commissioned him to paint an altarpiece depicting The Pentacost, supplying him with wine and grain to lower the cost of the painting, to be decided when the work was finished. Two different sketches were made and discarded, as the years passed, until a further version, in the 1540s, was painted. This delayed delivery being prompted by Vasari, in town during the winter of 1541-2 to design stage sets for Aretino's La Talenta, being offered the job of painting the ceiling. It was installed in a marble frame, unfinished, in 1541, Titian then having himself rowed out to work on it over several years. When the paint started to blister he had it removed to his house. It was so damaged Titian did a new version, which is the one to be found now in the Salute. A dispute between the prior and Titian wrangled on for years after, but it must have been solved by 1546, when Titian began work on the three ceiling paintings that Vasari had turned down. These are three Old Testament stories now in the sacristy of the Salute (Abraham and Isaac, David and Goliath, and The murder of Abel) with 8 roundels depicting the Four Evangelists and the Four Fathers of the Church.
Also organ shutters, ceiling panels of Old Testament scenes and a Last Supper by Salviati. A tapestry woven for the altar dedicated to the Virgin here, to a design by Lazzaro Bastiani.

All the above removed to the then-under-construction Salute in 1657-9.


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