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. Artists, architects and saints might
get their own pages at some time in the future. 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 sources
January 2017, Part 2
The trip to Venice this month has
indeed resulted in additions major and minor, fresh photographs and
factual updates, as well as updated entries on art from 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 visitable, an experience I'd thought
I'd never have.
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 (which I've not been inside since the early 1990s)
which I'm hoping to do on a suddenly-arranged trip to Venice later
The Scuole page has been added.
Initially, as ever, this is the fruit of visits made, photos taken
and guidebooks bought and read. As time passes a variety of books
get read and more specialist info is added.
Next will be a page devoted to the Basilica San Marco. I've long,
and defensively, ignored it but recent sessions in the Early
Medieval course I've been taking devoted to Byzantine art have given
me an appreciation of mosaic, enamels and spolia.
Regular and eagle-eyed visitors
to this site may have noticed that last year I experimented with a
different style of page layout. It was an attempt to solve a
niggling problem and ring some changes, but wasn't entirely
successful. I'm now sort-of returning to the previous two-column
scheme, but with a narrower left-hand text column (for ease of
reading) and wider right-hand column for photos, and retaining the
wider page of last-year's scheme.
I've been doing this at the same time as adding the photos and
knowledge from my May trip, so the Padua page is now miles better
and the Venice content freshened up and added to. Now, the Scuole...
I'm back from Padua and Venice with
piles of photos, visit notes, leaflets and books to mine. Padua
content mostly, but scuole visits and photos and two churches
in Venice I'd never been able to get into before - San Girolamo and
San Bonaventura. Watch these pages!
A NEW THING
The best churches now have a page to themselves.
Done so far:
Madonna dell’ Orto
San Francesco della Vigna
San Giorgio Maggiore
Santa Maria Formosa
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Copyright © Jeff Cotton 2007-2017
A decade of steady improvement!