Churches of Veneto

Padova • Torcello(VE) Venezia Verona


Basilica di Sant'Antonio - Padua

Basilica di Sant'Antonio, (the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua) is the largest church in Padua, Italy, is crowned by Byzantine domes and minaret style towers is only second to the Basilica of St. Marks for its Asian inspired beauty.  The interior of the church is richly decorated courtesy of the generosity of Pilgrims who have made their way to this church for centuries to give thanks to the popular St. Antony. 

Although the Basilica is visited by people from all over the world, it is not the titular cathedral of the city, a title belonging to the Duomo. The basilica is known locally as "il Santo". Officially the 13th June is the feast day of the saint, even if nowadays pilgrims come all year round to Padua, with the inner cloisters and church filled with happy groups of Pilgrims there is still a sense of life to be held in this church that many of its counterparts have lost.



Duomo - Santa Maria Matricolare

Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore

Churches in Verona

Duomo - In a small square, which complements it to calculated effect, is Santa Maria Matricolare, the Cathedral of Verona.  Built on the site of a previous Early Christian church and consecrated in 1187, the Cathedral has a fascade which is a perfect composite of Romanesque and Gothic forms.  The grandiose porch, consisting of a double baldachin supported by columns resting on stylised lion figures, is particularly striking.  The portal is the work of Nicola, the same artist who was responsible for the porch of San Zeno; here he sculpted various figures, including prophets and animals etc,.

The Basilica of San Zeno is considered a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture. The present structure was erected, for the most part from 1123-1135 and is the 3rd on this site, over the 4th century shrine to Verona's patron saint, St. Zeno (died 380).  The splendid façade dominates the large square, and is flanked with a beautiful 72 meter tall bell tower, which is mentioned by Dante in Canto 18 of Purgatory in the Divine Comedy. The bell tower was part of a prior building destroyed during an earthquake in the beginning of the XII century.



Venice is full of "Church buildings" either standing majestically in a square or tucked away in an alley way, about 126 churches and 14 oratories spread throughout the historical center and 23 churches and 11 oratories on the lagoon islands, totaling 174 buildings.   But here below, are mentioned only a few and the main ones... 


Basilica di San Marco

The Four Tetrarchs

Churches in Venezia

Saint Mark's Basilica (Italian: Basilica di San Marco a Venezia), the cathedral of Venice, is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture.  It lies on St Mark's Square (in the San Marco sestiere or district) adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace.   Originally it was the "chapel" of the Venetian rulers, and not the city's cathedral.   Since 1807 it has been the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice.   For its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building was known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (Church of gold).

The Four Tetrarchs. As the Roman Empire began the process of disintegration, Emperor Diocletian imposed a new Imperial office structure: a four co-emperor ruling plan called The Tetrarchy. This porphyry statue represents the inter-dependence of the four rulers. It was taken from Constantinople, during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, and set into the south-west corner of the basilica (the above mentioned low tower) at the level of the Piazza San Marco. The missing foot of one of the figures was discovered in Istanbul in the 1960s, where it is still on display.




The Chiesa di San Moisè (or San Moisè Profeta) is a church in Venice, northern Italy. It is dedicated to Moses as, like the Byzantines, the Venetians tended to canonise Old Testament prophets.  It also honours Moisè Venier, who paid for it to be rebuilt in the 9th century. The elaborate Baroque facade is covered in carvings.  Some of its sculptures are generally attributed to Heinrich Meyring.  The interior is dominated by Meyring's huge altarpiece - Mount Sinai with Moses receiving the Tablets.  John Law, originator of the Mississippi Scheme, is buried in the church.

San Moisè is the parish church of one of the parishes in the Vicariate of San Marco-Castello. The other churches within the parish are Santa Maria Zobenigo, San Fantin, Santa Croce degli Armeni and the Basilica of San Marco itself.

Church of San Moisè


The Chiesa di San Rocco (Church of St Roch) in Venice was built between 1489 and 1508 by Bartolomeo Bon the Younger, but was substantially altered in 1725.  The facade dates from 1765-1761.  St Roch, whose relics rest in the church, was declared a patron saint of the city in 1576.  Every year, on his feast day (16 August), the Doge made a pilgrimage to the church.


Near the church is the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, noted for its numerous Tintoretto paintings. It was founded in the 15th century as a confraternity to assist the citizens in time of plague.


The church interior is notable for its Tintoretto paintings found in the sala dell'Albergo including:



Church of San Rocco

1...   Annunciation and St Roch presented to the Pope on west wall.
2...   St Roch taken to Prison (attributed) and The Pool of Bethesda on south wall of the nave.
3...  St Roch curing the plague victims, St Roch comforted by an Angel, St Roch in Solitude and St Roch healing the Animals (attributed) in chancel.
4...   St Christopher and St Martin on Horseback by Pordenone hang on north wall of the nave.



Chiesa del Santissimi Redentore

Il Redentore, more properly Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore (Church of the Most Holy Redeemer), is Andrea Palladio's great domed church on Giudecca, one of the islands of Venice. Located on the waterfront of the Canale della Giudecca, it dominates the skyline of the island.

It was built in thanksgiving for deliverance from the plague that decimated Venice from 1575 to 1576, in which some 46,000 people, 25-30 per cent of the population, died. The Senate commissioned the great architect Palladio to design it.   Construction began in May 1577. The building was in a satisfactory stage and was consecrated in 1592.

It has one of the most prominent sites of any of Palladio's structures, and is considered one of the pinnacles of his career. It is a large, white building with a dome crowned by a statue of the Redeemer.  In the façade a central triangular pediment overlies a larger, lower one. This design is reminiscent of Palladio's design for San Francesco della Vigna, and was to be a feature often repeated by other architects in the following two centuries. It has been suggested that there are some Turkish influences in the exterior. Certainly, the building is not classical in a narrowly defined sense of the term. As a pilgrimage church, the building was expected to have a long nave, which was something of a challenge for Palladio, with his commitment to classical architecture. The result is a somewhat eclectic building, the white stucco and gray stone interior combines the nave with a domed crossing in spaces that are clearly articulated yet unified. An uninterrupted Corinthian order makes its way around the entire interior.

The Redentore contains paintings by Francesco Bassano, Lazzaro Bastiani, Carlo Saraceni, Leandro Bassano, Palma the Younger, Jacopo Bassano, Francesco Bissolo, Rocco Marconi, Paolo Veronese, Alvise Vivarini and the workshop of Tintoretto. The sacristy also contains a series of wax heads of Franciscans made in 1710.



Santa Maria della Salute

Generally referred to as "La Salute," this crown jewel of 17th century baroque architecture proudly reigns at a commercially and aesthetically important point, almost directly across from the Piazza San Marco, where the Grand Canal empties into the lagoon.

The first stone was laid in 1631 after the Senate decided to honor the Virgin Mary of Good Health for delivering Venice from a plague. They accepted the revolutionary plans of a young, relatively unknown architect, Baldassare Longhena (who would go on to design, among other projects, the Ca' Rezzonico). He dedicated the next 50 years of his life to overseeing its progress (he would die 1 year after its inauguration but 5 years before its completion).

The only great baroque monument built in Italy outside Rome, the octagonal Salute is recognized for its exuberant exterior of volutes, scrolls, and more than 125 statues and rather sober interior, though one highlighted by a small gallery of important works in the sacristy. (You have to pay to enter the sacristy; the entrance is through a small door to the left of the main altar.) A number of ceiling paintings and portraits of the Evangelists and church doctors are all by Titian. On the right wall is Tintoretto's Marriage at Cana, often considered one of his best.


San Giorgio maggiore

San Giorgio Maggiore is church on the island of the same name. The first St George’s church dates back to the 8-9th century. In 982 the whole island was donated to a Benedictine monk, who founded the adjacent monastery.

The present church was begun in 1566, and was not entirely finished before the death of  Andrea Palladio in 1580. The façade was continued by Vincenzo Scamozzi based on the original architect's designs and completed in 1610. The church, sometimes designated as a basilica, is a prime example of Palladio's architectural style, and one of the finest churches he designed. Inside, there is "The Last Supper", painted byTintoretto from 1592 to 1594,. he painted the same subject several times in his life, but this one has an amazing surreal atmosphere and it is the most vivid of all. It is one of his greatest works – masterpiece by all means.

The bell tower, first built in 1467, fell in 1774; the reconstruction was completed in 1791. The Benedictine monks still officiate in the church.


San Francesco del Deserto - aerial view and Cloister


San Francesco del Deserto

The isle of San Francesco del Deserto (Isle of the Desert) has a surface of 2 hectares and lies on the Northern Lagoon, between Burano and the Isle of Sant'Erasmo. This island was occupied in 1200 by a community of Franciscan friars, who have been taking great care of it, making it a peaceful, serene oasis. Today it is still owned by the monastic order of the Franciscan Fathers, living inside an austere convent embellished by two XIV and XV century cloisters.

Various religious orders lived on the isle until 1806 when, further to the dissolution ordered by Napoleon I, it became a military depot. The monks had to find shelter in Venice in San Bonaventura's monastery. The Austrians turned the isle into a war placing, with cannons and a powder-magazine.

In 1858, after 52 years, the Franciscan fathers returned onto the isle. The ground is rich with vegetation, mainly cypresses. Among them stands out the monastery, a peaceful retreat not only for the monks but also for those worshippers wanting to find a secluded place where to pray.

Facing south-west, you can see Sant'Erasmo and these slightly protruding grassy islets, a common view throughout the lagoon, especially on the northern side. They are called "barene".

San Fancesco del Deserto can be reached both from Venice and Burano in 20 minutes by boat.








Torcello is one of the most representative spots of this culture; it is both the most renowned of the small islands and the most important from an artistic point of view.

It's approximately 8-minute walk to Torcello church, from the vaporetta stop. At the time of arrival take note for the next vaporetto which passes every 30 minutes.

Once you are in the square (church complex) - in front and on the left side, there is the Council Palace in gothic style (built during the fourteenth century and at that time, seat of the local government), and the Archives' Palace.  Both buildings constitute the Torcello's Museum, an archaeologic collection of Latin, Byzantine and medieval ages, all its finds were discovered on the island. The Council Palace was bought in 1870 by the count Torcelli that, after a 2-year restoration, gave it as a gift to the Province.  In 1877 it was C.A. Levi that bought and restored the Archives' Palace.   Finally it was possible to see in 1887 the "Museo dell'Estuario" (Estuary's Museum), named later "Museo di Torcello" and property of Venice's Province. On the stairs located in the Archives' Palace you can have a beautiful sight of the lagoon.

Sant'Andrea - Spello

Santa Fosca Church, built between the eleventh and the twelfth century. Outside there is a porch on five sides and inside it is possible to see the strict pentagonal apse.  This small church is admirable for its proportioned dimensions and for the armony of the architectonic elements. Beyond this small but beautiful church there is the rest of the Baptistery (circle shape, 7th century). During the high tide there is sea water inside, reminding us that we are still in the lagoon.

San maria Assunta - Duomo


Finally you'll arrive aat Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, built in 639 by the Ravenna's exarch, Isaacio.  There is no free admittance to the church. The building had restorations in 864 and 1008 but the present construction looks typical of the Veneto-Byzantine age (eleventh century). The church inside is solemn with a floor made by rich marble mosaics.  Above the "Porta Maggiore" (Main Gate), is located the wonderful mosaic titled "Christ's Aphoteosis" and "Last Judgement", a real masterpiece attributed to Veneto-Byzantine school (twelfth century). On the apse is the mosaic "The Virgin and the Apostles".

This church represents the most ancient monumental building in Venice's Lagoon.  There are some curious and huge shutters located outside that repair the windows on the side of the church.  Paying an additional charge to the church's admittance it is possible to visit the bell tower (eleventh century), climbing a ramped stairway, again a splendid view of the lagoon can be seen.

Many of its monuments have disappeared in the swamp that started expanding after the XIVth century; while others were dismantled to recover the materials subsequently used for other buildings.



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