I created this site in 2007 because there wasn't a site like
it, or indeed a comprehensive book of Venice's churches available in English.
It's all my own work. The photos are 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 now to the churches of Padua and Verona,
cities which fell under Venetian rule at crucial times, and
Bologna, which never did.
I suppose I should
point out that, contradictory 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.
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
To search just within this site using Google, enter your search
into the box as usual and then type in site:churchesofvenice.com
Click here to
send me an encouraging e-mail
and my other sites are...
These sites also have their own Facebook page...
The Friends of Fictional Cities and the Churches of Venice
Click on the link and Like the page for
regular news updates.
You can post (positive) comments too.
19th May 2022
Just back from my trip
to Ferrara and Venice, and boy was it hot - the upper 20s°C. But
lots of photos were taken, churches visited, and gelati and pastries
scoffed in both cities. I'm looking at plenty of work to get my
Ferrara page presentable and, probably first, my good old Venice
pages freshened up. So expect scaffolding updates, some revised
descriptions and generally better photographs.
8th March 2022
Encouraged by the news that from the 1st of March entry to
Italy no longer requires a pre-trip covid test, only proof of
vaccination and passenger locator form, I've just booked Ferrara and
Venice in mid-May!
1st January 2022
Trepidation and carefulness are all
well and good, but sometimes a chap just has to take a chance, and
book a week in Florence in February. It's a guided tour, which I
don't really need, but it's a favourite art historian and a couple
of old tour friends are on it. It also means someone else is taking
care of the tests and forms. But I'll be crossing my own fingers.
For more trips in the year ahead also. March is full of postponed
tours and a homecoming niece, but April and May are pretty empty and
crying out for returns to Venice, Ferrara, Verona ... the list is
23rd October 2021
With only a couple of cold months left
in 2021 I am becoming resigned to staying in my own country until
next year. Travel to Europe has become possible, but what with
the talk of passenger locator forms, green passes, and the PCR/antigen
tests business, not to mention the need to wear a mask, I am think
that waiting for the Spring might make for a pleasanter experience.
The first of my guided art trips postponed to 2022 is Toulouse in
March - neatly exactly two years after my last (covid-cursed) trip
abroad, to the Van Eyck exhibition in Ghent. Two years! Still I've
kept busy and my churches pages have all been refreshed with book
reading and updated with reports from more intrepid travellers, as
well as sundry sprucings up and tidyings. Some memorable travel
around my own country too. Onward!
21st August 2021
Travelling to Italy seems to be
getting possible for some, if not easy and comfortable for most of
us. The prospect of taking tests at both ends (of your journey!),
providing paperwork, and four days self-isolating does not encourage
me. So I give thanks for those able and willing, especially when
they use their trips to send me fresh news about the states of
access and scaffolding and such for the churches of Venice. Robert
from Prague managed to visit Venice in early July and last week, and
has provided copious info which I have now fed into the entries
here, and Terry H is on his way, staying for a month, and offering
3rd August 2021
I'm having to accept the decreasing
likelihood of travel to Italy getting possible and comfortable by
the Autumn, but I'm getting knowledge and fixes where I can.
I constantly tinker with this site as I read and revisit but as time
passes the new knowledge gained becomes less likely to be major. But
in the National Gallery in Edinburgh in June I was surprised to come
across The Apotheosis of Saint Jerome with Saint Peter of
Alcántara, a painting by Giovanni Battista Pittoni, painted
c.1725 and, the caption told me, it was originally over an altar in
the Miracoli. Now I had always believed, and written, that the
Miracoli has been largely untouched since it was built, but it turns
out that the 16th to 18th centuries saw the creation, and movement
around the place, of many paintings and altars for this church. All
of this being wiped away during controversial late-19th-century work
to return the church to its ‘original’ state. I‘d not read of this
before and have to thank a 1989 Burlington magazine article by
Deborah Howard for providing clarity. See my
section for more, and
an old print of the church before the 19th century work. A new book
Carpaccio in Venice has spruced up a few entries too,
mostly with regard to updated scholarship and mostly on my Scuola
Chorus has changed their opening
times and the Frari has quit the scheme.
Work, work, work!
13th May 2021
Having realised that Verona and Padua
on these pages have not had their best churches identified, and
given pages to themselves, as has happened with Venice and Bologna,
I have set about rectifying this oversight. But in the process found
some other lacks needing rectifying, like links from some menus and
the addresses and opening times for churches in Verona. So a sudden
burst of business, and poking around and searching always throw up
new knowledge too. Added to this is the increasing likelihood of
travel to Italy in the Autumn being possible, and possibly even
comfortable enough to be truly tempting. The future's so bright...
25th February 2021
Having discovered and been gobsmacked by the
monumental cemeteries in Bologna, Siena and Ferrara in recent years
I have decided to give the
Monumental Cemetery of the Misericordia
in Siena its own page on
The Churches of Florence and Siena,
and to add the
Certosa Monumental Cemetery to my Bologna pages here.
24th February 2021
So on Monday we Brits were shown our
slow way back to normality, which will finally return on the 21st of
June. On the 17th of May international travel can resume, but this
will be reliant on other country’s vaccination states and rulings,
of course. City breaks in the UK are tempting me for the summer, but
Italy is still looking unlikely before the Autumn. It’s good to have
a some rough idea, though.
12th February 2021
We're still in covid lockdown, and as
a new season of art-history trips approaches - Spring - so a new
batch of cancellations is upon me. Lucca this March is now Lucca in
March 2022 and Siena in May has just been cancelled and is now
Toulouse and Albi, also in March 2022. Parma and Modena this June
has yet to cancelled, but is looking dicey, I'd suggest. I'd like to
vaguely and broadly conject that UK trips might become possible in
late Spring, maybe even around Easter, with foreign travel maybe in
the Autumn. Venice and Florence are certainly very high up my list
when things ease up, especially if I can get to them before the
masses. The roll-out of the vaccine and the fall in the rate of
transmission and deaths across the UK suggests that some optimism
may be in order. Our esteemed leader is set to make some sort of
announcement on the 22nd of this month.
15th January 2021
January can be a depressing month in
the best of years, and Lockdown 3 in the UK has made this January
even grimmer - stopping at home very strongly advised and only
essential shops open. But this week began with us getting two new
cats and has ended up with me getting my Covid vaccination. So some
optimism that trips might be possible this Spring. May? June? Let's
14th November 2020
We’re a week into Lockdown 2 in the
UK, and as museums and cathedrals are closed until early December my
life currently consists of food shopping, online art-history courses
and working on the websites.
The Churches of Florence colour scheme is no longer green, but a
tasteful terracotta. I tried the green of the marble on SM Novella,
using Windows’ new built-in colour-sampling function on photos of
the facade, but it was too murky. Both churches sites are benefiting
from some good stuff found on Oxfam’s online bookshop. A big
hardback catalogue of the Accademia has been gone through and been a
benefit, especially to the Scuole pages here. Some 1970s guidebooks
to the Frari, Santa Fosca on Torcello and Santa Croce in Florence
are now top of the pile, smelling strongly of old books.
12th October 2020
When the Covid situation
improved in the summer, and lockdowns were eased, it looked like a
September or October trip to Italy might be possible. But Autumn is
bringing further restricting and measures and it's looking
increasingly unlikely that I'll be getting my ass to Italy this
year. I have been working on a page devoted to Ferrara for this
site, but it needs more church visits and photos to be presentable.
Three art-historical guided trips, to Siena, Lucca and Parma, have
been postponed from this year to the first half of 2021 and I really
hope that they, and some solo church research trips, happen. I'm
getting around England, our cathedrals are grand, and empty museums
are a treat, but I'm definitely suffering gelato, gilded-altarpiece
and fresco-cycle withdrawal symptoms. Life goes on, though, and hope
9th April 2020
revising of this site has now seen the completion of Cannaregio.
Dates have been added, or clarified, altarpiece listings improved,
and more relic-related fun was had. I learned that
Santa Maria dei Servi had a fragment of the titulus
from the True Cross, the piece of wood with INRI written
on it, and a famed and much-reported silver reliquary on the high
altar containing the head of Mary Cleophas, one of the Three Marys,
also known as 'the other Mary'. In a print of the reliquary her
crowned head peaks above the rim in a way that you'd have to be
unusually pious not to grin at.
1st April 2020
Over the years photos of
firmly- closed churches have slowly found their way onto these
pages. Mostly these have resulted from the buildings being used for
art exhibitions -
Sant'Andrea della Zirada,
Santa Maria Valverde
are prime examples. Much rarer are examples of the
Venetian-resident wives of Welsh authors risking a shouting at by
photographing the interior of a church long thought to have been
crumbling, stripped and bare. My entry for
Spirito Santo now has three
interior photos that soundly contradict this assumption and, also
courtesy of said Caroline, details of an altarpiece once in the
church that looks to be a large can of worms in the making.
Last week I started my coronavirus-enforced revising of The Churches of
Venice and have just finished the first page of Cannaregio. New
knowledge includes the fact that Doge Renier Zen was a prominent
sponsor of the Crociferi/Gesuiti church in the 13th century, having
presented the church with the relics of Saint Barbara in 1256, which
helped the order’s finances no end. (But a second body of Barbara at
the convent of San Giovanni Evangelista on Torcello would later gain
the official recognition.) Then in 1581 the city made a diplomatic
gift of a rib from the relics to the Duke of Mantua. This knowledge
came from a PhD thesis I found online, and have credited. Also up
and credited is a photo montage I found on Wikipedia showing the
Bellini San Giobbe altarpiece in its specially-carved stone frame. I
also found out what art was supposedly once in the now stripped and
bare San Leonardo. And more!
21st March 2020
Due to the coronavirus
lockdown in Italy Florence is now not getting visited by me next
week and neither is Siena in April. In better news all my websites
are now shifted and working, I'm very happy to say. With several
tripless months in prospect, and spending so much time at home, I'm
now contemplating projects. Adding a new city, in optimistic
anticipation of a comprehensive visit, is one option. Another is
being more systematic about each church having an image (and a
discussion?) of its best painting, at the very least. So now's the
time - if you've ever thought 'Jeff's websites are great but I
really wish he'd...' do let me know.
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
alleys, to get even more of them in!
Even more prosaically all of my sites will be moving to new
hosting this year, but I hope that this will go so smoothly you
won’t even notice.
Copyright © Jeff Cotton 2007-2022
This year is this site's 15th anniversary!