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 to the churches of Padua, Verona and
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
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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 2007-2021
Next year will be this site's 15th anniversary!