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The Veneto: Padua and Verona               Emilia-Romagna: Bologna




 

 

Where next after Venice (and Florence)? Trips to Padua and Verona (which both came under Venetian rule in 1405) suggested that they were more than worthy, and that with works by Bellini, Titian and the Tintorettos in evidence there's going to be plenty of connections, I thought. Well, it didn't quite turn out that way. Padua and Venice are more connected by history than art - the Republic wrested the place from the Carrara and ran things with a light hand for almost 400 years. But early Titian frescoes, a couple of Tiepolos and odd altarpieces by the likes of Palma Giovane and Bonifacio de 'Pitati are about the size of the art incursions. Giusto and Altichiero are the locals who come closest to emulating Giotto. The lesser known and later locals do not provide the surprises and joys of the likes of the Brusasorci, Badile and Morone, for example, in Verona. But fans of fresco are guaranteed satisfaction in a variety of venues. None of the churches charge entry, but the Duomo baptistery and some scuole and oratorios charge a few euros, with a few churches now run by an organisation of volunteers called Legambiente.

 These five churches are the best, I think,
and so will soon have pages to themselves.

The Baptistery
The Eremitani
The Santo
Santa Giustina
The Scrovegni Chapel
 

page 1
Beato Antonio Pellegrino
Duomo & Baptistery Santa Maria Assunta
The Eremitani
Immacolata
Ognissanti
San Benedetto Vecchio
San Benedetto Novello
San Bonaventura delle Eremite
San Canziano
San Clemente
San Daniele
San Francesco Grande
San Gaetano
San Giovanni di Verdara
San Luca Evangelista
San Michele Oratory
San Nicol˛
San Pietro Apostolo
San Prosdocimo
San Tomaso Becket
Sant'Agnese
Sant'Andrea

on page 2
Sant'Antonio The Santo
Santa Caterina
Santa Croce
Santa Giustina
Santa Lucia and the Scuola di San Rocco
Santa Margharita
Santa Maria dei Colombini
Santa Maria dei Servi
Santa Maria del Carmine I Carmini
Santa Maria del Torresino Santa Maria del Pianto
Santa Maria della CaritÓ The Scrovegni Chapel
Santa Maria delle Grazie
Santa Maria in Vanzo
Santa Maria Vergine
Santa Sofia
Santi Fermo e Rustico
Santi Massimo e Osvaldo

Lost
Sant'Agostino

 

Duomo
 Santa Maria Assunta
Piazza Duomo


History
The first church on this site, traditionally said to date from the 7th century, was destroyed by fire during the Hungarian invasion of 899 and rebuilt and consecrated on 29th December 1075 by Bishop Ulderico. This church was badly damaged by the earthquake on the 3rd of January 1117 and rebuilt in Romanesque style, in the 1120s, this church can be seen in Giusto de' Menabuoi's frescoes in the Baptistery. Another church was built by Bishop Stephen da Carrara in 1400, the previous one having fallen down. This one must itself also have been poorly constructed because plans were made for a new church in 1524. This, the current cathedral, was designed by Andrea della Valle and Agostino Righetto, reflecting the design of earlier Paduan churches. Work began in 1547, but was only completed in 1754, with the fašade remaining unfinished. Paduans are said to have once boasted that the plans for this church supplied by Sansovino were rejected in favour of those commissioned from Michelengelo, but the fact that these plans were also ignored is evident from the church's eventual form. Damaged during a Royal Air Force bombing raid, targeting the railway marshalling yards, on 22nd March 1944.


Interior
The key word is huge - the aisles, with their immense chunky pillars, supporting oversized capitals, which separate them from the nave which has two cupolas over it, the side chapels, which are so deep they might be extra transepts, except that the actual transepts are even bigger with enormous altars at each end. Another appropriate word is 'dull'.

Art
No labels on the paintings and no guidebook available. The paintings in here are all 18th-century or newer.
The second and third (deeper) chapels on the left have altarpieces by Pietro Damini - Saint Jerome in the Desert with A Donor and a Crucifixion with Mary Magdalene and Catherine of Alexandria. The latter is the Chapel of Gregory Barbarigo, a 17th century Bishop of Padua, who is himself lying behind a glass panel in the altar, which is the work of Giorgio Massari. The row of dark bronze busts are of the patron saints of Padua - Daniel, Justina, Anthony and Prosdocimo. The next chapel has an unobjectionable Virgin and Child with Saints... with a curly-haired baby John the Baptist, of 1716 by Gian Antonio Pellegrini.
The third chapel on the right has a dark and distant Virgin and Child with Saints attributed to Padovanino.
Reports of paintings by Stefano dell'Azare, Tiepolo, and Paris Bordone could not be confirmed. Ditto a Virgin previously wrongly ascribed to Giotto - it was as a Giotto that Petrarch bequeathed it to his friend Francesco da Carrara.

A Byzantine-style Virgin and Child also mentioned might be the one read about in reliable reports of a 17th-century copy of a late 13th-century Virgin and Child, documented as used every year in a Christmas mystery play here.

I have since also read about three works by Nicoletto Semitecolo in the sacristy here. Two panels depict scenes from the Life of Saint Sebastian and one is a Byzantine-looking gold-background Virgin and Child (see right).
The transept has, as well as many tombs, a number of 18th-century-looking canvases too high to see. As does the choir.
There are nasty melting-looking modern sculpture figures on the steps up to the presbytery, which has carved walnut stalls by Filippo Parodi, a pupil of Bernini who was also responsible for the very baroque reliquary chapel in the Santo. Even the crypt is uninteresting.

Lost art
A sculpted bust of Bishop Stefano da Carrara of 1402 by an anonymous sculptor is in the Eremitani Civic Museum.
The Epistolary of Giovanni da Gaibana, signed by the named scribe in 1259 and made for the Duomo, is now in the Biblioteca Capitolare in Padua. Padua was a leading centre for the production of illuminated manuscripts in the mid-13th century, and the Byzantine-influenced style known as Gaibanesque was very influential.

 





Opening times
Monday-Saturday  7.00-12.00, 4.00-7.30
Sunday 8.30-6.00

The Baptistery
 

History
Romanesque and brick and originally built around 1260. The interior was frescoed by the Florentine Giusto de' Menabuoi in the mid-1370s, the work commissioned by Fina Buzzacarini, the wife of Francesco I da Carrara, the Carrara family having been Giusto's best patrons. Fina got Giusto to paint her and her three daughters as onlookers to the birth of John the Baptist, the Crucifixion, the Way to Calvary and one of Christ's miracles. The crowd in the latter also includes her husband and Petrarch. Also appearing is Fina's sister Anna, the abbess of San Bernadetto, another church which benefited from Fina's patronage. Husband and wife were buried here, in 1393 and 1378 respectively, and the frescoes were finished by 1393.

Interior
The bust-length Christ Pantocrator is in the centre (see right) surrounded by a heavenly kaleidoscope, in five circles, of angels, patriarchs and matriarchs from the Old Testament, and saints. Below Christ is the Virgin in the orant posture. Beneath her the Creation of the World in the drum and beneath this is the large Crucifixion, with the apse below it. Also in the drum, with its few randomly-spaced windows, there are more scenes from Genesis, beginning with The Creation. The pendentives have The Evangelists seated at desks, each flanked by prophets. On the walls below scenes from the Life of John the Baptist are on the south wall and the Life and Passion of Christ make up the rest, ending with the Pentecost in the dome of the apse.
Scenes from the Apocalypse line the walls of the apse, over the entrance to which is The Crucifixion. The altarpiece here, of The Virgin and Child and Saints with Scenes from the Life of Saint John the Baptist (see below) is also the work of Giusto.
On the west wall opposite is the tomb canopy of Fina Buzzacarini (see photo below right), clearly modelled on those of the Carrara lords now in the Ermitani church. Her tomb chest, which almost certainly featured an effigy, and the epitaph are lost, removed by the Venetians a few years after they conquered Padua in 1405, along with Francesco's tomb. (Giusto was also buried in here.) In the fresco under the arch of the canopy Fina kneels to the favoured right of the Virgin, is the same size as the holy figures, and is unusually unaccompanied by her husband, which also makes the composition asymmetrical. She is being presented by John the Baptist and John the Evangelist who stand behind her. On the other side of the Virgin's throne are local saints Daniel, with a model of the city, and Prosdocimus, the first bishop of Padua who was renowned for the number of baptisms he performed, and so appropriately mirrors John the Baptist's pose and position on the left. In the space left by the removal of the tomb chest and epitaph is a later full-length fresco of Saint John the Baptist surrounded by supplicants.
The interior was 'cruelly' repainted by Luca Brida in the 18th century but that work was reversed and recent cleaning has left the frescoes looking fine. Damage to lower parts of lower scenes, especially on the north wall, but still vivid colours on upper levels.
The exterior was covered in frescos too, but these have long since been washed away, although there is a small fragment showing a woman's profile by Giusto in the Bishop's Palace.

Baptistery opening times
Daily 10.00 - 6.00
Closed Christmas, New Yearĺs Eve and Easter.
Bibliography
Anne Derbes Ritual, Gender & Narrative in Late Medieval Italy
Fina Buzzacarini and the Baptistery of Padua'  2020
A big book, with a long title, concentrating on the influence on the imagery in the baptistery of the religious and civic rituals enacted there and the woman who commissioned the work. Investigating Fina's influence informs the whole book, even the in-depth analysis of the Biblical cycles, as does the perceived feminist agenda in the female-dominance in the themes and figures.
 

 





 

Beato Antonio Pellegrino
Oratory Church of St Anne
Via Beato Pellegrino

 

Ognissanti
via Ognissanti


History
The church and convent were built by Benedictine nuns from Santa Maria di Porciglia whose previous home had been destroyed by war in 1509 . They brought with them the remains of beato Antonio Manzoni called "Pellegrino". The complex was built to the designs of Vincenzo Dotto. Following the Napoleonic suppressions and the expulsion of the Benedictines the complex was used as a barracks and in 1838 made into a hospice, undergoing major restoration in 1943 in a neo-Romanesque style. The church is still part of the Shelter Home for the Elderly (IRA) and is now officiated by the Romanian catholic community.

On the night of the 24th/25th of October 1993 several works of art were stolen from this church. One of them, Christ at the Column, attributed to Palma Giovane, was recovered in June 2014. In September 2017 there was much scaffolding and ongoing building work converting the complex for use by the university.
 


History
Tradition puts a church here as early as the 4th century, but a documented mention of a church built over a necropolis is dated to the 9th March 1147, with monks from a Benedictine Monastery officiating here from 1177. That complex had become seriously dilapidated by the 16th century, but it wasn't until the years 1657-66 that the church was rebuilt to an aisleless Latin cross plan to plans by Vincenzo Scamozzi. In 1671 Cardinal Gregorio Barbarigo found the church completed with five altars, one housing the bodies of the martyr Saints Pauline and Valeria. In 1738 the building  was enlarged towards the facade. With the Napoleonic suppressions the church passed to the parish and the monastery abandoned until it became a girls' boarding school in 1818. The bodies of Blessed Pellegrino and Blessed Ongarello were brought here, but did little to improve the church's popularity. The church was closed to worship is art moved to the Immacolata church. Ognissanti reopened as a parish church on July 5th 1941.

Interior
Contains three altarpieces from the 17th and 18th century and some early frescoes, notably a fragment depicting Christ Pantocrator  to the right of the high altar and a Byzantine-style lunette.

Ruota degli esposti
Inside the doorway to the monastery, to the side of the church, is still to be found a ruota degli esposti, a turntable in the wall for the depositing of unwanted babies, which was still in use in the early 20th century.

Opening times
Just for services, it seems.
 

Eremitani
Piazza Eremitani


this church now has its own page
 

Immacolata
Via Belzoni



History
The Church of St Mary Immaculate was designed by A. Tosini in 1853, being built over the site of an earlier church called Santa Maria Iconia. The first documented mention of this earlier church dates to 1165.
It became a Templar church and with the order's suppression, a parish church for a little while, until 1312 when the Knights of Malta (re?)acquired it until 1807, when it was bought by one Luigi Gaudio who converted it for 'other uses'. It was demolished by 1834. The unusual naming of the Virgin Iconia seems to derive from the word cuneus, meaning a narrow plot of land by two rivers.

Interior

Contains much art from other churches, mostly the nearby Ognissanti, including the Virgin of the Boatmen, a 15th century wooden statue, and works by painter Gaspare Diziani -  Job mocked by his wife, The Killing of Agar, The Expulsion of Eliodoro, Gideon's Miracle, and The Robe of St. Joseph shown to Jacob, Agar and Samuel. Also two paintings by Francesco Maffei (Saint John in Patmos and a Crucifixion from Ognissanti), an Assumption by Santo Peranda, and an altarpiece depicting the Virgin and Saints Mauro and Agnes by Bonifacio de 'Pitati.

Lost art
The earlier church had an Assumption with Apostles by Palma Giovane over the high altar, a Baptism of Christ by Veronese (from San Giovanni alle Navi) over the right hand one, and a Deposition by Pietro Damini on the left.






 

San Benedetto Vecchio
Riviera San Benedetto


History
Built in 1195 by Giordano ForzatÚ for White Benedictines (so called because of their light-coloured cowls). It initially housed men and women but arguments over the management of finances led to the bishop splitting them up in 1259, with the nuns remaining here and the monks moving to San Benedetto Novello, completed in 1262. The convent then flourished. Between 1356 and 1397 the abbess was Orsola Buzzacarini, who took the name Anna when she became a nun. She was the elder sister of Fina Buzzacarini, who was the wife of Francesco I da Carrara (called il Vecchio) and the commissioner of Giusto's frescoes in the Baptistery. Anna embellished the convent much, with donations of altarpieces and the like from her wealthy relatives, including many endowments from Fina - the construction and decoration of the chapel of Saint Louis of Toulouse here being the most celebrated, gifts of rich clothing and fabric the most common, paying for a wall to be built the most prosaic.
Later Caterina Cornaro was educated here, until the age of fourteen.
Much work from 1612, including a realignment and a new fašade, at the behest of abbess Aurora da Camposampiero, probably as a result of the reforms of the Council of Trent. The old Romanesque fašade can still be seen at the west end.

The convent was suppressed by Napoleon in 1810 and converted into a military barracks, the church passing to parish use. Early 20th century restorations, but bombing on 11th March 1944 (the same raid by American bombers, targeting the marshalling yard, which destroyed most of Mantegna's frescoes in the Eremitani) caused much damage and destroyed many works of art, including the Apocalypse cycle by Giusto de'Menabuoi and the chapel of Saint Louis of Toulouse, rebuilt in 1952. There was also post-war restoration of the interior back to Romanesque style.

Giustiniana Wynne is buried here. She being the Venetian-born daughter of an English duke and a writer, famous for her friendships with Casanova and (more scandalously) Andrea Memmo. Her life and affair with the latter being the subject of Andrea Di Robilant's book A Venetian Affair.

Exterior
The 18th-century fašade has two bas reliefs of Saint Benedict, with statues of the patron saints of Padua along the top.

Interior
Big, boxy and dark - there are small clerestory windows on the left only - with plain brick walls and stout pillars dividing the nave from the aisles. Pitched timber roof. Huge well-populated baroque altar at the end of the choir, which is just a continuation of the nave.
In the centre of right hand wall is an altar containing the remains of Giordano ForzatÚ with an altarpiece celebrating him by Alessandro Varotari. A putto in this painting carries a model of the church before the new fašade of the 17th century.
The door in the back wall leads to a chapel frescoed in the 18th century which has a painting of Christ Among the Saints by Domenico Tintoretto, the son. Works by Maganza, Minorello, Balestra, Zanchi and Damini. Various frescoes by the door, including a 13th century Romanesque one of The Deposition.

Lost art
In addition to the Apocalypse cycle by Giusto de'Menabuoi the bombing on 11th March 1944 also destroyed the renaissance terracotta Deposition group in the photo below. Only fragments remain in the Diocesan Museum.



Famous legend
The stick which
Giordano ForzatÚ used to mark out the boundaries of the monastery is said to have miraculously grown into a tree when planted in what became the cloister adjoining the right aisle  of the church. It's fruit was said to cure fevers and it supposedly reacted badly to deaths amongst the nuns and descendents of the founder. After the suppression of the monastery the tree was transplanted to the garden of the Palazzo Capodilista where it still thrives, we are told.


 



 



After the bombing of March 11th 1944

San Benedetto Novello
Riviera San Benedetto

 

San Bonaventura delle Eremite
Via Alberto Cavalletto



History
Monastery built by monks moving from San Benedetto Vecchio in 1262 (see San Benedetto Vecchio entry above).
Consecrated on March 6th 1267. Went into decline in the 15th century. In 1441 Pope Eugene IV gave it to another order, who improved it and in 1442 sold it to the Olivetans who rebuilt the cloisters in 1504 and the church in 1567, to designs by Francesco da Trevigi. The Olivetans thrived, until they were expelled by the Venetian republic in 1797. Suppressed in 1810. Nuns moved back in in the late 19th century, with the church being restored and rededicated in 1894.

Lost  art
Saint Frances of Rome Restores the Sight of a Girl by Palma Giovane is in
Eremitani Civic Museum. As is Saint Bernard Tolomei Helps the Infected by Domenico Maria Canuti, a Bolognese artist. And another one where the same saint helps the demon-afflicted. They are the two surviving panels from a cycle depicting the life of this saint created by the artist for this church between 1663 and 1664.

History
Part of a complex built in the late 17th century. The order of the Virgin Franciscan Hermits in Padua was founded on August 10th 1612 by Sister Graziosa Zechini  and was first located in the Pontecorvo area in three houses donated by Lucia Noventa, a wealthy widow. In 1615 the  first chapel was built there. Noise and harassment, due to their proximity to two taverns, resulted in the order moving here, onto land provided by the patrician Malipiero family, purchased on February 26th 1680 with the approval of the bishop Gregorio Barbarigo. The community moved here on 11th May 1682 , with the church completed later, the first mass being sung on the 19th of March 1688. The complex survived the Napoleonic and Savoy suppressions, with no electricity until 1985.

The church
Baroque facade with four Doric pilasters supporting a pediment unusually containing, we are told, a thermal window. Over the door is a niche containing a statue of St. Bonaventure with the inscription SAN BONAVENTURA / AN. DO. MDCXCIII / ANTONIO ZANINI DETTO MANGRANDA / FECIT DI ANNI XVIII

Campanile Odd in having a belfry of four high arches.

Interior
The seventeenth-century interior is characterized by vertical momentum, we are told. Over the high altar is St. Francis, St. Anthony, St. Bonaventure and St. Peter of Alcantara by Gaspare Diziani . On the side altars, to the right a Holy Family with Saints Zachary and Elizabeth by Pietro Damini, to the left an Immacolata by the circle of Francesco Zanella.

Opening times
Online sources say hardly ever. A sign on the door says 3.30-6.00 every day, but it wasn't open when I passed on evenings in May 2016 and September 2017.
 

San Canziano
Piazza delle Erbe


History
Named for Saints Cantius, Cantianus, and Cantianilla, the martyrs of Aquileia, this church was already standing in 1034 as part of the monastery of Santo Stefano. Damaged by earthquake in 1117 and fire in 1174. This original church with three naves and an apse oriented to the east was rebuilt between 1595 and 1617, thanks to the legacy of Don Cesare Mantova, parish priest for 27 years. The completion of this work saw the presbytery now on the south side and the construction of a new facade overlooking Piazza delle Erbe. The church was finally consecrated on October 24th 1757 by Bishop Alessandro Papafava. Restoration in 1955.

The church
Down the right side details and the rose window of the original facade are visible. The current facade, once attributed to Palladio is now thought to be the work of Vincenzo Dotto and Giambattista della Sala, The niches between the two pairs of Corinthian semi-columns have statues of Purity and Humility by Antonio Bonazza. Above are two 18th century bas-reliefs depicting the trial and martyrdom of the church's name saints. On the attic level are statues of the four Evangelists by Pietro Danieletti. In the middle of the fašade is a weather-damaged fresco of the Immaculate Conception by Guy Louis Vernansal.

Interior
A nave with a pair of aisles, or arguably an aisleless space with two central side chapels each flanked by tapering functional spaces. Contains works from the 17th century: terracotta statues of saints flanking the altar in pairs of niches, by Paduan sculptor Andrea Riccio, including Saints  Anna, Cantianus, Cantianilla (or Agnes) and Jerome. Unstriking paintings include The Procession of Carlo Borromeo by Giovanni Battista Bissoni and Pietro Damini's The Miracle of Saint Anthony and the Miser's Heart, in which the surgeon is a portrait of anatomist and surgeon Girolamo Fabrici d'Acquapendente. The high altarpiece is a Virgin and Saints attributed to Padovanino. These are all mostly not well lit. Under the left hand altar, now dedicated to Saint Rita, is a polychrome terracotta statue of the Dead Christ, another work by Andrea Riccio from 1530. His real name was Andrea Briosco, but he is now known by his nickname Riccio, which means curly.

Lost art
Two polychrome terracotta busts depicting Mary Weeping from a now-fragmentary 1530 Lamentation group by Andrea Riccio are in the Eremetani Civic Museum.

Opening times
Monday to Saturday 7.30-13.30
Sunday 19.15-21.00
 

San Clemente
 Piazza dei Signori


History
A church on this site dates back to the end of the 12th century - a document of 1190 mentions its elevation to a parish church. It underwent much rebuilding in the 16th century when the piazza outside was reorganised, and in the 17th and 18th centuries. It's the burial place of Tiziano Minio, a famous Paduan sculptor.

Fašade
Statues of Saints Giles and John the Baptist from 1696 in the niches, Daniel, Clement and Justina on the tympanum.

Interior
A single nave with a small square apse. Paintings of the 17th and 18th century by Giovanni Battista Bissoni, Pietro Damiani (Jesus Giving the Keys to Saint Peter) Giulio Cirello (Prodigio dell'Acqua di San Clemente) Pietro Malombra (Saint John the Baptist in Glory with Saints Carlo Borromeo and Francis) and Luca Ferrari. The high altar (1782) has an altarpiece of Pope Clement I (Saint Clement) Surrounded by Angels by Luca Ferrari. The Altar of St Anthony erected by the Guild of Grocers (The Fratelea Casolinorum) has a bas relief of Saint John the Baptist holding the tools of their trade.
The  fresco fragment of The Virgin and Child (see right) on rear wall under organ gallery near the entrance is attributed to Jacopo Bellini.
Lost art
A damaged sculpted panel of the Miracalo di Sant'Al˛ by Nicol˛ Baroncelli is in the Eremitani Civic Museum.

Opening times

9.00-1200, 4.00-6.00
supposedly, but I have only found it open once in three years/tries.
 

San Daniele
Via Umberto I



History
A church and monastery were built in 1076. Legend has it that when the body of Saint Daniel, the early Christian martyr and one of Padua's patron saints, was bring translated from the church of Santa Giustina to the Cathedral when they got here the relics became too heavy to carry, with a darkness and thunder and lightning to force home the point, so the bishop built a church here to house them. Not much of this original chapel remains as it was almost completely rebuilt in the 18th century in late-Baroque style by Francesco Muttoni with more work on the fašade and interior, neo-classical this time, in the 19th century. In 1771 the monastery was suppressed and became a private residence, but in 1948 Benedictine monks, exiled from a monastery in the former Yugoslavia, came here.

Fašade
The fašade is by Agostini Rinaldi with statues of local Saints Daniel and  Justina, by Francesco Rizzi, in the niches.

Interior

Hall-like with an organ loft over the entrance. The shape of the apse derives from the romanesque church. The ceiling has 19th century Scenes From the Life of Saint Daniel by Sebastiano Santi. A Nativity altarpiece by Palma Giovane is reported.
The Paduan illuminator Benedetto Bordon (c.1455-1530) is buried here.

Lost art
A 1795 guide to Padua by Pietro Brandolese mentions the first altarpiece on the left as depicting St Charles Ministering to Plague Victims by Giovanni Battista Bissoni, and an altarpiece on the right having a canvas depicting The Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John the Baptist by Francesco Zanella.


 

San Francesco Grande
Via San Francesco


History
Designated as Grande to avoid confusion with the church of San Francesco Piccolo,  a church demolished by the 16th century, this church was built by Baldo Bonafario of Piombino and his wife Sibilla de Catto, along with a convent hospital, for the Franciscans. Work began in 1414 led by builder Nicholas Gobbo. In 1417 the church was built and work continued until mid-century. After the death of Bonafario the work was completed by his wife. This church was a single nave with chapels on the left and was consecrated on October 24th 1430. Due to the growing popularity of the Observant Friars Minori the church and monastery were enlarged at the beginning of the 16th century, under the direction of architect Lorenzo Pardi da Bologna. The chapels on the right were built and and the transept enlarged. The monastery was enlarged too, with a second cloister added. Frescoe lunettes in the style of Squarcione in the loggia on the fašade are very faded but were recently restored.
Baldo and his wife Sibilla were buried here, as were Ferdinando Carlo Gonzaga-Nevers, the last Duke of Mantua, and the painter Francesco Squarcione.
Suppressed in April 1810, becoming a parish church in the same year. In 1862 the floor was re-laid at the expense of many old tombstones. Total restoration in 1873. In 1914 the Franciscans returned to the church and part of the old convent.

Interior
Four side chapels each side of the wide nave with wide aisles, the transept not much deeper than the chapels but the right hand chapels are deeper and the right hand transept arm is marble-fenced off to enclose a  red and white marble baroque extravagance by Giuseppe Sardi, built 1655/70.
A long choir with an arch-shaped fresco of The  Annunciation over the arch (see below right).
The second chapel on the right is impressively frescoed inside (see below) and into the vault and over the arches of the aisle space in front, in 1523 by Girolamo dal Santo.
An Ascension by Paolo Veronese originally to be found in the marble frame in the left transept chapel is now on the entrance wall high over the door (see right). The lower part with the Apostles was added in March 1625 by Pietro Damini after this part of the original was chopped off and stolen. The inscription inserted at the Fathers' request speaks of a 'nefarious theft from the highly wrought painting of the excellent Paolo Veronese' being restored by 'the felicitous pencil of Pietro Damino'. The Twelve Apostles in Prague's Olomouc Gallery is now thought to be the lost lower part. The parts were exhibited together at the Veronese e Padova exhibition in Padua in 2014. But another Assumption, in Dijon, is also a candidate for the top of the Prague painting, which they call Eleven Apostles.






The Scuola della CaritÓ
 

Opposite San Francesco Grande, founded in 1414 for a lay confraternity, also using bequests from Baldo Bonafario and his wife Sibilla. Houses a cycle of 12 fresco panels of episodes from the life of the Virgin made by Dario Varotari in 1579. It's an unusual sequence in that it avoids the usual scenes involving the life of Jesus. The panel in the photo (right) is the rarely-seen Death of Joseph.

Opened by volunteers from Salvalarte, who don't have a website but are a branch of Legambiente.

Scuola Opening times
Thu & Sat 10.00-12.00
Thu-Sat  4.00-6.00*
(*May-October 4.30-6.30)

 


 

San Gaetano
Via Altinate


History
Also known as Santi Simone e Giuda this church was built from 1582 to 1586 by Vincenzo Scamozzi for the Theatines, an order founded by Saint Cajetan of Thiene, on the site of an old church called Saint Francesco Piccolo run by the Umiliati from whom the convent complex had passed when their order was suppressed by the Pope in 1571. Between 1578 and 1581 the Theatines had bought up more property, with the help of Bishop Federico Cornaro and with money from Alvise Cornaro. But the expansion work from 1629 failed to respect Scamozzi's plans, and baroque enrichments carried out at the behest of provost Raffaele Savonarola between 1692 and 1730 did not find universal approval. This work involved marble enrichments, three new altars and mannerist paintings. Suppressed by Napoleon in 1810, part of the monastery became the Palace of Justice in 1844 and the church became a parish church. Restoration in the 19th century. A fire which almost destroyed the monastery in 1929 left the church undamaged. The monastery is now a museum.

Interior
This was the first centrally-planned church built in Padua. Inside it's aisleless tall and octagonal (or maybe square with the corners chopped off) and decorated with the marble panels and stucco typical of the 18th century. Sharp left as you enter, and down some stairs, is the unserene Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre. The small Presbytery and separate choir beyond are all marble and stucco too, but the large sacristy is much plainer and more solemn.

Art highlights
The dome has sixteen radiating trompe l'oeil fresco panels of Paradise by Parisian painter Guy-Louis Vernansal. Paintings include an oddly bright Deposition/Mourning by Varotari.
A subtly mobile statue of the Virgin and Child is a survival from the Umiliati church by the Paduan sculptor Andrea Riccio (1470-1534) (see right). His real name was Andrea Briosco, but his nickname, Riccio, means curly.
Two side chapels the right-hand one has The Transfiguration by Pietro Damini, The Presentation at the Temple of 1610 by Palma Giovane, is in the left-hand one.
There's
San Carlo Borromeo Saving a Child by Pietro Damini and works by Jacopo Bassano, Alessandro Maganza and GB Bissoni. There's an altarpiece by Vernansal too, depicting The Flagellation, in the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre.

Opening times
9.00-12.00, 4.00-6.00
 












 

San Giovanni di Verdara
Via San Giovanni di Verdara


History
The church of a monastery built in the early13th century by Benedictine monks, in an area know for the lushness of  its vegetation, hence the name. In 1431 Pope Eugene IV gave the complex to his nephew Cardinal Antonio Correr , bishop of Ostia, who entrusted it in 1436 to a community of Lateran Canons who undertook a campaign of restoration and enlargement, entrusting the work to Lorenzo da Bologna and Giuliano da Porlezza. From the 15th to the 17th century the canons collected art and books, amassing a library that attracted the likes of Pietro Bembo. The collection of Marco Mantova Benavides, a renowned 16th century humanist, jurist and collector who is buried in the Ermitani, came here in 1711. In 1783 the Venetian Republic abolished the order of the Lateran Canons. The art went to the civic museum and the books to the Marciana Library. The church remained in use with the monastery serving as an orphanage, an Austrian barracks in 1847. The church was last used by Jesuits in 1866, and the complex now houses the Military Department of Forensic Medicine of Padua, the church remaining as a neglected and inaccessible wreck.

People buried in the church: sculptor Andrea Briosco, humanist and writer Lazarus Bonamico, Calfurnio Giovanni, medallist Giovanni da Cavino, painter Luca Ferrari, and Domenico Senno.

Exterior
Has a largely 14th/15th century Gothic facade with a large rose window and later embellishments. On the arch above the main door was a fresco by Giacomo Ceruti of the Virgin with Saints  Joseph and  John, while to the left was the tomb of Andrea Briosco bearing the artist's effigy, dispersed after 1797. To the south are a pair of large cloisters.

Interior
A nave and two aisles.

Lost art
A 1622 Wedding at Cana by Padovanino, now in the Chapter Hall of The Scuola di San Marco in Venice.
On the altar of St. Patrick, the first on the left, was Giambattista Tiepolo's Miracle of Saint Patrick of 1745/6 now at the Eremitani Civic Museum. There they used to call it Saint Paulinus of Aquileia, and there was controversy over whether it depicts the Bishop of Ireland or the latter more local, if obscure, saint. The Lateran Canons' particular devotion to Saint Patrick was cited. Now the caption says it's Saint Patrick Bishop of Ireland. Two works by Pietro Rotari where commissioned at the same time.
Also there from here is a late Supper at Emmaus by Giambattista Piazzetta and a large Crucifixion panel by Stefano dell'Azare.
 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Luca Evangelista
 Via XX Settembre



History
A church dedicated to the Twelve Apostles was built in 1174, replacing an older building which had been demolished to make way for the city walls. This building was itself demolished by order of James I of Carrara in 1320, after which construction of the current church began, consecrated on the 18th of October 1381. In the 17th and 18th century rebuilding altered the original east-west orientation. Suppressed in 1807 by Napoleon, on July 2nd 1815 the church was reopened as part of the new parish of Santa Maria dei Servi. It is currently used by the Greek-catholic community.
The church was the seat of the Confraternita dei Pittori. On May 6th 1655 Bartolomeo Cristofori was baptized here, he being the inventor of the piano.


The church
The building is now oriented north-south, but you can still read the original east-west orientation of the external walls. The simple baroque facade, with two Ionic pilasters on each side, overlooks a fenced area which used to be a cemetery. The facade is topped with statues of the Virgin (at the top) St. Anthony (left) and St. Francis (right). On the wall are two plaques.  One commemorates  the reopening of the church in 1815, the other the baptism here of Bartolomeo Cristofori .

Interior
The below is all what I've read, not what I've seen.
A Greek cross, the only one so shaped remaining in Padua. The side chapels were added in 1834. To the left, there was a painting of Sant'Espedito Martyr, which was stolen in 1997 and now replaced by a photo.
Over the baroque 18th century altar in the chapel on the left is a 14th century fresco of The Virgin and Child, rediscovered during rebuilding in 1778 and restored by Francesco Zanon, and again restored in 1998, previously described as "in the manner of Giotto" and now attributed to Giusto de 'Menabuoi. Worryingly it is reported that the figures were crowned with silver tiaras donated in 1995.

Further along on the left is a Pieta attributed to Bartolomeo Montagna. In the north transept is a 17th century painting of the Veronese school showing depicting Saint Benedict Handing his Monastic Rule to Saint Augustine.

The marble high marble altar, decorated with semiprecious stones, is by Francesco Corbarelli and dates to 1667-68. The decoration and art here is all 17th century. The high altarpiece by Pietro Damini San Luca of The Virgin and the Patron Saints of Padua in which the Torlonga is also depicted.

San Michele
Oratory
Piazzetta San Michele


History
The original church here may date back to the 6th or 7th century, being dedicated to the Archangels. Or it could be later as the first documented mention dates to 970. The Carrara lords helped in its rebuilding after a fire in 1390, which was caused by fighting between Francesco Novello's Paduans and Milanese soldiers, sent by the Visconti, who had besieged the nearby castle. This work, which involved expansion and painted decoration, was finished in 1397. In 1497 it passed to the congregation of Santo Spirito in Venice, in whose hands it remained until suppressed by the Pope Alexander VII in 1656. The Venetian Republic sold of its assets to pay for its war against the Ottoman Empire. After becoming the property of the Patriarch of Aquila the church went through the hands of various Venetian families in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1792 much of the contents and art were removed, in 1808 it ceased to be the parish church and in 1812 it was closed. In 1815 Francesco Pisani, who lived in the palazzo next door, decided to demolish the church. All that was left was part of the nave and the chapel dedicated to the Virgin, which took on its present name at this time.
Andrea Palladio was baptised in this church in 1508.

Interior
The current small space, once the chapel mentioned above, is full of vivid frescoes by Jacopo da Verona, a pupil of Altichiero. They were painted in 1397 and depict the Life of the Virgin, having been commissioned by Pietro de' Bovi, an official of the Ferrarasi mint.

Opposite the entrance, above the arch into the nave of the church, is a three-panelled Annunciation. Below is Saint Michael, weighing the souls of the dead, and The Banishment of Adam and Eve, possibly a 16th century addition.
On the left wall are a Nativity and The Adoration of the Magi, the latter containing portraits of the Carrara lords Francesco il Vecchio, Francesco Novello and Francesco III as the first, second and third magi. Higher up to the right the Torlonga is depicted, it being one of the towers of the old castle before its 18th century transformation into an observatory.
The right wall has The Funeral of the Virgin and The Pentecost (see right), the former panel containing portraits of the commissioners of the frescoes, to the right dressed in dark robes. The wall of the current entrance has a very damaged Ascension. Under the arch, into what's left of the church, are The Doctors of the Church and The Four Evangelists. Some of the 16th century frescoes which decorated the nave remain, including a Deposition and a St Paul, attributed to Stefan dell'Azare and Domenico Campagnola respectively. When I visited in May 2016 this area was being restored, or maybe rebuilt.

Lost art
A large damaged fresco fragment of the Virgin of Humility with Saints James and Anthony Abbot probably by Cennino Cennini from around 1398/1400, now in the Eremitani Civic Museum, is said to have come from the vicinity of this oratory.

Opening hours
Tuesday-Friday 10:00 - 13:00
Saturday and Sunday 16:00 - 19:00 June to September
15: 00-18: 00 October to May

Entry: full price Ç3.00, reductions Ç2.50
Run by the  the Torlonga association who also run the Specola Museum over the river.
 



 


 

San Nicol˛
Via San Nicol˛


History
Original church built 1090 by Bishop Milo. The oldest parts of the current church are the door and the columns near it, from the 14th century rebuilding. The rest is much later, 17th and 18th century, but retains an ancient feel. This may be because the church underwent much restoration in the 1960s/70s laudably aiming to restore it to it's pre-baroque state.

Exterior
The area in front of the church was a cemetery before Napoleon. The asymmetry of the interior is reflected in the facade view, with the ForzatŔ chapel poking out to the right of the campanile. Over the 15th century doorway is a sculpted figure of Saint Nicholas, with God above and an Annunciation to the sides.

Interior
Has Padua's common alternating columns-and-pillars thing separating the nave from a narrow aisle on the left and an aisle and three connected deep chapels on right.
A large and Giottoish 14th-century fresco fragment dominates the beginning of the left aisle depicting The Crucifixion with scenes from The Life of John the Baptist above (see below right). These are by Gerardino da Reggio and commissioned in 1374 by Marcus ForzatŔ, whose family chapel is opposite. There is a very damaged frescoed vault above with four roundels probably of the Four Evangelists.
The decorated ceiling in the shallow chapel to the left of the choir depicts Saint Liberalis and is said to be by Jacopo da Montagnana (Jacopo Parisato) a pupil of Mantegna. The high altar was converted from the old Baroque altar table. The choir semi-dome is frescoed and there's an Annunciation frescoed over the right-hand chapel.
Of the right hand chapels the furthest, the organ chapel,  has Il Compiano by Varotari.

The middle, confession, chapel has a very nice Virgin and Child with Saints Francesca Romana and Eurosia of 1777 by Giandomenico Tiepolo (the son) (see photo right) formerly in the church of Sant'Agnese. Before the 1960s renovations this painting was over the high altar.

The first chapel, the baptistery, has a triptych of Virgin and Child with Saints James and Leonard described as 'school of Bellini'. It sits on the rosso Verona marble monument to Giordano and Marco ForzatŔ. The former was a Benedictine and a monastic reformer as well as coming from one of the dominant local feudal families. That the family later intermarried with the Carrara possibly helps explain
Giordano's later becoming know as beato. He is buried in San Benedetto Vecchio.
On the church's back wall, to the left of the door, is Saint Agnes in Glory recently restored.
An exceptional polychromed terracotta statue of the Virgin and Child Enthroned, c. 1468ľ70, by Giovanni de Fondulis.


Campanile
Restored in the 19th century.

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

San Pietro Apostolo
Via San Pietro


History
A church was known to have existed here in the 4th century, a rebuilding of 1026 followed destruction by Hun invaders around 900, and saw it passing to Benedictine nuns. Enlarged in the 14th century, substantial work in the 18th century and heavy restoration in the 19th and 20th centuries. Following the Napoleonic suppressions of 1809 the nuns remained for a few years and monks from San Prosdocimo came here too, bringing with them the body of Saint Eustochium, which is still here.

Interior

Has the appearance of being aisleless but the aisles are behind a wall on the left and doors on the right. The nave has two pairs of shallow plain side altars. The deep choir is a riot of dark but well-illuminated fresco decoration. The longer and higher enclosed left- hand aisle is dedicated to Saint Eustochium and has her remains and a fresco-decorated ceiling. The right-hand aisle has two spaces that are more like chapels.

Art highlights
A painted altarpiece by Varotari (or Campagnola) of The Giving of the Keys, which is over the high altar, and Palma Giovane's The Fall of Saint Paul (see below left) which is over the second altar on the left.
A polychromed terracotta relief, with a painted background, depicting The Lamentation, c.1480ľ90, by the circle of Bartolomeo Bellano, a Paduan student of Donatello.


Lost art
The rather fine late-15th-century San Pietro Polyptych by Francesco di Franceschi is now in the Eremitani Civic Museum - all twelve panels, but without the original frame.
The (unusually round) floor tomb stone of Antonio and Catharina Maggi da Bassano (see below right), a celebrated jurist and his wife, from this church, possibly installed in front of the high altar, is now in the V&A in London. It was made in 1520 by Vincenzo and Gian Matteo Grandi. The square space in the middle may once have contained an engraved brass panel.
In January 2021 Laura Jacobus (who wrote the book on the Scrovegni Chapel) gave an online lecture for Birkbeck College in London on the little Giusto de' Menabuoi Coronation of the Virgin triptych in the National Gallery. In it she put forward the theory that the work was made for a young woman entering a convent, specifically the Benedictine convent here, and further that she could have been a younger daughter of the Scrovegni family, who had connections here and with the nearby San Nicol˛ complex. She admitted that the theory is speculative, to say the least, but it is tempting too.

Opening times
9.00-12.00 Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
 

San Prosdocimo
Via San Prosdocimo

 

San Tomaso Becket
Via San Tomaso


History
A church with medieval origins and named for Saint Prosdocimus, the first bishop of Padua from the 4th century. Also known as the Duomo dei Militari, formerly the church of a monastery of  Benedictine nuns, following Napoleonic suppression it was used as an army bakery and warehouse. Following restoration work it became a parish church for the military. After the earthquake of the 3rd of June 2012 the church was declared unsafe and closed, but following restoration work it was officially reopened on November 5th 2019 - the fašade now looking much better than it did when I took the photo in 2017.
 


History
Baroque, built in the 17th century on the site of earlier churches. Until 1890 it was run by the secular priests of San Filippo Neri.

Interior
Inside are said to be works by A. Bonazza, Bonaccorsi, Ferrari, Pellizzari, Francesco Maffei and a Crucifix attributed to Donatello. The ceiling has fifteen canvases from the 17th and 18th centuries depicting the Mysteries of the Rosary.
The church also has a collection of more than a thousand relics, including the heart of Filippo Neri and a portrait of him which sweated twenty-seven times in 1632.
The sacristy houses the Pinacoteca of the same name, founded in 1966, which has medieval frescoes, fabrics, liturgical furnishings, manuscripts, archaeological items, goldsmiths work and paintings, including a Virgin Enthroned by Antonio Vivarini.
The church features in the Italian TV series Don Matteo, about a crime-solving priest from Gubbio, that has run to 12 seasons.

Opening times
At the whim of the parish
 

Sant'Alberto Magno
Via Guglielmo Marconi

   

 



Sant'Agnese
via Dante


History
A church is said to been here in the 12th century. First documented in 1202 as a parish church. This 13th century structure underwent restoration and expansion from the early 16th century, retaining its single-nave interior. After Napoleon the church lost its parish status and was later passed to the missionary Fathers of the Sacred Heart who lived here until 1939. It fell out of use during the Second World War and on October 7, 1948 was deconsecrated. It's art was moved to San Nicol˛ and the Episcopal Palace and the building was sold and later made into a garage, which it remained until the late 1990s. A portico was removed in the 20th century. Now abandoned and falling down, it was sold in 2011 to be converted to flats, but not much progress has been made, the scaffolding and graffiti visible in the photo having been there now for several years.
The facade with renaissance doorway by Giovanni Maria Mosca  - oriented to the east - was probably covered in fresco in the 16th century.

Interior The interior has been gutted.

Campanile A Romanesque bell tower of the 13th century.

Lost art
Paintings by Francesco Minorello, a pupil of Luca Ferrari, depicting the life of Saint Agnes (St Agnes refusing Gifts and the Martyrdom of Sant'Agnese at the Gallows) are now in the Episcopal Palace.
Over other altars were works by Giulio Cirello, another pupil of Ferrari - St Agnes Urged to Marry the Son of the Prophet (aka St Agnes Beaten by the Roman Prefect) (see left) and St Martha as a Nun Sprays Holy Water on a Dragon. The former, at least, is also in the Episcopal Palace, and was restored in 2000.

An altarpiece of 1777 by Giandomenico Tiepolo of the Virgin and Child with Saints Francesca Romana and Eurosia, formerly on the first altar on the right, is now in San Niccol˛.
 
Sant'Andrea
Via Sant'Andrea

History
Dedicated to Saint Andrew the Apostle, the original church here was built before 1130 and in 1640 was completely rebuilt. In 1875 the single nave was transformed into a nave and aisles separated by Corinthian columns, with decoration reflecting contemporary taste. The work was finished in 1884 and the 'unfashionable' art previously in the church was dispersed. Some restoration in the 1920s, the church was consecrated on October 17th 1941. Paduan Arrigo Boito, writer of libretti for Verdi and lover of Eleonora Duse, was baptized here on 19 March 1842. The building was damaged by the earthquake of the 3rd of June 2012.

Interior
The ceiling is decorated with paintings by Antonio Grinzato, but before the  19th century interventions showed The Apotheosis of St. Andrew by Giambattista Mengardi . The apse has an altar taken from the demolished church of San Marco which has three marble panels - The Sacrifice of Isaac, The Supper at Emmaus and The Paschal Lamb - by Francesco Bonazza. An altarpiece depicting the Virgin and Child with Saint Andrew by Giovan Pietro Possenti. In the aisles and over the side altars are works from various sources and periods, including Saint Francis Xavier by Natale Plache, from the Gesuiti church demolished in the late 18th century and a Saint Martin in Glory of the 17th century, once the high altarpiece of the church of San Martino.

Lost art
An early-16th- century altarpiece depicting The Trinity with Saints James and Jerome by Girolamo di Santacroce (see right) has been in the Eremetani Civic Museum since 1894.

The Cat of Saint Andrew
In front of the church is the famous Cat of Saint Andrew (see photo from 1918  far right) which traditionally is said to mark the highest point of the city. It's a rough stone lion taken as a war trophy from the fortress of Este in 1209 by local residents. When the lion was returned at the end of the conflict a  copy was made. After being knocked down several times in recent years (the most recent in 2013, when a van hit it) it was finally reassembled by Paduan sculptor Antonio Pennello.



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