Cannaregio     Castello     Dorsoduro     San Marco     San Polo     Santa Croce     Giudecca   
 The Islands     The List     The Lost Churches     The Scuole
The Veneto: Padua and Verona              
Emilia-Romagna: Bologna and Ferrara


Some books and people have proven invaluable, they are...

Guide books

Giulio Lorenzetti
Venice and its Lagoon
Translated by John Guthrie
The original, the bible. It remains the reliable source and the go-to guide for all subsequent guide book writers.  Not easily found online, but usually to be found on the shelves of bookshops in Venice.

John Freely
Strolling through Venice

Tauris Parke 2008
Describes itself as 'the definitive walking guidebook' to Venice, and that's no idle boast. Also the only guide book that covers almost all of Venice's churches. The 2008 edition is a straight reprint of the Penguin edition of 1994. This was disappointing, I admit, but also handily reinforces the need for this here web-site. Although you might argue that the many hundreds of years before 1994 are more important than the fourteen since, and you'd have a point.

Antonio Manno
The Treasures of Venice

White Star Publishers 2004
It's plush and gorgeous and illustrated in full-colour throughout. It's also really a bit too heavy to carry around with you, but I have done so on a fair few trips now, because it's just so comprehensive and knowledgeable. I also like the way it occasionally eccentrically tells you a little too much about churches that don't really deserve such in-depth treatment. The standard of the translation is a bit erratic though, this being a book originally written in Italian. Published by Rizzoli in the US.


Time Out Venice
Rough Guide to Venice
The best of the 'ordinary' guides for reliability, opening times, and some quirky facts. It also - very wisely - recommends this website!

Ronald Shaw-Kennedy
Art & Architecture in Venice
Sidgwick & Jackson 1972
Old, but handy for facts about church contents. I also bought, on a whim and online, another book by the same author called Venice Rediscovered which is six-years newer. But it turns out to be exactly the same book, unrevised, only in a much larger format.

Architectural guides

Edwina Biucchi and Simon Pilling
Venice - an architectural guide

Batsford 2002
A stylish but comprehensive and accessible guide to Venice's most important buildings.
Arranged by sestiere and including modern buildings.

Antonio Salvadori
Venice - a guide to the principal buildings
Canal & Stamperia Editrice 1995

Covering all the buildings of Venice in terse paragraphs and with small black and white photos and stylish drawings. A pretty much essential guide to the fabric of Venice explaining, for example, the different patterns of the stone steps down into the water.

Alessandra Boccato
Churches of Venice

Arsenale Editrice 2001
Imperfectly translated (sometimes humourously so) and only dealing with the major churches, but still the only book of its kind - a recent guide to churches only. I have a stiff-backed edition, but this has now been replaced by a paperback edition with more and better photographs (right) and available in Italian and English. I've only ever seen it in bookshops in Venice.

Churches of Venice - The museum in the city
Marsilio/Chorus 2002
The guidebook to the churches that are run by the Chorus association and available from the cash desks inside these churches. Plushly produced and quite detailed, but pretty dry. Also the English translation is not good, often bordering on the incomprehensible.


Alvise Zorzi Venezia Scomparsa Oscar Mondadori 2001
Not available in English, but an invaluable book about Lost Venice. It lists and describes all of the demolished churches. Some nice old photos and prints too.


Tudy Sammartini and Daniele Resini
Venice from the Bell Towers
Bought for the spectacular photos taken from the towers, this it also has a bit of history for each church in the main sequence, and for many others at the end. There's a concentration on the campanili, of course, and some of the info and dates are, well, wrong, but there's still some useful stuff, from primary Italian sources by the look of it.

Peter Humfrey The Altarpiece in Renaissance Venice 1993
I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to find and read this. Maybe the fact that it'll now set you back around £90 second-hand. It tells you everything that you didn't know you didn't know about, for example, who commissioned the altarpieces, why, and which churches they chose, and why. And that's only in the first few chapters. Plans, charts, details of lost's truly a treasure trove.



Sheila Hale Titian - his life and the Golden Age of Venice
Made me change a lot of my 'facts' about Titian on this site, and covers much
fascinating background about his friends, patrons, times and finances. A stray fact that
made me frown is regarding the famous Habsburg tendency to inbreeding and pointy chins. It seems that Philip IIís son Carlos only had four great-grandparents, where the rest of us have eight.



Cynthia Saltzman - Napoleonís Plunder and the Theft of Veroneseís Feast
A subject touched on much on these pages, but not until 2021 did a book come along and add much to our knowledge and understanding of Napoleon's looting of Italy's art collections and churches. Stronger on the history than the art, but plenty of detail on the personalities and politicking and attitudes that lead to, and tried to prevent, the plunder and the damage suffered. The detailed reports of how these works were removed and treated will leave you shaken, I warn you. I didn't realise that the Bellini altarpiece in San Zaccaria had to be removed by knocking down an area of the wall of the church behind its stone framing and dragging the panel through it. All but one of the 16 pictures on the French commissioners' original list of the works they had chosen were encased in their original architectural frames, in fact. Of the eighteen pictures the French stole from Venice fifteen were returned.

Alessandro Gaggiato
Le Chiese Esistenti
a Venezia e nelle isole della Laguna volte ad altro uso o chiuse
Le Chiese Distrutte
a Venezia e nelle Isole della Laguna

On my visit to Venice in April 2023 I was surprised to spot in a shop window a pair of surprising new books on the churches of Venice, one volume on the destroyed, the other on the undestroyed. They are in Italian but look to be impressive, weighty and detailed reference books, rightly describing themselves as catalogues. And handsome too.

With thanks to...

Anne Atwell
Brigitte Eckert
Deborah Howard
Michelle Lovric

Robert Yates
Albert Hickson
Lucio Sponza
Bob Gellatly
John Flint
David Orme
Jonathan Buckley

 Terry Hunefeld
Robert from Prague


Cannaregio :: Castello :: Dorsoduro :: Giudecca :: San Marco :: San Polo :: Santa Croce :: The Islands :: Demolished