Places of worship and museums of sacred art treasures
In Venice there are more than 100 churches scattered throughout the island and they all have an enormous architectural and artistic value, to the point that they can be considered art museums, full of extraordinary treasures, sculptures, marble and paintings. All of them should be visited for their originality, however we recommend our 10 favorite.
- The first one we suggest you visit can only be the cathedral of Venice, the Basilica di San Marco. Prior to entering the cathedral let yourself be amazed by its form and details of its facade which is rich in mosaics, steeples and marble. Then, once inside, you’ll be struck by a huge patch of gold, the mosaic tiles, the sculptures and the pillars. Don’t miss out on a visit to the lodge where horses are kept, to the museum and the Pala d’Oro treasure. It’s open from November to March from 9.45 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Sundays and public holidays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m and during the remaining months from 9.45 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Sundays and public holidays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m..
- The Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato, in Murano, is the finest example of the lagoon’s Romanesque style. If the exterior is surprising in its simplicity, the interior will astound you with its beautiful mosaic floor and its golden mosaic apse depicting the Madonna praying. Open from Monday to Saturday from 7.45 a.m. to 12 a.m. and from 3.45 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 3.45 a.m. to 7 p.m..
- Also worth seeing is the Santa Fosca a Torcello which preserves the remains of the virgin. It is open to the public from Monday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m..
- Another church worth visiting for its originality is San Nicolò dei Mendicoli. Its ceiling is in the form of an overturned ship’s hull, and the gilded wooden statues and paintings belong to the Veronese school. It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m..
- Another monument worth visiting is the Chiesa dei Miracoli, with its polychrome marble, the internal steps and a painting of the Virgin with child to which the city turns to for miracles and graces. It was dedicated to the Virgin in the fifteenth century. Open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m..
- A must see is a visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.) which houses many treasures such as the wooden choir, the Assunta by Tiziano, Canova’s funeral monument and a monument of Tiziano.
- The church of San Giacometo, in Rialto, is considered to be the oldest in Venice. The external structure is quite impressive, particularly its steps and beautiful arcade (the church is not accessible on weekdays at 5 p.m. and on Sundays and public holidays at 10 a.m.).
- Another must see is San Pietro di Castello (open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). It was a bishopric dependent, for 700 years, from the Patriarchate of Grado and later became the patriarchal cathedral until 1807. The whiteness of the building and bell tower, which are made of Istria stone, is striking as it gives the impression of breaking the blue sky. Among its most prominent works of art is the large wooden and embossed copper cross.
- The Madonna della Salute is one of the most loved monuments by Venetians and, even today, it is the object of pilgrimage. Its elegant architecture is imposing and majestic as can be seen by the steps on which it stands. The Madonna della Salute is a vow to the Madonna for having freed Venice, in 1630, of the plague. The opening hours are daily from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m..
- The Santi Giovanni e Paolo temple, in the homonymous campo, is where they buried many Doges and it is for this reason that it is called the “Pantheon of the Doges.” Here an urn is preserved containing the skin of the Venetian hero Marcantonio Bragadin and also buried here, in a chapel, are the mortal remains of Sebastiano Venier (commander at the Battle of Lepanto). It is open to the public Monday to Saturday from 7.30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Sundays from 12 noon to 7:30 pm..