SAN ZACCARIA CHURCH, VENICE

San Zaccaria is a church in Venice, northern Italy, dedicated to Saint Zechariah, although his cult is often superimposed with that of the father of John the Baptist, whose body it conserves, under the second altar on the right. It is a large edifice, located in the quiet Campo San Zaccaria, just off the waterfront to the south east of St. Mark's basilica. The present church was built between 1458 and 1515. Antonio Gambello was the original architect, who started the building in the Gothic style, but the upper part of the facade with its arched windows and its columns, and the upper parts of the interior were completed by Mauro Codussi in early Renaissance style seventy years later. The facade is a harmonious Venetian mixture of late-Gothic and Renaissance styles.

The first church on the site was founded by Doge Giustiniano Participazio in the 9th century and eight doges are buried in the crypt. The original church was rebuilt in the 1170s (when the present campanile was built) and was replaced by a Gothic church in the 15th century. The remains of this building still stand, as the present church was built beside and not over it. The church was attached to a female Benedictine monastery, which was visited by the doge and the whole signoria annually at Easter in a ceremony which included presentation of the cornu (ducal cap), insignia of his dignity. This tradition is said to have begun after the monks donated land for the building of the St Mark's Basilica in the 12th century and ended in 1797 at the end of the republic.

The nuns of this monastery mostly came from prominent noble families and had a rebellious reputation. The abbess was usually related to the doge. The interior of the church has an apse surrounded by an ambulatory lit by tall Gothic windows, a typical feature of Northern European church architecture which is unique in Venice. Nearly every wall is covered with paintings by 17th and 18th century artists. The church houses one of the most famous work by Giovanni Bellini, the San Zaccaria Altarpiece. The walls of the aisles and of the chapels host paintings by other artists including Andrea del Castagno, Palma Vecchio, Tintoretto, Giuseppe Porta, Palma il Giovane, Antonio Vassilacchi, Anthony van Dyck, Andrea Celesti, Antonio Zanchi, Antonio Balestra, Angelo Trevisani and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo. The artist Alessandro Vittoria is buried in the church, his tomb marked by a self-portrait bust. The church was particularly famous for his collection of relics, among which are those of Athanasius of Alexandria and a piece of the True Cross.

Venice,, Castello,

OSPEDALE DELLA PIETA, VENICE

The Ospedale della Pietà was a convent, orphanage, and music school in Venice. Like other Venetian ospedali, the Pietà was established (in a location remote from the Riva degli Schiavoni) as a hotel for Crusaders. As the Crusades abated, it changed by degrees into a charitable institution for orphans and abandoned girls. Infants could be left at the Pietà via the scaffetta, a window only large enough to admit infants. Not all infants were female, nor were they necessarily orphans. Through the seventeenth century all four of the surviving ospedali gained increasing attention through the performances of sacred music by their figlie di coro. Formal rules for the training of figlie were carefully drafted and periodically revised. Many of these concerts were given for select audiences consisting of important visitors. As the institution became celebrated, it sometimes received infants related (not always legitimately) to members of the nobility. In the later decades of the Venetian Republic, which collapsed in 1797, it also accepted adolescent music students whose fees were paid by sponsoring foreign courts or dignitaries.

The Pietà produced many virtuose and at least two composers-- Anna Bon and Vincenta Da Ponte. The life of successful figlie was much coveted. Some were given lavish gifts by admirers, and many were offered periods of vacation in villas on the Italian mainland. Most remained their entire lives, though as the Venetian economy declined in the eighteenth century, some left to make (usually advantageous) marriages. In this instance, the institution provided a future bride with a small dowry. Each Hospital had an orchestra of at least thirty to forty elements, all females (La Pietà's orchestra counted up to sixty) and competed with each other by hiring the best musicians in the city, promoting high quality concerts, and through such activities provided countless commissions for violin and other instruments makers to provide for the maintenance and repair of such instruments. These artisans were named "liuter del loco".

The office of "liuter del loco" guaranteed a constant flow of income: curating the instruments of an entire orchestra was a burdensome activity which required the work of more than one person; instruments had to be picked up, continuously repaired because of breakage and ungluing from use, and sometimes instruments had to be built. The responsible violin maker also had to supply strings for the entire orchestra, keep an accounting book detailing all operations, and issue semi-annual or annual invoices. These invoices, or ‘policies’ as they were called at the time, were handwritten by the appointed violin maker and had to be approved by the "maestre del coro" or the maestro di cappella – who would usually be granted a discount – before being paid by the hospital administration. These ‘policies’ are not only a precious source of information for the study of an author (luthier) and his work, but they are also a valid tool to gather more information on the musical practice of the "sonadori" (players) of the time. There is also much information that can be gleaned from their organological study.

The composer Antonio Vivaldi was appointed a violin teacher in 1703 and served in various roles through 1715, and again from 1723 to 1740. Much of Vivaldi's sacred vocal and instrumental music was written for performance at the Pietà. The conservatory of the Pietà hospital was the only hospital to remain active until approximately 1830. All the other hospitals completely closed their musical activity during the first years of the nineteenth century. From an instrument inventoryPio Stefano book dated 1790 we learn that during that year the Pietà hospital had still “four violins with used bows, four cellos, seventeen violins, two marine trumpets, six small violas, two viola d’amore, two mandolines, two lutes, one theorbo, four hunting horns with accessories, two psalteries with harmonic box, two cymbals, three flutes, two big cymbals with spinets, six spinets. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's account of 1770 conveys his impressions but has been over-generalized as a description of the institution over an entire century. After describing how the performers were hidden behind metal grilles, he related in his Confessions (1770): I have not an idea of anything so voluptuous and affecting as this music; the richness of the art, the exquisite taste of the vocal part, the excellence of the voices, the justness of the execution, everything in these delightful concerts concurs to produce an impression which certainly is not the mode, but from which I am of opinion no heart is secure. He goes on to the musicians.

The original building (shown above) is currently a hotel-restaurant complex (the Metropole). The nearby church of the Pietà was completed in 1761, two decades after the death of Antonio Vivaldi. The facade of the church was only completed in the early 20th century. An early childhood education center is still housed in the rear of the building complex behind the church. Most of this complex was donated to the Ospedale in the 1720s, enabling it to expand its activities. Some of Vivaldi's premiere pupils, such as Anna Maria del Violino, were given individual rooms in these newly acquired buildings. It is possible that in the salon of one of them the famous concert for "i conti del Nord", celebrated in Guardi's painting link, took place on January 22, 1782. (Guardi's painting is mistitled is "The Dinner and Ball in the Teatro San Benedetto").

Composers who held posts at the Ospedale della Pietà

  • Andrea Bernasconi
  • Bonaventura Furlanetto
  • Francesco Gasparini
  • Alvise Grani
  • Antonio Gualtieri
  • Gaetano Latilla
  • Antonio Martinelli
  • Fulgenso Perotti
  • Giovanni Porta
  • Johann Rosenmüller
  • Giuseppe Sarti
  • Giacomo Filippo Spada
  • Antonio Vandini
  • Antonio Vivaldi

Venice,, Castello,

SAN GIROGIO DEI GRECI CHURCH, VENICE

San Giorgio dei Greci is a church in the sestiere (neighborhood) of Castello, Venice, northern Italy. It was the center of the Scuola dei Greci, the Confraternity of the Greeks in Venice. For centuries, despite the close ties of Venice to the Byzantine world, the Greek Orthodox rite was not permitted in Venice. In 1498, the Greek community gained the right to found the Scuola de San Nicolò dei Greci, a confraternity which aided members of that community. In 1539, after protracted negotiations, the papacy allowed the construction of the church of San Giorgio, financed by a tax on all ships from the Orthodox world. Construction was started by Sante Lombardo, and from 1548, by Giannantonio Chiona. The belltower was built in 1592. The interior has a monument to Gabriele Seviros (1619) by Baldassarre Longhena. The dome of the church was frescoed with the Last Judgement (1589–93) by Giovanni Kyprios. The iconostasis employed Kyprios, Tommaso Bathas, Benedetto Emporios, and Michael Damaskinos. Emanuele Tzane-Buniales, a priest and hagiographer from Crete, frescoed the Saints Simeon and Alypios, ascetic hermits, atop the pilasters. Near the church lies the Flanginian School, a Greek teachers' school, which today houses the Hellenic Institute for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice.

Venice,, Castello,

SANTA MARIA FORMOSA CHURCH, VENICE

Santa Maria Formosa is a church in Venice, northern Italy. It was erected in 1492 under the design by Renaissance architect Mauro Codussi. It lies on the site of a former church dating from the 7th century, which, according to tradition, was one of the eight founded by San Magno, bishop of Oderzo. The name "formosa" relates to an alleged appearance of the Holy Virgin disguised as a voluptuous woman.

Exterior design and artworks

The plan is on the Latin cross, with a nave and two aisles. The two façades were commissioned in 1542, the Renaissance-style one facing the channel, and 1604, the Baroque one facing the nearby square. The artworks in the interior include the St. Barbara polyptych by Palma the Elder, one of his most celebrated works. The Conception Chapel houses a triptych of Madonna of Misericordia by Bartolomeo Vivarini (1473), while in the Oratory is the Madonna with Child and St. Dominic by Giambattista Tiepolo (18th century). There is also a Last Supper by Leandro Bassano. The dome of the church was rebuilt in after falling during an earthquake in 1688.

Venice,, Castello,

BASILICA DI SAN GIOVANNI E PAOLO, VENICE

The Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, known in the Venetian dialect as San Zanipolo, is a church in Venice, northern Italy. One of the largest churches in the city, it has the status of a minor basilica. After the 15th century the funeral services of all of Venice's doges were held here, and twenty-five doges are buried in the church.

Description

A huge brick edifice built in the Italian Gothic style, it is the principal Dominican church of Venice, and as such was built for preaching to large congregations. It is dedicated to John and Paul, not the Biblical Apostles of the same names, but two obscure martyrs of the Early Christian church in Rome, whose names were recorded in the 3rd century but whose legend is of a later date. In 1246, Doge Jacopo Tiepolo donated some swampland to the Dominicans after dreaming of a flock of white doves flying over it. The first church was demolished in 1333, when the current church was begun. It was not completed until 1430. The vast interior contains many funerary monuments and paintings, as well as the Madonna della Pace, a miraculous Byzantine statue situated in its own chapel in the south aisle, and a foot of St Catherine of Siena, the church's chief relic. San Giovanni e Paolo is a parish church of the Vicariate of San Marco-Castello. Other churches of the parish are San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti, the Ospedaletto and the Beata Vergine Addolorata. The Renaissance Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni (1483), by Andrea del Verrocchio, is located next to the church. The belltower has 3 bells in D major.

Notable artists

  • Giovanni Bellini (SS Vincent Ferrer, Christopher and Sebastian in the south aisle)
  • Bartolomeo Bon (the great west doorway)
  • Cima da Conegliano or Giovanni Martini da Udine (Coronation of the Virgin in the south transept)
  • Piero di Niccolò Lamberti and Giovanni di Martino (tomb of Doge Tommaso Mocenigo in the north aisle)
  • Gregorio Lazzarini (sala S. Tommaso)
  • Pietro Lombardo (tombs of Doge Pietro Mocenigo on the west wall and Doges Pasquale Malipiero and Nicolo Marcello in the north aisle; tomb of Alvise Diedo in the south aisle)
  • Tullio Lombardo ( and Alessandro Leopardo?) (tomb of Doge Andrea Vendramin on the north wall of the choir)
  • Lorenzo Lotto (St Antonine in the south transept)
  • Rocco Marconi (Christ between SS Peter and Andrew in the south transept)
  • Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (St Dominic in Glory on the ceiling of the Capella di San Domenico)
  • Alvise Tagliapietra, reliefs in the Chapel of the Rosary
  • Veronese (The Assumption, The Annunciation and The Adoration of the Magi on the ceiling of the Capella del Rosario; The Adoration of the Shepherds in the Capella del Rosario). The famous The Feast in the House of Levi, painted for the refectory, is now in the Accademia Gallery.
  • Alessandro Vittoria (St Jerome in the north aisle)
  • Alvise Vivarini (Christ carrying the Cross in the sacristy)
  • Bartolomeo Vivarini (Three Saints in the north aisle)
  • The Capella del Rosario (Chapel of the Rosary), built in 1582 to commemorate the victory of Lepanto, contained paintings by Tintoretto, Palma the Younger, Titian and Giovanni Bellini, among others, but they were destroyed in a fire in 1867 attributed to anti-Catholic arsonists.

Funerary monuments
After the 15th century the funeral services of all of Venice's doges were held in San Giovanni e Paolo. Twenty-five doges are buried in the church, including:

  • Jacopo Tiepolo (d. 1249)
  • Reniero Zeno (d. 1268)
  • Lorenzo Tiepolo (d. 1275)
  • Giovanni Dolfin (d. 1361)
  • Marco Cornaro (d. 1368)
  • Michele Morosini (d. 1382)
  • Antonio Venier (d. 1400)
  • Michele Steno (d. 1413)
  • Tommaso Mocenigo (d. 1423)
  • Pasquale Malipiero (d. 1462)
  • Nicolo Marcello (d. 1474)
  • Pietro Mocenigo (d. 1476)
  • Andrea Vendramin (d. 1478)
  • Giovanni Mocenigo (d. 1485)
  • Leonardo Loredan (d. 1521)
  • Alvise I Mocenigo (d. 1577)
  • Sebastiano Venier (d. 1578)
  • Bertucci Valiero (d. 1658)
  • Silvestro Valiero (d. 1700)
  • Other people buried in the church include:
  • Orazio Baglioni (d. 1617), general
  • Gentile Bellini (d. 1507), artist
  • Giovanni Bellini (d. 1516), artist
  • Gianbattista Bonzi (d. 1508), senator
  • Bartolomeo Bragadin (poet)
  • Marco Antonio Bragadin (d.1571), general, flayed alive by the Turks - the tomb contains only his skin
  • Jacopo Cavalli (d. 1384), general
  • Alvise Diedo, commander-in-chief
  • Marco Giustiniani (d. 1346), sea captain
  • Pompeo Giustiniani (d. 1616), condottiere
  • Palma the Younger (d. 1628), artist
  • Vettor Pisani (d. 1380), admiral
  • Niccolò Orsini, (d. 1510), commander-in-chief
  • Leonardo da Prato (d.1511), condottiere
  • Alvise Trevisan (d. 1528)
  • Edward Windsor, 3rd Baron Windsor (d. 1574)

Venice,, Castello,

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