Chiesa di San Samuele (Church of St. Samuel), Venice

Chiesa di San Samuele (Church of St. Samuel), Venice

Sain't Samuel's church is strategically located in the small square of the same name, between the Grassi and Malipiero palaces, making it one of the rare churches in Venice that offers a view of the Grand Canal.

Known for housing relics attributed to the biblical Samuel, this church stands out for being one of the few in Venice dedicated to an Old Testament prophet instead of a Roman Catholic saint. Its late-Gothic apse, despite the renovations of its nave and facade in 1685, has remarkably remained intact. The walls and vaults of the apse underwent restoration work starting in 1999 and feature a precious fresco cycle from the early Venetian Renaissance, making them a rare surviving example.

The impressive bell tower, constructed with white Istrian stone, stands at a height of thirty meters and is considered one of the most beautiful in Venice, even though it is partially integrated into a neighboring building.

While San Samuele is still an active place of worship, it can be challenging to find it open to the public. A favorable opportunity to visit may arise during the Biennale, when the church showcases additional exhibits beyond its significant historical and religious treasures.

***CASANOVA TOUR***
This parish church holds significant importance in the life of Giacomo Casanova. It is where his parents exchanged vows in 1724 and where he was baptized one year later. As a child, Giacomo attended church services here, and during his teenage years, he was assigned to the church where he immersed himself in advanced classes on the Italian language and poetry taught by Abbot Schiavo.

On February 14, 1740, just before his 15th birthday, Giacomo underwent a tonsure ceremony performed by the Patriarch of Venice, symbolizing his humility. Soon after, he delighted the churchgoers by delivering his first sermon at San Samuele. However, despite his involvement in religious matters, his allure for the secular world, including women, outweighed his interest in Latin texts and theological puzzles. He saw no reason to choose between the love of God and the love of women. Before long, a thick thatch of hair or wig obscured his priestly tonsure, and his cascades of passion continued unabated. Eventually, while delivering his second sermon, influenced by wine consumed in the company of aristocrats, he forgot his words and fainted on the floor, bringing shame upon himself. Disgraced, he renounced his religious aspirations and fled to Padua, where he diligently pursued his studies and earned a law degree.

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Chiesa di San Samuele (Church of St. Samuel) on Map

Sight Name: Chiesa di San Samuele (Church of St. Samuel)
Sight Location: Venice, Italy (See walking tours in Venice)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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