Religious Edifices Walking Tour (Self Guided), Venice

A country like Italy, especially a city like Venice, has a lot of sacred sites. It would be a pity not to take a look at some of the wonderful buildings built by humans in the name of the Lord. Glorious artists, architects and their disciples have given their lives and talent for our pleasure for centuries. Follow this self guided walk to visit some of the most significant religious edifices in Venice.
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Religious Edifices Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Religious Edifices Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Venice (See other walking tours in Venice)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Author: nicole
1
Basilica di San Marco

1) Basilica di San Marco (must see)

The monument which draws the largest crowds in Venice, the Basilica di San Marco was built in 832 AD to house the relics of the city’s patron saint brought here from Egypt. Legend states that two Venetian merchants took the holy man’s body from its shrine in Alexandria and hid it in barrels of pork as they knew that the Muslim guards would not touch anything having to do with swine. This was seen as a stroke of genius, since it allegedly prevented the precious relic from being desecrated by the Muslim rulers of Egypt. St Mark himself was said to have been greeted by an angel who appeared to him on the night he took shelter in the lagoon, with the words “Peace be with you Mark, my Evangelist. Here shall your body rest”. The legend inspired many works of art, but it’s at least as likely that the theft was ordered to raise the prestige of Venice as one of the world's greatest cities, with one of the holiest relics.

As two more centuries went by, a new sumptuous church was built on the foundations of the earlier one and was consecrated when St. Mark’s body was placed in a tomb beneath the high altar. This new basilica was modeled after the celebrated Church of the Apostles in Constantinople; as such, for all intents and purposes, it was a Byzantine church. To enhance its opulence, the structure was subsequently clothed in marble and mosaic depicting stories from the Old and New Testaments and the lives of Christ, the Virgin Mary and St Mark. The best time to visit, then, is around midday when all the golden mosaics adorning the vaults, walls and cupolas are illuminated and at their most magnificent.

Entry in the basilica is free but you can pay the small fee to skip the line and book a time slot. Inside, there are a number of things that you can pay separately to see – namely, the Golden Altar, the Museum, the Treasury, and the Crypt. It's also definitely worth paying to go up to the first level just to see the interior and the square outside from a higher vantage point, or you might want to visit on a night tour when the basilica is closed to the public and you can pretty much have the entire space to yourself.

Why You Should Visit:
Exceptionally beautiful blend of Byzantine and Western art!
The grandiosity of the mosaics and the wealth of the 'treasure room' will make you realize how powerful Venice was in its golden days.

Tip:
The lights are on only for limited times during the day (11:30-12:30) so make sure you time your visit so you can see/appreciate the beauty of the mosaics.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-5pm; Sun: 2-4pm (until 5pm during the summer months)
2
Chiesa di San Moisè

2) Chiesa di San Moisè

The Chiesa di San Moisè (or San Moisè Profeta) is a Baroque style, Roman Catholic church in Venice. The church was built initially in the 8th century. It is dedicated to Moses since like the Byzantines, the Venetians often considered Old Testament prophets as canonized saints. It also honors Moisè Venier, the aristocrat who funded the reconstruction during the 9th century.

The elaborate Baroque facade, dating from 1668, is profusely decorated with sculpture. Some of its sculptures are generally attributed to German artist Heinrich Meyring. The architectural design attributed to Alessandro Tremignon, with patronage by Vincenzo Fini, whose bust is found over the entry door. Statues in public spaces were forbidden in Venice, thus by putting his bust on the facade of a church, he could circumvent this ordinance and display his wealth and his recent addition to the Libro d'Oro or Venetian aristocracy.

The interior is dominated by Meyring's huge and mannerist sculptural set piece and altarpiece, depiction Moses at Mount Sinai receiving the Tablets, created by Tremignon and Meyring. Behind it is a canvas painted by Michelangelo Morlaiter. It also has a Washing of the Feet by Tintoretto, and a Last Supper by Palma il Giovane. The altarpiece of the Deposition (1636) was painted by Niccolò Roccatagliata in collaboration with Sebastiano.

This beautiful church is a popular wedding spot by both locals and tourists.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Chiesa Cattolica Parrocchiale S.Stefano Protomartire

3) Chiesa Cattolica Parrocchiale S.Stefano Protomartire

This is one of the largest churches in Venice and is situated in the northern part of the city. The edifice was built in the 13th century, rebuilt in the 14th and redecorated partially in the 15th. Many years of construction, reconstruction and redecoration show us today a magnificent, wonderful architectural gem with painting and design to match. The church is the resting place for a few famous persons, such as: Francesco Morosini, Doge Andrea Contarini and others.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Chiesa San Bartolomeo

4) Chiesa San Bartolomeo

San Bartolomeo (Saint Bartholomew) is a church in Venice. It is near the Rialto Bridge in the neighborhood of San Marco. The church was supposedly founded in 830, and was originally dedicated to Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki. It was renovated in 1170, and became the church of the German community in Venice, whose commercial headquarters were nearby at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi.

The church was rebuilt again in the 18th century. The bell tower was built in 1747-1754 based on designs of Giovanni Scalfarotto. The interior has two sculptures by the venetian sculptor of German origin Enrico Merengo (Heinrich Meyring). The chancel has a high altar by Meyring with three canvases by Palma the Younger, and a fresco on the ceiling by Michelangelo Morlaiter. On the left upper nave is a Miracle of the bronze serpents, also by Palma the Younger, while the left aisle houses a St. Matthew by Leonardo Corona and a Dormition by Pietro Muttoni.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
San Salvador Church

5) San Salvador Church

The Chiesa di San Salvatore (of the Holy Savior) is a church in Venice. Known in Venetian as San Salvador, is located on the Campo San Salvador, along the Merceria, the main shopping street of Venice.

The church was first consecrated in 1177 by Pope Alexander III shortly after his reconciliation with Emperor Frederick Barbarossa at nearby San Marco. The present church, however, was begun in around 1508 by Giorgio Spavento and continued after his death the following year by Tullio Lombardo, Vincenzo Scamozzi and possibly Jacopo Sansovino. They built a large hall church, formed from three Greek crosses placed end to end. Each has a dome with a lantern to let light into the cavernous interior. The facade was added in 1663 by Giuseppe Sardi.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli

6) Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli

Santa Maria dei Miracoli is a church in the sestiere of Cannaregio, in Venice. Also known as the "marble church", it is one of the best examples of the early Venetian Renaissance including colored marble, a false colonnade on the exterior walls (pilasters), and a semicircular pediment. The main altar is reached by a series of steps. The circular facade windows recall Donato Bramante's churches in Milan.

Built between 1481 and 1489 by Pietro Lombardo to house a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. The plans for the church were expanded in 1484 to include the construction of a new convent for nuns of St. Clare to the east. The convent was connected to the gallery of the church by an enclosed walkway that was later destroyed. The interior is enclosed by a wide barrel vault, with a single nave.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Scuola Grande di San Marco

7) Scuola Grande di San Marco

The Scuola Grande di San Marco is a building in Venice. It originally was the home to one of the six major sodalities or Scuole Grandi of Venice. It faces the Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, one of the largest squares in the city. The edifice was built by the Confraternity of San Marco in 1260 to act as its seat. In 1485, however, it was destroyed by a large fire, and rebuilt in the following twenty years under a new design by Pietro Lombardo, with a fund established by the members.

The facade, a masterwork with delicately decorated niches and pilasters, and with white or polychrome marble statues, was later completed by Mauro Codussi. While decorated with the polished marble elements of Renaissance classicism, the proliferation of arches and niches adds a retrogressive Byzantine flavor, an architectural feature of many conservative Venetian styles.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo

8) Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo (must see)

The Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, known in the Venetian dialect as San Zanipolo, is one of the largest churches in Venice, having 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.

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. The 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.

Why You Should Visit:
Less famous than many of the churches that charge an admission fee, it still features a large amount of early Renaissance work in a well-maintained space.
You can find ceilings executed by Veronese and other Italian masters, work by Giovanni Bellini, beautiful altars, marble artworks, etc.
Also a wonderful, quiet square with an outstanding pastry shop just to the right of the church when you are looking at it.

Tip:
Be sure to ask the attendant if you can borrow the pictorial guide book to help you navigate as you walk around.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9am-6pm; Sun: 12-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Chiesa di San Zaccaria

9) Chiesa di San Zaccaria (must see)

San Zaccaria is a church in Venice, dedicated to St. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, whose body it supposedly contains. It is a large edifice, located in the quiet Campo San Zaccaria, just off the waterfront to the southeast of St. Mark's Basilica. The present church was built in a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles 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 and the upper parts of the interior were completed by Mauro Codussi in early Renaissance style.

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. The church houses one of the most famous work by Giovanni Bellini, the San Zaccaria Altarpiece. The walls of the aisles are entirely covered with paintings by other artists including Tintoretto, Angelo Trevisani, Giuseppe Salviati, Antonio Balestra, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Palma the Elder, and Van Dyck. The artist Alessandro Vittoria is buried in the church, his tomb marked by a self-portrait bust.

Why You Should Visit:
Unlike many of the popular name-churches that tourists flock to, this church is just that: a place of worship.
It retains its natural, quiet reverence, and helps restore a little equilibrium from the intensity of San Marcos.

Tip:
A small fee will let you visit old chapels and the flooded 9th-century crypt (helpful to bring footwear that is removable).

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-12pm / 4-6pm; Sun: 4-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Venice, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Creating your own self-guided walk in Venice is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
San Marco Souvenir Shops

San Marco Souvenir Shops

It would be a pity to leave Venice without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs that are unique to Venice. Pop into the specialty shops of San Marco suggested in this tour to find the most beautiful and original items.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km
Romantic Spots

Romantic Spots

Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world. It is the perfect destination for honeymoons, proposals and romantic trips. All the streets, canals and corners of this city are filled with romance, passion and love. This self-guided walk takes you through the most romantic places where you can enjoy the perfect moment with your beloved.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
Piazza San Marco Walking Tour

Piazza San Marco Walking Tour

Piazza San Marco is the main square in Venice. This is a place that enriched the cultural, social and economic life of Venice in the course of its history. The square is the host of the famous Venice landmarks such as the Doge's Palace, Basilica San Marco and the Procuratie. This self guided walk shows you the best known places around this historic square.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 km
Titian's Paintings Walk

Titian's Paintings Walk

Tiziano Vecelli, also known as Titian, was one of the greatest painters of all time. He represents the Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance. His works are well-known for their realistic interpretation of biblical episodes. Titian had a style of his own that cannot be compared with that of the other artists of his period. This self-guided walk will guide you through the most important places...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km
City Orientation Walking Tour

City Orientation Walking Tour

Largely regarded as one of the most romantic places ever built by man, the city of Venice is spread across 118 islands collectively earning it the nicknames of the City of Water and the City of Bridges. Other than the bridges, though, the city abounds in museums, basilicas and other historic sights. For a chance to visit some of these and learn more about Venice, embark on this self-guided walk!

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Around Rialto Bridge 1

Around Rialto Bridge 1

The Rialto area first appeared in documents dating back to the 9th century. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1514; the only structure left standing was the church of San Giacomo di Rialto. Today Rialto is a busy shopping district with a daily vegetable and fish market, several historic sights, plus a wide variety of shopping and dining options. Part 1 of the Rialto Bridge walk takes...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 km

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