Places to See in Dorsoduro: Churches in Dorsoduro:
To enjoy art in Venice you don’t have to go to an art gallery. Many of the city’s churches are rich with artwork by famous Italian painters and sculptors, and this is certainly the case in Dorsoduro. Wander into any church in this Venetian sestiere and you’re bound to come across some religious artwork. In particular, Chiesa San Sebastiano was the parish church for Paolo Veronese and in this church is a series of his work. The Santa Maria del Rosario (Church of Gesuati) and Scuola Grande dei Carmini both have ceilings painted by Tiepolo.
Some of the noteworthy churches in Dorsoduro include:
Church of the Gesuati
The Church of Gesuati was originally founded by a religious order whose members were known as I poveri Gesuati (the poor Jesuates). The order was suppressed by Pope Clement IX in 1668 when it could not carry out its duties due to its inability to attract sufficient membership. After the suppression, the church and monastery were acquired by the Dominicans and it became known as the Dominicans’ place at the Gesuati.
In 1724 the architect Giorgio Massari was commissioned to build the new church. The Dominicans were able to raise large sums of money which allowed them to build this magnificent church as well as having it decorated by the most famous sculptors and painters of the day. It contains altar pieces by Piazzetta, Sebastiano Ricci and Gian Battista Tiepolo. Tiepolo was also commissioned to decorate the ceiling with illustrations of the history of the Dominicans. This church should not be confused with I Gesuiti, a Jesuit church in the north of Venice.
Church of San Trovaso
San Trovasa had a few reincarnations before the current Palladian style building which dates back to the end of the 16th century. It contains works by Tintoretto, Palma il Giovane and Gianbono.
Church of S. Sebastiano
Chiesa di San Sebastiano is one of the five votive churches in Venice and was designed by Scarpagnino in the 16th century. This was Paolo Veronese’s Parish church and is notable for the cycle of paintings by Veronese. In 1555 he began to create the many paintings that decorate the sacristy, the ceiling of the central nave and the apse of the main altar. At the foot of the organ, which is also decorated with works by Veronese, a stone indicates the place were the artist was entombed. Other famous artwork found in San Sebastiano include those of by Titian, Sansovina and Tintoretto.
Church of Angelo Raffaele
The foundation of Chiesa dell’Angelo San Raffaele dates back to the seventh century shortly after Venice was first settled. Fires destroyed the church on three occasions and the current building was rebuilt in 1618. A restoration of the facade in 2004 left it looking new and perhaps lacking in the old charm. Inside, the organ nave contains a wash drawing by Giovanni Antonio Guardi dated 1750 that depicts stories about Tobiolo. Parts of this church and that of San Nicolò dei Mendicoli are the oldest in Venice.
Church of San Nicolò
San Nicolò dei Mendicoli (Saint Nicholas of the Beggars) is one of the oldest churches in Venice. Founded by ‘patavini’ (inhabitants of Padua) in the 7th century, it is thought to be earliest parts of Venice to be settled. The patavinis lived on the islands of the lagoon to escape the Lombard invasion. The church was rebuilt in the 12th century and the central part of the facade dates back to that period. The arch in the apse of the main altar is Byzantine.Your Turn: Do you have any advice you would like to share? What tips would you like to add? Please comment below.