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IL Capitello

Il Capitello

This tiny ancient chapel is known as "Il Capitello" and is inside the Basilica di San Marco, near the left aisle, and houses a miracle-working cruxifix of Byzantine origin.

I found this vintage photo on Flickr where the Architecture Library of Notre Dame has posted thousands of old photos from around the world. I was excited to find it because I'd never seen a photograph of this little chapel before.

Description of Il Capitello from Lorenzetti (Venice and Its Lagoon):

"A pointed marble roof surmounted by a huge oval piece of oriental agate, composed of very rare marbles of great value.

The two columns of African marble with Byzantine capitals support The Virgin and the Announcing Angel, gothic sculptures of the beginning of the XV century.

On the altar table, a painted wooden Crucifix brought into the church in 1290 from Piazza San Marco after it miraculously flowed blood."

Another book says that this crucifix was probably Venice's first and might have been stolen from Constantinople like so many other treasures in the Basilica.

Il Capitello is inside a roped-off section of the Basilica but it's right next to the rope so you can see the crucifix inside as well as the Annunciation sculptures on the front.

Photo from the ND Library: Creative Commons License.

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Comments (7)

Very cool, thanks for sharing that Annie.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, this was so interesting to read. Thanks for sharing that link. What a great site. I went through some of the pages and even found some photos of castles in Scotland. I will have to bookmark this link for future refernce. What a great find!

I found the description of this tiny chapel really interesting. And that was also interesting reading about the wooden crucifix.

Thanks for this great read Annie!


Annie, thanks for sharing such interesting information. I love the old photo ...


How interesting, Annie. I'm going to take a closer look at this little chapel when I'm in Venice, and in San Marco in June. Interesting, that this crucifix could be the oldest in Venice!

The Notre Dame library website is a great resource, thanks for this.

I’ve been inside the Basilica twice and never long enough to see and appreciate all the treasures housed inside. I can’t recall seeing this chapel but I’m sure I’ll be searching for Il Capitello on my next visit to the basilica.

I love looking at old photos of places I’ve visited. Thanks for sharing this wonderful link. I’m sure I’ll be spending a few hours lost in what looks like an amazing collection of vintage photos.

off topic: I just finished my second Donna Leon book, and tonight I’m starting the third one on your list. Love "being" in Venice.

I love this old photo. I am also one that can spend hours looking at old photos, especially of places I have visited. I will have to look for the chapel the next time I am inside the Basilica.

Thank everyone.

Kathy, I noticed some castles and churches from Scotland in the photos too - you'll be seeing some of them soon!

Maria, I'm glad you're getting hooked on Donna Leon! The third book is when my favorite character, Signorina Elettra, enters the series. Enjoy!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 29, 2009 1:15 PM.

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