Also known as San Giuseppe di Castello, this church was built in 1512 by the Venetian Senate in response to popular demand for a church dedicated to Joseph, father of Jesus. The church complex also included a small convent and three cloisters for Augustinian nuns from Verona.
In 1801 the convent was taken over by Salesian nuns who opened a girl’s boarding school. Today the convent is a Nautical Institute while the church is a still consecrated and active parish church, though currently undergoing restoration.
Lorenzetti (Venice and Its Lagoon) wrote that the interior “preserves the mystic and humble quality of the conventual churches” with its wooden barco or singing gallery for the nuns. Much of the church was paid for by the Grimani family, and a Doge Grimani is buried here along with his family. This family also commissioned the “Adoration of the Magi” relief on the façade of the church above the door.
The church has an impressive frescoed trompe l’oeil ceiling showing “The Glory of St. Joseph" - it's a flat ceiling painted with columns and architectural features to make it look domed. There's an altar with a marble bas relief depicting the famous Battle of Lepanto.
There are two fine paintings in this church:
Veronese’s “Adoration of the Shepherds”
Tintoretto’s “Archangel Michael Overcoming Lucifer in the Presence of a Venetian Senator” (GREAT name for a painting, it cracks me up!).
This part of eastern Castello is very much off-the-beaten path and is a great place to walk around and look for shrines and laundry.
Mass times: 6 pm weekdays, 9 and 11 am Sundays
"Ponte San Giuseppe di Castello" by John Singer Sargent. The place hasn't changed much. :)
A detail from the Veronese ~