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Sant' Iseppo

Sant' Iseppo2

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.

Sant Iseppo

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 ~


The campanile


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Comments (11)


What an interesting church, Annie. The watercolour is very beautiful, and I agree -- the church seems little changed since the painting was done.

The history of the Battle of Lepanto is very interesting. Reading your link, I was a bit surprised to learn that the Spanish writer (and soldier!) Miguel de Cervantes who wrote Don Quixote lost an arm as a result of the battle.

And that name of Tintoretto’s “Archangel Michael..." is hilarious! The nobles of that time had utterly no shame!

Very interesting post! I saw this church last January but couldn't go in because there was construction in front of it. You can see pictures of the inside on this website:

Interesting post, Annie. I love this church, and the setting is great.
Great photos too.

Barb Cabot:

Thank you for posting the lovely Singer Sargent watercolor. I have a book of his italian countryside paintings but had not seen this one of the bridge and church. He is one of my favorite painters. Your posts are always filled with interesting facts and photographs.

Love the paintings! Great photos!

Thanks once again for enlightening me on the finer things in Venice. menehune

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, I enjoyed reading this post and learning more about this wonderful looking church. I like the relief above the door too. And I also love the water color painting. I found the history on the Battle of Lepanto very interesting.

Thanks so much for writing this post Annie. And thanks also for sharing your photos. Have a great evening.

Thanks everyone.

Barb, you may already know it but in case you don't - here's a link to a wonderful Sargent website.


Good looking church. I imagine that Iseppo is the Venetian dialect name for Giuseppe, right?

There’s a church in Rome that has also a flat ceiling that was made look like a dome by the frescoes painted on the ceiling. Maybe you’ve heard of it but the name escapes me right now. It is near the Pantheon.

Beautiful photos. Interesting details about this church. I love the John Singer Sargent watercolor. I was so lucky to see his exhibit at the Museo Correr when I was last in Venice. I love his style of painting. I wonder if that painting was part of the exhibit.


Maria, yes it's the dialect although I think the Venetians spell it "Isepo." I went to a church close to the Pantheon, can't remember the name but it's the one with the Caravaggios. I don't remember the ceiling! There are several of these flat ceiling churches in Venice, but not all of them are successful in getting the optical illusion thing going. :)

Girasoli, you are so lucky! I would have loved to have seen the "Sargent in Venice" show. I think there's a book - I might have to look for a used copy because I'm curious about what paintings they had too.

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