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San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti

San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti

So as I said, it took me a while to find this church but I finally did and even better, I found it open!

In the 13th century, there was a hospice and refuge for lepers in Dorsoduro (Lazarus is the patron saint of lepers). The colony was later moved to a lagoon island and then moved back to a hospice in this part of Castello adjacent to the monastery of San Zanipolo, the huge Gothic church that’s nearby. The original oratory was replaced by the church we see today, which was built at the end of the 16th century and consecrated in 1636.

San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti became one of several churches in Venice that provided musical education for impoverished young girls. In fact, the church has an atrium or vestibule designed to block out street/canal noise during the girls’ recitals, and there are also singing galleries inside the church itself.

San Lazzaro

There's lots of interesting stuff in this church, including two pretty good paintings - a Christ on the Cross by Veronese and St. Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins by Tintoretto. Both came from the demolished church of the Incurabili. The colors and textures of the dresses in the Tintoretto are nice; here it is:




Today this is the church of the Ospedale Civile and is sometimes used for funerals. The main door facing the canal is seldom open so to visit you need to enter from within the hospital complex and the first thing you see is the atrium.

Both in the atrium and inside the church, there’s a huge Baroque monument to Venetian noble Alvise (or Lazzaro) Mocenigo, who fought the Turks. Parts of the monument came from Crete, where he died in battle, and it contains carvings of sea battles and relief maps of fortresses he defended. A “this is your life” monument.

The atrium (the door in the center takes you into the church)~


Mocenigo monument inside the church~


So many of the churches of Venice have an icon of the Madonna; I always look for them~




Not sure what the official visiting hours are - the church is open for Mass each morning, Monday-Friday at 7:30 AM, according to the sign on the door. I found it open around 11 am or so. Finding this church (and all the other things I found along the way) was a lot of fun. :)

San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti

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Comments (7)

Great visit Annie! I love the first picture! I also had the pleasure of finding it opened in May but my pictures are not nice like yours...
Have a nice evening!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, wonderful post and so interesting to see the inside of this church and to learn the history. I love the idea of an atrium. From the photos, I bet the acoustics were amazing there. And what an inspiring setting to sing in. The interior of the church is very beautiful.

I really enjoyed reading your series of posts leading up to finding this wonderful church Annie. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and photos.

AnnaLivia, thanks! I'm glad you found it open too.

Kathy, I was wondering about the acoustics in this church; I bet they are great. I'd love to hear some music in there.


What a beautiful facade! You did find a lot of treasures when searching for this church.

And that's a great Tintoretto, I'll look for this in June!

Annie, you are my go-to person for research on Venice churches!

Thank you for sharing your finds with us.

Jonathan Gross:

What beautiful pictures you've managed to take of this church. I traveled to Venice but wasn't able to find the church. It appears in a novel called Belmour by Anne Damer, a female sculptress who I'm currently writing a biography of. I was wondering if I might use the exterior and interior of your pictures of the church for possible inclusion in a book about her. Would be happy to send you a copy of the novel, which I think you'll enjoy after visiting the church. It's the key scene where Belmour hears Emily singing.

Hi Jonathan, thanks for your comments. I sent you an email about the photos - Annie

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 13, 2011 2:12 PM.

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