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September 2011 Archives

September 3, 2011

PhotoHunt: Wrong

This week's theme is "Wrong."

I met this cat at my local Petsmart in the "available for adoption" kiosk. The poor guy was rescued after being used for dog fighting bait. He's got some injuries but is super friendly and playful. Amazing how his personality and spirit survived the abuse. I hope he gets adopted and has a wonderful life from here on out.

Dog fighting is wrong. Cruelty to animals in any form is WRONG. I can barely stand to think about it.


Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


September 7, 2011

Ss. Cosma e Damiano

Ss. Cosma e Damiano

A Renaissance church and convent dedicated to two doctor saints, this church was founded in 1481 by Benedictine nuns from Murano and Mazzorbo, who thought that their convents were too lax and decided to start their own with stricter rules. The saints in question were twin brothers who practiced the healing arts in the 3rd century and would not accept payment for their services. These brothers are among the many “plague saints” who became popular in Europe during the regular and terrifying outbreaks of the Black Death. The relics of these saints are in nearby San Giorgio Maggiore along with many other places in Europe.

Other plague saints include San Sebastiano, San Giobbe, and San Rocco, all three of whom have a church in Venice dedicated to them. The most famous "plague" churches in Venice are Redentore and Santa Maria della Salute.

The doctor saints are depicted in these sweet little reliefs at the entrance to the church; the first one is San Cosma and the second San Damiano.

Ss. Cosma e Damiano

Ss. Cosma e Damiano

A number of noble families were buried here, and the church amassed a nice art collection including two paintings by Tiepolo which are now in the Accademia.

In 1806, the religious complex was suppressed, the church deconsecrated, the nuns moved to San Zaccaria, and the convent became barracks first and then later a hospice for cholera victims. In 1887, the complex was sold to a textile manufacturer and turned into a factory. Today it’s city property, recently restored, and the convent and cloisters are used for art exhibits and other community events.

There's a book about this church - "Nuns and Reform Art in Early Modern Venice" by Benjamin Paul.

Speaking of art and Giudecca, earlier this year I posted about some cool modern murals on Sacca Fisola. I didn't know anything about them, so I was happy to get a comment recently from an artist in Venice named Elena who told me that the murals were painted in the 1980's by well-known artists under the auspices of an organization called Fondazione Bevilaqua La Masa. And this summer, Elena has been part of an art show at the Cosma e Damiano cloisters. I appreciate her taking the time to comment!

Ss. Cosma e Damiano

September 9, 2011

PhotoHunt: Greasy

This week's theme is "Greasy."

Ha ha, crazy theme this week and kinda tough!

Here in the US, fried seafood is often greasy. But not in Venice. These are moeche, tiny soft-shell crabs, served with grilled polenta (here in the Southern USA, we call it grits). The moeche were fried but not greasy at all, just crisp and crabby.

moeche e polenta

Alongside the moeche were these grilled vegetables. They had olive oil on them, but weren't greasy. These first two were taken at Trattoria Busa alle Torre on the island of Murano.

verdure alla griglia

And here's a pizza primavera from Trattoria Alvise in Venice. I hate too-greasy pizza but this one was perfect. It was delicious, slightly burned crust and all.

pizza primavera

Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


September 13, 2011

Santa Croce degli Armeni

Santa Croce degli Armeni

The Armenian church is one of the most mysterious in Venice. This little church is so embedded in the urban fabric, who knows what it even looks like? The entrance is within a sotoportego, and you can get only glimpses of the building itself when you walk around the neighborhood. I had to walk a long way away from the entrance to get this photo of the campanile!

From The World of Venice by Jan Morris:

“It is a strange little building. Its campanile, now silent, is so surrounded by tall buildings and chimneys that you can hardly see it; its façade is unobtrusively hidden away in a row of houses, and only the cross on the door shows that it is a church at all. Inside it is shabby but brightly decorated, and the floor of the vestibule is covered with memorial slabs, extolling the virtues of eminent Venetian Armenians – “He lived as a Lion…” says one, “Died as a swan and will rise as a Phoenix.”

Even though it's hidden, it's not that hard to find thanks to these yellow signs in both Italian and Armenian. Follow the arrow, find the sotoportego, and then you'll find the entrance to the church (though you won't find it open unless you're very lucky).

Santa Croce degli Armeni

Santa Croce degli Armeni

Santa Croce degli Armeni

By the 12th century, the Armenian community was established in Venice, merchants and scholars who had fled the Turkish invasion of their homeland. They became one of the Venetian Republic’s wealthiest foreign communities and remain active today. The merchants had a warehouse in this part of sestiere San Marco, and in 1496 were given permission to build a church. It was rebuilt in 1682-8 and the campanile added then.

The Armenian religious order has a monastery and another church on the lagoon island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni. Strangely, Napoleon left the Armenians alone when he was on his church-closing rampage because of the important scholarly and scientific work being done by the Armenian monks.

Continue reading "Santa Croce degli Armeni" »

September 15, 2011

Le Convertite

Convertite (Santa Maria Maddalena)

Also known as Santa Maria Maddalena, Le Convertite is a former church and convent on Giudecca that now houses a women's prison.

One of two churches in Venice dedicated to Mary Magdalene, this church was part of a religious complex founded in the 16th century. In addition to the church and the convent, it included a hospice for fallen women/prostitutes who had repented or had nowhere else to go.

A truly gruesome story about this convent is recounted in much detail in Mary Laven’s "Virgins of Venice." In a nutshell, a priest named Giovanni Pietro Leon used the women who lived in this convent as his personal harem. There were 400 nuns here at that time and unlike the noble-born nuns at San Zaccaria and other Venetian convents, these women were poor and had no help from outside. They were truly prisoners at the mercy of this priest, who not only raped the girls but drowned the babies of the ones unlucky enough to get pregnant by him. Many of the nuns committed suicide during this reign of terror. Evidently this priest was a well-educated con artist who convinced the Venetian aristocracy and representatives from Rome of his piety and good intentions, and he got away with it for 20 years. But he was finally exposed and executed in Piazza San Marco in 1561. I couldn’t help but think about those nuns when I visited this church last year.

At one time, this church had a painting by Albrecht Durer but it was removed when the complex was suppressed by Napoleon in the early 19th century. For a while, the place was a military hospital and then in 1857, it became a women’s prison which it still is today. Another former religious complex in Venice (Santa Maria Maggiore) is now a men’s prison.

Convertite (Santa Maria Maddalena)

Continue reading "Le Convertite" »

September 16, 2011

PhotoHunt: Wooden

This week's theme is "Wooden."

Venice is mainly a city of stone, marble and brick and such. But there are a few wooden things around town.

Many of the windows have wooden shutters, often green. I like the contrast between the peeling paint on the wood, and the peeling stucco letting the bricks peek through.


"Botti" are wooden barrels, and there are three of them painted on the sign for this restaurant. The sign itself is made of the top of a wooden barrel.

ostaria ae botti

And here's one of the wooden barrels outside the entrance to one of my favorite places to eat. The wooden basket sitting on top of the barrel holds a big glass keg for wine.

da Alberto

Many of the street shrines are made of stone, but there are a few wooden ones like this nice carved one~

San Marco

Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


September 22, 2011

Open (Santa Croce degli Armeni)

Santa Croce degli Armeni

Thanks so much to Bert for sending these photos and allowing me to post them here. Bert is the only person I know who has found the Armenian church open! He said that some restoration work was going on, and he was able to look around for a bit and take a couple of photos. He didn't know it at the time, but the memorial slab below is the same one that Jan Morris described in her book and that I quoted in my post on this church.

This week on Venice Daily Photo, Bert has been sharing some wonderful photos of Palazzo Barbaro. Check them out!

Santa Croce degli Armeni

September 23, 2011

PhotoHunt: Yellow

This week's theme is "Yellow."

Happy first day of Autumn! It's been a long hot summer and I'm ready for some cooler temps.

Yellow leaves in the trees and on the ground, in the Sant' Elena neighborhood of Venice~

Sant' Elena

And a farewell to summer flower~


Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


September 28, 2011


Last week, fellow Venice-loving bloggers Yvonne and AnnaLivia both posted photos of windows in Venice, so I thought I'd add a few of mine to the collection.

Happy Wednesday!




cat in window

Continue reading "Windows" »

September 30, 2011

PhotoHunt: Covered

This week's theme is "Covered."

The Basilica di San Marco in Venice is covered with marble, mosaics, and funky carvings. I never get tired of looking at it, and no matter how many times I visit, I see something new each time. Here are a few details from the exterior~

San Marco

San Marco

San Marco

San Marco detail

San Marco

Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


This page contains all entries posted to Churches in Venice in September 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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