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San Lio

San Lio

Founded in the 9th century, this church was originally dedicated to Santa Caterina but was later re-dedicated it to Pope Leo (Leone) IX, an 11th century saint who, when he was pope, defended Venice’s right to independence in one of the many religious skirmishes the Venetian Republic had with Rome. The church was remodeled and restored in both the 16th and 18th centuries.

The campo and the façade of an older incarnation of the church can be seen in the Accademia in Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross in Campo San Lio, painted in 1494 by Giovanni. Mansueti. The relic involved in this miracle still resides in Venice in the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista.

San Lio

San Lio is now the headquarters of the Pastorale del Turismo e Beni Culturali (Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Heritage) created by the Patriarch of Venice a few years ago. You can read about this here; the church is intended to be a place of reflection and refuge for tourists and even has a reading room with books about Venice, art, and spirituality.

San Lio

San Lio

San Lio has an interesting collection of art that includes a painting of the Apostle James by Titian (scroll down) and a frescoed ceiling painting by Tiepolo (though sources don’t agree whether it’s by the son or his more famous father).

Definitely worth seeing is the Gussoni Chapel, to the right of the high altar, with its beautiful Renaissance sculpture by the Lombardo family. The artist Canaletto is buried in this chapel. The Gussoni chapel was restored in 1999-2002 by Save Venice. My first photo above shows the chapel’s dome with fresco fragments that were discovered during the restoration.

The main door is a holdover from the 16th century church. Yes, that's a pigeon on his head.

San Lio

San Lio

I love this wooden Madonna and wish I knew her story. Also on my "to-do" list is to look for the remains of the San Lio bell tower which was partially demolished, but its base is still somewhere close to the church.

San Lio


9:00 to 4:30 Monday - Saturday

Mass every weekday at 5 pm

San Lio

The San Lio Titian~


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Comments (5)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, I really enjoyed reading about San Leo. I think it's cool that it is now a place of reflection for tourists. It has some pretty cool artwork in there and the Wooden Madonna is so unique. If you discover more things about her I'd be very interested to read about it.

Thanks so much for sharing your photos and such an informative post Annie.

Your first photo really caught the breadth of the ceiling height. Lovely San Leo. Thanks for sharing this interesting post.


Wonderful photos, Annie! The wooden Madonna is very intriguing and the Titian painting mesmerizing.

Thank you for this, it was perfect timing, as I just went in yesterday. Aside from the wooden Madonna, I also wondered about the mother and child seated near this statue. Ah, Venice, always another mystery.

Did you ever get into the medical library of the Scuola Grande di San Marco. I keep runnng into the elastic wall of bureaucracy, with different stories each time I try to find it open!


Thanks for your comments everyone.

Yvonne, I tried to visit the library using Bert's clear instuctions (hours, climb the stairs, ring the bell) but no one ever came to open the door after I rang the bell! I'm going to try again next time I'm in Venice since I really want to see it. Good luck if you try again.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 22, 2012 1:51 PM.

The previous post in this blog was PhotoHunt: Animal.

The next post in this blog is B is for Basilica.

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