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 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 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.
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.
9:00 to 4:30 Monday - Saturday
Mass every weekday at 5 pm
The San Lio Titian~