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San Trovaso

San Trovaso

There are a couple of quirky things about this church that every guidebook mentions. First is the name - there’s no saint in existence called San Trovaso. The real name of this church is Ss. Gervasio e Protasio, brother saints who were the sons of San Vidal but were merged into one in Venetian dialect.

The other thing that’s unique is that the church has two facades and two main entrances, one facing the canal (photo above) and the other the campo (photo below). The story goes that two rival families who both attended this church insisted on having their own separate doors. It’s hard to believe that in a city with as many churches as Venice, families would fight over custody rights to one church!

San Trovaso

The Renaissance church we see today is at least the fourth incarnation. San Trovaso has ancient foundations and was renovated for the first time in 1028, burned down in 1105, collapsed in 1583, and was then rebuilt in a quick seven years as we see it today. The design was inspired by Palladio though he wasn’t the actual architect. Another unique thing about this church is that there are a few trees and some grass around it, things that few churches in Venice have.

San Trovaso

San Trovaso

Today it’s a parish church with five Tintoretto paintings, though three of them are by his son, Domenico, and/or workshop. The two larger works are by the master himself (The Last Supper and Temptation of San Antonio) and came to San Trovaso from the deconsecrated church of Santa Maria Maggiore .

The Last Supper is one of seven paintings of this subject by Tintoretto in Venice; this one was painted early in his career in 1556, and is an interesting scene that shocked some critics with the casual way the apostles are lolling about; you can see it here.

My favorite work in this church is this Gothic painting by Michele Giambono (active 1420-62) of San Chrysogonus on Horseback, painted circa 1450. Giambono was a native Venetian who also designed the mosaics depicting the life of the Virgin in the Mascoli Chapel in Basilica di San Marco.

San Trovaso

Opening Hours and Mass Times

It seems they welcome tourists at Sunday Mass (note all the languages listed).

San Trovaso

Also worth seeking out in San Trovaso are the lovely Renaissance carvings of angels in the Clary Chapel~


San Trovaso

I've written about this guy before - the guardian over the door of the San Trovaso bell tower. There are four churches in Venice that have these scary faces protecting their towers from the invasion of evil spirits, and the San Trovaso one is probably the creepiest (and most effective!).


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Comments (13)

Wonderful posting! I love the carving. It reminds me of della Robia's "Cantoria" in Florence.
This Christmas season I saw one of the most beautiful nativity scenes in this church but there were so many Italians admiring it that I didn't dare take a picture. Maybe our itinerant ambassador, Yvonne, will do it.
Thanks for posting.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, this is a wonderful post. The two main entrances because of the dueling families is very interesting. Makes me wonder how they sat in church once they were in. I really love the different languages on the sign for the church hours. And that is one really effective guardian.

Thank you for the great read this morning.

Thank you, Daniel. I look forward to hearing more and seeing photos from your holiday in Venice!

Kathy, thanks! I love the language list too and would like to attend Mass at San Trovaso someday.

Great post, Annie. Interesting church. Love a church that has a side story to it!


I just returned from Venice on the 12th! And I'm addicted to the churches. I came upon your blog when searching for the answer to how many churches there are in Venice. I'm also wondering about the book you mentioned called Churches of Venice. Who is the author? The one I found on Amazon has it listed as $355. What?!? Happy and safe travels!

Hi Jamalee, thanks for your comment. I hope you had a great time in Venice - when are you going back?! I know well how addicting the city and her churches are!

The book I mentioned was probably "Le Chiese di Venezia" by Umberto Franzoi and Dina di Stefano. It's out of print now and used copies are very expensive. I was able to borrow a copy from a friend and didn't have to spend the big bucks.

Safe travels to you too!

Hi Annie, Happy New Year!

Been keeping up with everyone, just not commenting for a while. Life has been crazy busy.

Love this post! How funny that they ended up making 2 entrances because of a feud between families. Great photos. That is a scary guardian!


Hi Annie, long time no posting (by me.) Always enjoy checking in on your recent entries. Fred & I went to a Sunday afternoon concert at this church. And I always remember Vogalonga rowers busily running around the courtyard getting their boats ready for warmup sprints the evening before the event.

Hi Girasoli, good to hear from you and Happy New Year!

Cubbies, it's nice to hear from you too. I hope you're doing well. Any plans to visit Venice in 2012?


I don't think Venice is on the itinerary for 2012. Hoping for 2013. How about you?

I hope to get back to Venice in 2012 but don't have any firm plans yet. Didn't you go to Vietnam last year? How was that? Would love to hear about any of your travels!


I appreciate your site.
I have a question :
Where is the Stella Maris Curch in Dorsoduro ??




Hi Alain,

I don't know exactly where it is and have not tried to find it yet. But I think it's a chapel/oratory somewhere close to the port, for sailors maybe?

If you find out more, please let me know! Best, Annie

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 11, 2012 1:16 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Shrine with vases.

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