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!
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.
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.
Opening Hours and Mass Times
It seems they welcome tourists at Sunday Mass (note all the languages listed).
Also worth seeking out in San Trovaso are the lovely Renaissance carvings of angels in the Clary Chapel~
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!).