In my last post, I wrote about the Museo della Musica di Venezia, housed in the deconsecrated church of San Maurizio. Here’s some more info about the church itself and its history.
This church was founded in the 9th century and rebuilt four times over the centuries. It was a parish church until the late 18th century when it was suppressed by the French and then demolished. During this period after the fall of the Venetian Republic, over 40 churches in Venice were destroyed permanently, so it’s very unusual that San Maurizio was so quickly rebuilt and consecrated again in 1828. Why did they choose to rebuild this particular one? The "new" San Maurizio was rebuilt in the neoclassical style with a design inspired by the demolished (and not rebuilt) Renaissance church of San Geminiano which was located in Piazza San Marco facing the Basilica.
The campanile (bell tower) in the photo below belongs to the nearby church of Santo Stefano. A previous incarnation of San Maurizio did have a free standing Gothic bell tower but it was demolished in 1564. Today the church has Roman bells on the roof. The relief carved on the facade shows the Martrydom of San Maurizio and his men.
About the saint – San Maurizio (St. Maurice) was a 3rd century Roman soldier, one of six thousand soldiers who converted to Christianity and were then martyred. There’s a faded image of him on the circa 1521 vera da pozzo in the campo in front of the church.
There’s another more elegant image of San Maurizio on the former Scuola degli Albanasi next door to the church.
This church/museum is well worth a visit. Admission is free, and the opening hours are generous (9:30 - 7:30 daily). It's easy to find too, along the main drag from Piazza San Marco to the Accademia bridge.