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August 2012 Archives

August 6, 2012

San Stin

Not all of Venice's demolished churches have memorial plaques like San Geminiano does, but most of them have something left behind, even if it’s simply the name of a calle or campo. The church of San Stin, in the sestiere of San Polo, is remembered in the names of a campo, a rio, and a bridge, but also in a few other interesting remnants

This parish church was founded in the 10th century. Its official name was Santo Stefano Confessore, but the Venetians began to call it San Stefanino or “little St. Stephen” to distinguish it from the larger Santo Stefano in sestiere San Marco. And then in charming Venetian fashion, the name morphed into San Stin. The large Gothic church is dedicated to Stephen the first Christian martyr while this smaller church honored a different saint, Stephen the priest.

San Stin was rebuilt after it was destroyed in the great fire of 1105, and perhaps rebuilt again in 1259, and restored many times until its demise in 1810. You can see the church and its Gothic bell tower in de Barbari’s 1500 map and also in this detail from an 18th century painting by Bernardo Bellotto (Canaletto’s nephew). The side of the church faced into the campo with the tower in the rear. Behind San Stin, you can see the bell tower and top of the façade of the Frari.


Today in the corner of the campo, the base of the bell tower and a chapel are still there, and it’s fun to compare them to the Bellotto painting. At one point in the 20th century, this housed an upholstery shop. Today it seems to be a private residence, and its owners appear to have bought their paint on Burano.

San Stin

The orange paint is recent; here's what the chapel looked like in 2008.

San Stin

San Stin

In campo San Stin, there’s a vera da pozzo that dates to 1508. On one side, the weathered carvings show St. James and St. Barbara with the cross of Calvary in between them.

San Stin

On the other side of the well-head is San Stefanino himself with a funny perplexed expression on his face. Perhaps he can’t believe they tore his church down?

San Stin

When San Stin was demolished, its “Assumption of the Virgin” by Tintoretto was relocated to the Accademia where it still is today. Tintoretto painted this in 1550, a little over 30 years after Titian painted his masterpiece of the same subject a stone’s throw away in the Frari. So interesting to compare them!

San Stin

August 10, 2012

PhotoHunt: Planes

An airplane wing and sunrise over the mountains. I'd crossed the ocean and was almost in Venice!

If you click to see the photo larger, you can see a lake nestled in the valley. It looks so small but I bet it's not.


Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

August 14, 2012



Another church demolished in the 19th century, Sant’Agostin was a parish church dedicated to St. Augustine, located not far from the Frari and San Stin.

One source says that this church was founded in 1001 (such a specific date!) while another source says that it was built in 953-64 (again, very specific). Safe bet is to say 10th century or so. The church burned down three times (1105, 1149, and 1634) and was rebuilt each time (the etching above is the final version, and de Barbari's map below shows version #2). “Venice From the Bell Towers” says that Sant’Agostin was sober on the outside but “the interior featured a wealth of altars, precious marbles, stuccoes, and frescoes.”


After the 1810 suppression, the church building was used as a flour mill and then as a warehouse until 1873 when it was demolished to build housing. In the campo today, the apartment buildings at 2304 -2306 are located where the church used to be. The church lives on in the name of the campo and a bridge, and also on the vera da pozzo with its carvings of the symbols of the saint (a bishop’s mitre and staff).

Campo Sant'Agostin


There’s an amazingly detailed history of this campo and church on Giandri’s website; it’s a fascinating wealth of info that includes a list of the art that was in the church, a photo of the campo during the 1966 flood, a photo of a statue of St. Augustine that was relocated to the church of San Polo, and a really crazy modern story.

In 2000, when the campo’s sewage system was being repaired, they discovered the most ancient foundations of the original church along with tombs that had been robbed during the second rebuilding of the church. They were able to date the tombs because the medieval bricks matched the ones used to build the Torcello campanile in 1008. There’s a photo of two of the tombs filled with bones!

Giandri’s website also recounts another thing this campo is famous for, the Column of Infamy which commemorated a 1310 plot to overthrow the Venetian government. A few years ago, Venice in Peril published an article calling for the column to be returned to Campo Sant’Agostin but I don’t know if it happened.

I also learned from Giandri that this statue below, now on the outside of a home on Salizada San Polo, probably came from the church of Sant’Agostin.

St. Augustine

August 17, 2012

PhotoHunt: Sculpture

These sculptures are on the wall in between the church of Santa Maria della Salute and the Seminario Patriarcale in Venice. They were originally on the high altar of the church of Le Vergini (Santa Maria delle Vergini) which was demolished in the 19th century.



Venice2010 107

There are actually five sculptures on this wall but I was only able to see three of them. The Seminary was being restored, and the other two sculptures were behind the scaffolding.

Four of the Le Vergini sculptures are by artist Orazio Marinali, and one of the them is "The Savior" by Giulio del Moro. The Patriarchal Seminary has a lot of art from Venice's demolished churches - I don't know if the restoration is completed but look forward to visiting it someday.


Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

August 23, 2012

San Canciano

San Canciano

San Canciano looks kind of rough from the outside but is quite pretty inside. It’s a lacy romantic feminine church, maybe it’s the floral carvings and all the pastels - pink walls and light blue marble. I always enjoy visiting this small parish church.

San Canciano is not far from the more famous and glamorous Chiesa dei Miracoli. It was founded in the 9th century, rebuilt after the 1105 fire, restored and remodeled several times, and is mainly Renaissance in style with a number of Baroque altars and paintings. A new façade was added in 1705, paid for by Michele Tommasi whose bust is over the entrance to the church.

San Canciano

The church is dedicated to three saints: brothers Canziano and Canzio, and their sister, Canzianilla; all three were martyred in 304. It might be easy to confuse this church with San Cassiano (different saint, different sestiere).

San Canciano is home to a number of sacred relics including a thorn from the crown of Christ and the relics of San Massimo (see altar below, the angels are supporting the gold box that holds the relics). San Massimo (St. Maximus) was a Greek theologian and monk, and is a saint honored by both the Orthodox and the Catholic church. He authored "Life of the Virgin," the earliest known biography of Mary.

San Canciano

The campanile is 15th century and contains a plaque with a 13th century relief of Christ above it.

San Canciano

San Canciano

When you google this church, you get a million links to the John Singer Sargent painting: Leaving Church, Campo San Canciano, Venice, 1882. It's a nice painting. The vera da pozzo in the painting is still there.

Here are a few other places on the web where you can see the interior of San Canciano, and its painting and altars:

The church’s own website

A 2010 YouTube video of a concert after the church’s Callido organ had been restored. So many people in attendance and it sounds beautiful! The first time I visited this church was during evening mass; there were three Venetian ladies there, the priest, and me. So I was happy to see so many people at that concert.

This post about artist Bartolomeo Letterini

The church's website is actually the website for the whole parish. San Canciano is the main parish church, and its "daughter" churches are Miracoli, San Giovanni Crisostomo, and San Michele in Isola.

There’s another interesting connection between San Canciano and Miracoli. In his 1907 guidebook, Thomas Okey included a chapter called “The Virgin of the Amadi” that recounts the story of the miracle-working image of the Madonna that inspired the building of the Miracoli church. At the end of the story, he notes, “The faded, worm-eaten and forgotten old picture that evoked this sumptuous casket for its preservation is now in the church of S. Canciano.”

Well, I looked for a worm-eaten Madonna in San Canciano but didn't find it. I always had my doubts that the painting on the Miracoli altar was really the one inside the original shrine!

San Canciano

The photo below is a detail from the facade of San Canciano - the stucco has chipped off and you can see all these beautiful old bricks! It amazes me to see so many different colors. I love the yellow ones. They look so very old.

San Canciano

continued below...

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August 30, 2012

News about San Lorenzo

Just yesterday, I learned that the long-closed church of San Lorenzo has reopened! Thanks so much to Alex for leaving a comment on my blog with this exciting news.

The Comune di Venezia (which owns this deconsecrated church) has leased it to Mexico who will use it as their Biennale pavillion for the next nine years. They are in there now (the International Architecture Exhibition opened this week), and you can read an article here that says,

"Although the space is not yet in a safe condition to allow visitors, individuals will be invited to view the ongoing restoration from the entrance."

The article includes a photo of the interior and it still looks like a church inside - you can see the main altar and the choir screen that used to separate the nuns from the public. I can't wait to see it in person! I wonder if they have relocated the cats and the cat condos?
UPDATE: The cats are still there. See Fausto's blog for many photos of the interior and also the relocated cat condo.

A painting of San Lorenzo by Italian artist Filippo de Pisis. I see pigeons and maybe a few cats too in the campo!


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