I first wrote about the church of San Lorenzo in 2007. At that time, it was deconsecrated and had been closed for decades, and was best known for being the church that Commissario Guido Brunetti can see from his office window in the Donna Leon series of mystery novels set in Venice. San Lorenzo was also known for its cat condos and the small group of homeless cats who lived there.
Then in 2012, we got the news that San Lorenzo was going to re-open as the Biennale venue for Mexico.
Vern, a Hoosier in Venice, visited the church this fall and sent these photos to me. Thanks so much to him for allowing me to share them on my site. It's fascinating to see the church decoration that remains and also the amount of restoration work that's needed (those big holes in the floor!).
The church was divided by this choir screen with a high altar that faced in two directions so that the nuns could attend Mass but not be seen by the public. Most convent churches had nuns' galleries where the nuns could be hidden upstairs, so San Lorenzo's plan is rather unique.
I was happy to see that the cats are still there! Their shelters have been moved from the porch of the church to the bottom of the steps, adjacent to the former convent which is now a retirement home.
Coming soon, a look inside another deconsecrated church, Sant'Anna. Thanks Vern!