The Santa Maria Formosa Church is one of eight churches in Venice founded by St. Magnus of Oderzo in the 7th century. The church is located in the sestiere Castello. The façade was commissioned by the Cappello family to commemorate a sea captain from this family.
Santa Maria Formosa Church Venice
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address : Campo Santa Maria Formosa – Venice (tel. +39 041 2750462). Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10:30 to 13:00; Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 to 13:00 and 13:30 to 15:30. Entrance fee: 3 Euro (discount; 1,50 Euro). Chorus Pass valid. Public transportation: Line 2, 10 (stop S. Marco Giardinetti); 1, N (stop S. Zaccaria Danieli); Line 5.1, N, 14 (stop S. Zaccaria Danieli); Line 5.2, 4.2 (stop S. Zaccaria Jolanda); Line 4.1, N (stop S. Zaccaria Jolanda); Line 2, N (stop S. Zaccaria M.V.E.); Line 14 (stop S. Zaccaria Pietà).
History and description
The Santa Maria Formosa Church is supposed to have been founded by St. Magnus of Oderzo in 639. The spot chosen is where this bishop had seen a very beautiful (formosa) apparition of the Madonna.
The present church is the result of a reconstruction under Mauro Codussi. Between 1492 and 1504 he adapted the original Byzantine church, with a floor plan in the shape of a Greek cross, to Renaissance architecture. The new floor plan is characterized by a nave with two aisles. He did not alter the 11th century dome.
The facade facing the canal was designed in 1542 to honor the sea captain Vincenzo Cappello. The statue above the main portal depicts this Venetian hero.
The second façade, overlooking the campo, dates back to 1604 and is characterized by a Baroque style.
Works of art
The Chapel of the Bombardiers’ Guild (Scuola dei Bombardieri) houses a “Santa Barbara Poliptych”, painted around 1523 by Jacopo Palma il Vecchio. It is thanks to this masterpiece that the artist first gained fame in the city.
The “Last Supper” on the opposite wall was painted towards the end of the 16th century by Leandro Bassano.
The highlight of the Chapel of the Conception is the “Virgin Mary of Mercy” Triptych, painted by Bartolomeo Vivarini, a painter from the island of Murano.
Giandomenico Tiepolo painted the “Mary with Child and Saint Dominic” in the oratory of the church.