The Santi Giovanni and Paolo Basilica is one of the largest and most famous churches in Venice. The church is also often called San Zanipolo and because many famous people are buried there it has been nicknamed the “Pantheon of Venice”.
Santi Giovanni and Paolo Church Venice
Address, opening hours and admission
The address of the church is Castello, 6363 – 30122 Venice, Italy (tel. +39 041 5235913). When visiting the church one is expected to give a contribution of 2,50 Euro for the restoration. For students this is only 1,25 Euro. The basilica opens at 07:30, but tourists are not allowed in until 09:00 (12:00 on Sundays and holidays). Closing time for tourists is at 18.00. Public transportation: Lines 21, 22, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, B (Ospedale stop).
History and description
The Santi Giovanni e Paolo Basilica is the most important Domenican church in Venice. It was originally built to accommodate the many poor people in the district.
It was the Doge Jacopo Tiepolo who, having had a dream about a flock of white doves flying over what was then swamp land, bequeathed the land to the Domenicans.
The first construction of the church took place in 1246. In 1333 it was demolished, being too small for the congregation. It took almost a century for the new church to be completed (1430).
The church is made of brick and has a length of about 100 meters. It consists of three naves, separated by huge brick columns. As many as 25 Doge’s are buried here, plus several of military commanders and artists.
The façade of this church is characterized by a portal by Bartolomeo Bon, who worked on it from 1459 to 1461.
In 1867, two famous paintings by Giovanni Bellini (“Madonna and Child,” 1476) and Titian (“The Murder of the Martyr St. Peter”) were destroyed in a fire.
What to see
The main altar is dedicated to the Domenican saint Vincenzo Ferrer and is graced with a polyptych by Giovanni Bellini. Bellini himself is also buried inside the church.
An altarpiece by Lorenzo Lotto depicts the “Alms of Sant’Antonio”.
Veronese was responsible for most of the works in the Cappella del Rosario.
One of the most interesting tombs was created by Pietro Lombardo for the Doge Pietro Mocenigo (see photo).
The famous statue of “Bartolomeo Colleoni on a Horse” by Andrea del Verrocchio can be seen next to the church.