The Santo Stefano Church in Venice was built towards the end of the 13th century, but its current appearance is the result of a reconstruction that took place in the 15th century. The 66-meter-tall, leaning bell tower and the beautiful main portal date from this period. The church is counted among the best examples of the Gothic-Venetian architectural style.
Santo Stefano Church Venice
Address, opening times and admission
Address : Campo Santo Stefano – Venice (tel. +39 041 2750462). Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 10:00 to 17:00. Closed: Sunday, January 1, Easter, August 15, December 25. Admission price: 3 Euro (discount: 1,50 Euro). Chorus Pass is valid. Public transportation: Lines 1, 2, N (San Samuele stop).
History and description
The Santo Stefano Church was built in 1294 by the Hermits of Sant’Agostino. The church was rebuilt towards the beginning of the 15th century, allowing the presbytery to be enlarged thanks to a bridge over the adjacent canal that simultaneously served as a support for the apse.
Bartolomeo Bon, ubiquitous in Venice in those days, designed the marble gate between 1438 and 1442. The leaning bell tower, which at 66 meters is among the highest in the city, stems from the same period. This campanile leans over by as much as two meters, which is best seen from the Campo Sant’Angelo.
The interior is divided into three naves by columns connected by pointed arches. The ceiling is reminiscent of a ship’s hold. The presbytery is graced by a beautiful wooden choir decorated with marquetry.
What to see
Several paintings by Jacopo Tintoretti are on display in the sacristy, including the “Last Supper” (1579-1580). The others are the “Resurrection” (1565), “Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles” (1570-1580) and the “Speech in the Garden” (1579-1580).
Bonifacio de’ Pitati painted the “Holy Family with Mary Magdalene and Santa Caterina.”
Bartolomeo Vivarini was responsible for the “San Nicola di Bari and San Lorenzo” (1475) and Giuseppe Angeli painted the “Crucifixion” (1775). Both works, like the “Martyrdom of Santo Stefano” (1630-1638), can be admired in the sacristy.
The inside of the facade is graced by several works by Gaspare Diziani. The “Flight into Egypt”, “Adoration of the Three Wise Men” and the “Battle of the Innocents” were painted in 1733.
The sacristy gives access to a small cloister, which has been transformed into a small museum where the sculptures of the church are displayed. The highlight is the relief “The Tomb of Senator Giovanni Falier”, made in 1808 by Antonio Canova. Tullio Lombardo was responsible for the bust in relief representing a young saint.