Are you looking for hidden, quiet corners in busy Venice, corners full of history, art, architecture and spirituality?
What about walking over to a peaceful cloister, the cloister della grotta with a statue of Saint Francis?
It is named after a grotto, a cave that was once encrusted with stones, shells, stalactites and demolished in 1938, now replaced by a statue of Saint Francis.
This cloister dates back to the 15th century as the rounded Renaissance arches testify.
On the floor several tombs are lined up, the oldest ones dating back to 15th century. By promising hefty sums of money to the Franciscan order, wealthy Venetian nobles and merchants hoped they would have a ‘preferential’ direct entrance to heaven.
What about admiring a harmonious chapel entirely encrusted with precious marble slabs representing among many saints Mary, Christ, Saint Jerome, prophets, episodes from the life of Christ, the Last Judgment with lovely friezes and elegant pediments?
The noble Venetian Girolamo Badoer commissioned the family of stonemasons Lombardo with a carved choir screen and an altarpiece for his family chapel in this church, dedicated to Saint Jerome. Agnesina Badoer Giustinian, a descendant, commissioned later on new religious stories to be integrated with the already existing ones.
The result is this elegant Chapel Badoer Giustinian, restored in 1999 by Save Venice that will strike you with its beauty.
What about another bright chapel with the bust of a Venetian Doge Nicolò Sagredo and a lovely paliotto, a polychrome stone altar, with precious marbles displaying in the centre Saint Gherard Sagredo, an ancestor of the family?
The Chapel Sagredo contains frescoed parts by Pellegrini and Tiepolo.
What about a wooden painted life size statue of Saint Anthony with the lily, Bible and Baby Jesus in his hands, the usual iconography?
Saint Anthony is one of the most popular Catholic saints; he was born in Lisbon, but died in Padua on 13th June 1231, so he is always celebrated on 13th June.
2 days ago this statue was carried through the surrounding area as every year after the evening mass attended by over 100 people and 2 dogs! St. Francis of Assisi is well-known for his many miracles also involving animals and birds.
The heavy wooden statue was transported by 8 strong men through the streets of the parish; at the beginning of the procession a clergyman holding a long cross, followed by the members of the Order of the Knights of San Marco, then priests and nuns and then the community.
As this photo proves Saint Anthony is well-known and still well-loved. He is famous for being the patron saint of lost things.
If you will be in Venice join the celebrations that will finish on Saturday 17th June 2023.
Discover all these precious ‘gems’ when visiting the Church of San Francesco della Vigna named after vineyards. Learn about the history of the complex dating back to the Middle Ages; the church was rebuilt in 1534, while the huge façade was planned 30 years later by Palladio.
The interior strikes with its simplicity and severity despite many Doges´ tombs and contains many more chapels to discover on a guided tour.
We can plan a guided tour through Castello and include this Church San Francesco della Vigna.