Thursday, March 20, 2008

Churches of Venice

For those of you who aren't aware, there are about 100 churches in Venice currently--85 or so that are Catholic and the remaining of various other denominations. There used to be many more, but either over time or through the works of Napolean, they were destroyed. Not that 100 is anything to sneeze at on an island of this size. Additionally, not all of them are in 'working' order--some are used as storage places, some as art galleries, one has been turned into a theater, etc. But there is still more than enough to go around.

One of my goals this year was to visit all the churches with notebook in hand and make some notes of what I thought. I am not a trained art or architectural critic, so my notes are more personal reflections. Or should I say, my notes WERE going to be such. I never got around to taking the notebook with me and I didnt make it to all 100, but I made a pretty good dent in the number.

At last count, I had visited around 60 of them! Some I cant find because there is no address listed and wandering around the labryinth of Venice isnt always the best way to find something. Others I walked in and out of in less than 2 minutes because 'it didnt do anything for me'. And there are still a handful left that I want to see before I go.

Along the way, I starting making my top 5 favorite churches of Venice list. Unfortunately, I only have 4 on the list because I havent found that last one that ranks worthy enough to get the coveted spot. So, here is my list in the order I would rank them (i.e. my personal favorites):

1: San Zaccariah--this was the first church I entered years ago and I love the atmosphere in here. Its small, covered from floor to ceiling with paintings and has provided me many hours of solace.

2. The Gesuiti church at Fondamente Nove--this is one of the most impressive churches I think I have ever seen. Green and white marble everywhere. They have even managed to make the marble look like draped cloth. Its truly breath taking and I snapped some rogue pics for you (its not allowed to take pics in this church) so you can get an idea.

3. San Pantalon--the outside of this church was never finished so it looks very raw and unassuming. But the minute you walk inside and lift your head to the ceiling, you are awed. The entire ceiling is a painting that has 3D qualities to it. I have many times lied on the pew and stared at the ceiling. Its a rather dark church, but I have included some pics as well.

4. The Miracoli church--this is the jewel of the Venetians. It is the only church on the island where you can literally see all 4 sides of the building as it is constructed on its own little island at the crossroads of some canals. When you walk inside, its like being in a jewelry box. The pulpit area is raised so high above the seating area that you almost expect to hear/see a little ballerina twirling around at the top of it! This is another that doesnt allow pics and I have yet to snap any rogue ones, so you will just have to take my word for it.

Lets hope I get number 5 in pretty soon!

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