The best 10 churches in Venice
There are 137 churches in Venice, they can be considered as museums of the city. They contain works of the greatest artist, were designed by the main architects and reflect all the different architectural styles that affected buildings in Venice over the centuries.Some of them have mysterious legends, myths about their foundation, secrets hidden inside their paintings and statues.
Come and discover them during our tours! In the meantime, here’s a list of the best 10 churches that you can see in Venice.
Saint Mark’s basilica
This is the most famous churches in Venice. The construction started in 828 but the works to add magnificence to this church will last a few centuries more. The Basilica today reflects different styles: Romanesque, Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance; it’s a treasure chest of all the most important facts and victories of Venice. The marbles, the gold imported from the East, all the statues and columns brought back as spoils of war, they all contributed to create the gorgeous Basilica that became one of the symbols of the city. Visit the inside, with its 4,000 square meters of mosaics, it will be an astonishing experience! You will learn more about the church during our paid tour of Saint Mark Square. Entrance: FREE. Inside specific sites you need a ticket: Saint Mark’s Treasure, Golden Pall, Museum on the first floor.
Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari: or simply Basilica dei Frari. Frari in Venetian dialect means friars. It is one of the biggest churches in Venice. The Franciscan Friars built the church in 1250. That’s why from the outside the style looks pretty simple: Italian Gothic style with red bricks and few decorations, to respect the rules of the Franciscan order, based on poverty and simplicity. But on the inside this church is an authentic jewel: it contains artworks of Titian (Pesaro Madonna and Assumption of the Virgin), Giovanni Bellini, Bartolomeo Vivarini and Donatello. Titian is buried here, his grave is in front of the funeral monument of another great artist: Antonio Canova. Entrance: 3 €
Santa Maria della Salute
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, also known as the Salute: the most beloved by Venetians. This Basilica was built as a vow after the plague that struck Venice in 1630. Designed by the architect Baldassare Longhena, it was completed in 1687, today with its beautiful Baroque style it dominates the final part of the Gran Canal. You will learn more about the church during our free tour in the Southern part of Venice. Entrance: FREE.
Chiesa dei Miracoli
Church of Miracles: a hidden treasure in the middle of Venetian alleys. They built this church between 1481 and 1489 to host a painting of the Virgin Mary. They considered it to be responsible of some miracles. The church is a masterpiece of Renaissance style, decorated with precious marbles and stones. Today it’s the favorite church for weddings. All brides want to get married inside it because of the gorgeous pictures they can take there. But the waiting list is very long, you need to book the church at least two years in advance! You will learn more about the church during our free tour in the Northern part of Venice. Entrance: 3€
Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta or dei Gesuiti: located in Cannaregio district, they built this church thanks to the religious order of the Gesuits during the 18th century. The inside is really astonishing, ceiling and paving are decorated with baroque style with green and white marbles, the altar is the masterpiece of the church. Inside there are paintings of Titian, Tintoretto and Palma il Giovane. A lot of visitors miss this church because of its location. You will learn more about the church during our free tour in the Northern part of Venice. Entrance: 1€
Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo: the biggest church in Venice. They also call this church “the Venetian Pantheon”. Inside there are the graves of some heroes of the Republic of Venice: soldiers and commanders, Doges and other important members of Venice society. If you are interested in the history of the city and want to know more about it, this is a good place to start! The campo in front of the church is one of the most beautiful in Venice! Entrance: 3 €
Chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto: another jewel of Cannaregio district, built during the 14th century and originally dedicated to Saint Cristopher. There is a legend that explains why the name of the church was then changed into “Madonna dell’Orto”, literally “Virgin of the garden”, discover it during our tours! This church contains a lot of paintings made by the great painter Tintoretto who lived nearby and this was his favorite church in Venice. His grave is inside the church, close to the main altar. Entrance: 3€
Chiesa di San Pantalon: one of the most simple churches from the outside. The facade is still incomplete, but on the inside there is a surprise: it contains the biggest canvas in the world. A huge ceiling painting represents the history of the martyrdom of Saint Pantalon, made by Giovanni Antonio Fumiani who painted it from 1680 to 1704. Entrance: FREE
Santa Maria del Giglio
Chiesa di Santa Maria del Giglio: they first built it in the 10th century and then rebuilt it in the 17th century. The nobleman Antonio Barbaro financed it. They represented him together with his brothers on the facade of the church. There you can also see six columns, their bases are decorated with the maps of the six cities where Antonio worked during his life. Inside the church there is only painting in Venice made by the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens. Entrance: 3€
San Simeone Piccolo
Chiesa di San Simeone Piccolo: with its green dome, this church will be the first thing that you see when you arrive in Venice from either the bus or the train station. The church is very simple, but we recommend that you ask the custodian to visit the crypt. The crypt of this church is a unique example in Venice, with a small candle you can walk around the small tunnels and see the old frescoes on the walls…an experience that you won’t forget! Entrance: FREE, to visit the crypt the entrance will cost 3€.
If you are interested in visiting many churches, you can buy the Chorus pass: it’s a ticket that will give you access to 18 churches. The pass costs 12€ for adults (8€ for students) and you can buy it inside the churches, at the tourist information offices or online.