15 Beautiful Churches in Venice (Italy) Worth Visiting

Are you wondering what are the beautiful churches in Venice, Italy that is worth visiting for your trip? I have been to Venice, Italy during our 2-week Interrail trip around Europe. I travelled to Venice with my husband and friends, and we had a great time exploring Venice and Lagoon Island.

In Venice, there are 137 churches, which serve as the city’s museums. They were created by the leading architects, contain works by the greatest artists, and exhibit all the various architectural styles that have influenced Venice’s buildings over the years. Some of them have enigmatic myths about their origins and hidden meanings in their statues and paintings.

Hence, I would like to share with you some of the beautiful churches in Venice, Italy that I would recommend you visit. I also wrote another article about the Best Things to Do in Venice, If you are looking for more activities and attractions within the Veneto region.

Read more: Beautiful Places To Visit In Italy For The First Time

15 Beautiful Churches in Venice (Italy):

1. San Marco Basilica (St. Mark’s Basilica)

San Marco Basilica -St. Mark's Basilica in Venice
Beautiful Churches in Venice: San Marco Basilica
Zairon, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most stunning churches in the world, the Basilica of San Marco is the most well-known church in Venice, Italy. It was constructed in the Byzantine style, and each year, thousands of tourists visit St. Mark’s Square because of its distinctive architecture. It was widely regarded as the best activity in Venice, and many still hold that opinion.

San Marco Basilica in Venice Italy
Beautiful Churches in Venice: San Marco Basilica

The interior features gold-ground mosaics featuring saints, prophets, and biblical scenes, while the exterior is an impressive display of marble, mosaics, and statues.

Some of the golden mosaics, which are masterpieces of medieval art, are based on traditional Byzantine representations, while others are inspired by preparatory sketches created by well-known Renaissance artists from Venice and Florence, such as Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, Titian, Paolo Uccello, and Andrea del Castagno.

The basilica’s original purpose was to house St. Mark the Apostle’s relics, which the Venetians had taken from Alexandria. St. Mark’s Basilica would act as the personal chapel of the Doge and the political and religious hub of the Republic of Venice during this time.

In 1807, it was designated as the city of Venice’s cathedral. It now functions as a museum and a major tourist attraction. I wrote another article about the Best Museums in Venice, I encourage you to read it to help you decide which museums to visit while you are in Venice.

The fact that St. Mark’s Basilica has the most historical significance of any structure in Venice may contribute to its allure. It is after all one of Venice’s oldest structures.

2. Santa Maria della Salute Basilica

The stunning Basilica of the Madonna della Salute, also known as the Church of Salute, is situated in a stunning area not far from St. Mark’s Basin (Church of Health). The structure was constructed as an ex-voto to Our Lady of Health in thanks for her protection from the plague that ravaged Venice between 1630 and 1631. Since then, November 21st has been set aside to remember the occasion.

Santa Maria della Salute Basilica
Beautiful Churches in Venice: Santa Maria della Salute Basilica
Jakub Hałun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Any visitor to Venice will undoubtedly notice the Church’s distinctive dome, whether they are there to take part in the Feast or just to explore the city.

View of Santa Maria della Salute Basilica from the Grand Canal
Beautiful Churches in Venice: View of Santa Maria della Salute Basilica from the Grand Canal

Although the Basilica’s interior is quite sombre, there are still some hidden treasures. The Marriage at Cana, one of Tintoretto’s most well-known works, is located in the sacristy.

3. Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

The Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, also known more colloquially as the Frari, is not only one of the most stunning buildings in Venice but also one of the most expansive.

Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Beautiful Churches in Venice: Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Didier Descouens , CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Because of its imposing size, it already looks magnificent from the outside, but once you step inside, you can see the full extent of its splendour. In point of fact, this area contains works such as Titian’s Assumption, which can be found toward the high altar and is completely enclosed by stained glass.

In addition, there are mausoleums that were designed by Titian himself as well as by the sculptor Antonio Canova. The latter’s pyramid-shaped tomb, which can be found in every part of the world, was constructed by the individual’s own students. An absolute masterpiece.

4. Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, which is in fact a Basilica, boasts an impressive presence in front of the Basin of St. Mark. It is impossible for tourists to visit the most significant square in Venice and not be impressed by the magnificent facade that was designed by Andrea Palladio.

San Giorgio Maggiore island in Venice
Beautiful Churches in Venice: Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

In point of fact, however, the presence of paintings by Tintoretto as well as a choir constructed entirely of wood are two of the features that establish this location as one of the churches in Venice that you simply must go to. In addition, the entire island of San Giorgio Maggiore, not just the Basilica, is a treasure trove that contains incomparable works of art and architecture.

5. Basilica dei Santi Giovanni Paolo

San Zanipolo is the name that many locals in Venice give to this Basilica, despite the fact that it is situated in one of the most beautiful parts of the city.

Basilica dei Santi Giovanni Paolo
Beautiful Churches in Venice: Basilica dei Santi Giovanni Paolo
Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The structure of the Basilica, which is flanked on either side by the Scuola Grande di San Marco, which serves as the monumental entrance to the Ospedale Civile, stands out due to its striking contrast in form and colour. One is invited to enter the bright Basilica through its inviting facade made of crimson bricks, which features a magnificent portal that is surrounded by four blind arcades that bear the tombs of four doges.

Before the time of Napoleon, this location held nearly the same level of significance as St. Mark’s. In fact, due to the fact that it contains the tombs of numerous doges, this church is frequently referred to as the Pantheon of Venice. The title of Basilica was not bestowed upon it until the year 1922.

6. Church of San Zaccaria

During the time of the Doges and the Serenissima, the Church of San Zaccaria was considered to be one of the most important locations for Easter festivities. In point of fact, the Doge and his entire court would come here, where they would be greeted with respect and honour by the abbess and the nuns.

Church of San Zaccaria
Beautiful Churches in Venice: Church of San Zaccaria
Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

It is still considered to be one of the city’s most fascinating churches to visit, thanks to the magnificent facade it was given in the 15th century. Even the establishment of St. Mark’s Basilica came after the Benedictine community had already been established, making it one of the wealthiest in Venice for a considerable amount of time.

The interior of the church houses a number of works of art as well as tombs that are dedicated to a selection of Doges from Venice’s history. As a sign of goodwill toward the city from the Byzantine emperor Leo V, the body of Saint Zacharias himself was laid to rest in this location.

7. Church of Santa Maria Assunta

Its official name is the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, but everyone refers to it as “the Church of the Jesuits.” You can find it in the Cannaregio neighbourhood of Venice, not too far from the Fondamenta Nuove.

Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Beautiful Churches in Venice: Church of Santa Maria Assunta
Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Order of the Crucifers of Venice owned and operated this location in the past. In later years, during the 17th century, it was reconstructed after having been purchased by the Jesuits and the adjacent monastery.

The entrance is opulent and decorated in a baroque style with round sculptures and plastic embellishments all over the facade. The interior is certainly not less impressive than the exterior: the church is magnificent, and the abundance of detail that it contains may even be considered excessive by some. Alternating between green and white marble, this space is where priceless works like “The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence,” one of Titian’s final canvases, can be found.

8. Church of Saint Sebastian

The Venetian painter Paolo Veronese, who lived during the 16th century, was so enamoured with this particular church that he chose to be laid to rest in San Sebastiano.

This tiny church, which has a very unpretentious exterior, can be found in the Sestiere of Dorsoduro. It is shielded from the large crowds of tourists that visit the area. In point of fact, the visitor’s jaw drops at the sight of the interior.

One of the most fascinating and difficult-to-understand cycles of paintings by Veronese can be found here. It was the Venetian master himself who was responsible for spending a significant portion of his career here, in the decoration of several areas of the Church. The Scenes from the Life of Esther, which were created in the ceiling of the nave, are particularly notable among these areas.

Converted into one of the buildings that make up the University of Venice, the convent that once stood adjacent to the church no longer exists.

9. Church of Madonna dell’ Orto

As we make our way back to Cannaregio, we continue our search for the Venetian master painter Tintoretto, who was active in the 16th century. In point of fact, he was born right about here, in the neighbourhood of the Church of Madonna dell’ Orto, and it was here that his remains made their permanent abode.

Church of Madonna dell' Orto
Beautiful Churches in Venice: Church of Madonna dell’ Orto
Marc Ryckaert, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is also one of the most interesting churches to visit in Venice because its facade is made of terracotta. This facade is a witness to the transition from Romanesque to Gothic and then to Renaissance architecture. The interior, which features ancient terracotta and an Istrian stone floor, is undoubtedly another detail that will contribute to the overall attractiveness of the property.

10. Chiesa di Santa Maria del Giglio

Santa Maria del Giglio, also known as Santa Maria Zobenigo to Venetians, is a church that dates back to the late 17th century and is located just a few minutes away from St. Mark’s Square. There are a number of statues on the facade that are dedicated to the Barbaro family, who were responsible for providing financial support for its construction.

The interior is organized around a single nave and features a collection of works dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.

There are a number of paintings in this collection that were created on canvas by Palma the Younger, Veronese, Tintoretto, Zanchi, and finally Rubens. The canvas of the latter, titled Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist, is the only one of the artist’s canvases that has been preserved in Venice. It can be found in the sacristy of the church.

11. Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

One of the oldest churches in Venice is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which dates back to the 11th century. It was first constructed in 639 AD on the island of Torcello, and since then, it has undergone several renovations.

Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Torcello island Veneto Italy
Beautiful Churches in Venice: Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta on Torcello island

When compared to the facades of other Venetian churches, this one is rather unremarkable; however, the interior of the building is truly breathtaking. The interior of the church features a stunning mosaic floor designed in the Byzantine style. The floor is almost entirely covered by the mosaic, and it is adorned with animal figures and geometric shapes.

It is believed that this magnificent piece of artwork, which was created by master craftsmen from Venice in the 11th or 12th century, is one of the oldest mosaics that are still in existence on the entire planet.

It’s possible that the skull of Saint Cecilia, which is kept here as a relic, is what brings the most visitors to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, despite the fact that it houses a number of beautiful works of art, including a rendition of the Last Judgement.

If you want to get a feel for what Venice was like centuries ago, a trip to the Torcello Cathedral is a must if you want to feel like you’ve travelled back in time. If you are planning to visit Torcello, I wrote another article about the Beautiful Islands in Venice (Italy) That Are Worth Visiting. I would encourage you to read to know more about the Lagoon islands of the Veneto region.

12. Church of the Santissimo Redentore

Known also as the Church of the Santissimo Redentore, the Church of Il Redentore was designed and constructed in the 16th century by the renowned architect Andrea Palladio, who was also responsible for the construction of San Giorgio Maggiore.

Church of the Santissimo Redentore in Venice Italy
Beautiful Churches in Venice: Church of the Santissimo Redentore in Venice Italy

This Venetian cathedral was constructed in 1575 and 1576 on the island of Giudecca, which is located just south of Venice’s main island. Its construction was done to commemorate the end of a devastating plague epidemic.

The impressive structure known as Il Redentore is a prime example of Palladian architecture. It has a grand Neoclassical facade that is adorned with six Ionic columns, two large bells on either side and a massive dome in the center.

The church’s interior is decorated with paintings created by influential artists such as Francesco Bassano, Lazzaro Bastiani, Carlo Saraceni, Jacopo Bassano, and Palma the Younger. The exterior of the church is constructed with white stucco and gray stone.

Redentore is a festival that is held in Venice every year in the month of July to celebrate the end of the plague. The fireworks are launched from Giudecca, and a bridge is constructed over the Grand Canal so that locals can get to the church without having to go around it.

If you find yourself in Venice during this spectacular event, don’t forget to take advantage of everything it has to offer!

13. San Giacomo di Rialto

Church of San Giacomo di Rialto is said to be the oldest of all of Venice’s churches, despite the fact that Venice is home to hundreds of churches, the majority of which date back a significant amount of time.

San Giacomo di Rialto
Beautiful Churches in Venice: San Giacomo di Rialto
Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

This church is said to have been consecrated on March 25, 421, the very date that the legendary founding of Venice is said to have taken place. The church can be found right next to the famous Rialto Bridge. Documents that date back to the 14th century attribute the construction of the church to a carpenter who was assisted in his work by citizens of Padua, which is located in close proximity.

The findings of recent research seem to disprove this story, suggesting that the church was founded much later. It is not shown on a map from the year 1097, and the earliest known document that refers to the church was written in 1152.

Regardless of its age, San Giacomo di Rialto is a peculiar church. It has a bell gable rather than the traditional bell tower, as well as a large 24-hour clock with only one hand and a rotated quadrant, which places noon on the left and midnight on the right. In addition, the church contains one of the very few Gothic porticoes that are still standing in Venice.

In front of the church was the important Rialto market, and there are some inscriptions on the apse of the church that encourage the merchants to conduct themselves in an honest manner.

14. Chiesa dei Santi Geremia e Lucia

In the Cannaregio sestiere of Venice, northern Italy, there is a church called San Geremia. Between the Palazzo Labia and the Palazzo Flangini, the church’s apse looks out onto the Grand Canal in Venice. The building is well-known for housing the shrine to Saint Lucy of Syracuse, whose remains are kept there.

Here, a church was built for the first time in the eleventh century, and it was later rebuilt several times. It is mentioned in 1206 as housing the remains of St. Magnus of Oderzo (died 670), who sought safety from the Lombards in this region.

Under Doge Sebastiano Ziani, there was a first reconstruction, and the new church was dedicated in 1292. Carlo Corbellini created the current building in 1753, and the façade was added in 1861. Two thin Romanesque mullioned windows can be found at the base of the brickwork bell tower, which is thought to have been built in the 12th century.

During their successful siege of the city in 1849 during the First Italian War of Independence, Austrian shelling caused damage to the church. On June 27, 1998, a fire occurred.

The walls inside are relatively neutral. With two statues of St. Peter and St. Jeremy Apostle (1798) by Giovanni Ferrari, the altar and its presbytery are noteworthy. Two Angels Holding the Globe is a monochrome Agostino Mengozzi Colonna fresco that decorates the altar background. The fourth altar is embellished with a piece by Palma the Younger, “The Virgin at the Incoronation of Venice by St. Magnus.”

The church houses statues by Giovanni Marchiori and Giovanni Maria Morlaiter, including the Madonna of the Rosary (Immaculate Conception). The presence of Saint Lucy’s relics, which were brought here in 1861 when the nearby church dedicated to her was destroyed, makes the church a popular destination for pilgrims and a source of widespread devotion. The saint’s face was given a silver mask in 1955 by Angelo Roncalli, who would later become Pope John XXIII and the Patriarch of Venice, to shield it from dust.

15. Santa Maria di Nazareth Church

The Church of the Scalzi, also known as Santa Maria di Nazareth, is one of the most significant structures in the Cannaregio Venetian District. A must-see stop on your “tourist pilgrimage to Venice,” the church is a genuine masterpiece of the late Venetian Baroque and is situated close to the Santa Lucia Railway Station and the Ponte degli Scalzi.

Santa Maria di Nazareth Church in Venice
Beautiful Churches in Venice: Santa Maria di Nazareth Church
Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Discalced Carmelites, who had obtained approval from the Senate of Venice to construct a new monastic complex, commissioned the construction of the sanctuary in the 18th century. In order to finally construct the much-desired church and monastery, the religious purchased gardens along the Grand Canal in the vicinity of Santa Lucia after experiencing some initial difficulties. The opulent building was commissioned by the Carmelites and designed by Baldassarre Longhena.

However, the prestigious facade, which was constructed with the help of the wealthy patron Gerolamo Cavazza, was designed between 1672 and 1680 by Giuseppe Sardi, another significant architect of the time. After the work was completed in 1705 and the church was solemnly consecrated, significant restoration work was done between 1853 and 1862 at the Austrian government’s request.

Among the over a hundred of beautiful churches in Venice, I hope you appreciate the beauty, history and cultural significance of these religious places and some turned into museums. It is an integral part of the Venetian culture and Italians due to their adoration and practice of the Roman Catholic faith.

Have you been to any of these beautiful churches in Venice, Italy? Which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comment box below!

Beautiful Churches in Venice Italy Worth Visiting pin
Beautiful Churches in Venice Italy Worth Visiting

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Everything Zany Dual Citizen Travel Blog

Everything Zany

Travel Blog

Everything Zany Travel Blog exploring the UK and beyond. Sharing travel guides, tips, history, and culture. Our travel media brand is founded by travel and hotel industry expert – Ryazan Tristram, a Dual Citizen (British – Filipina) based in Birmingham, UK. Everything Zany is a reputable and award-winning travel blog. Our work and contributions have been featured in Huffington Post, CNBC, Discovery Channel, GMA, Readers Digest, and Lonely Planet. Our missions are to build a great travel community and resource of travel tips, visas, and travel guides for travelers. Join us as we travel around the UK and beyond with a mission to share the best of the world.

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