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Church Santa Maria del Giglio  in Venice facade by Giuseppe Sardi.

Baroque was the spectacular new art of Counterreformation Italy, led by the Church and designed to induce temporal obedience and psychical oblivion. Skeptical, worldly Venice, one of the only free states in Italy, managed to resist its charms. On the whole, little of the more excessive brand of Baroque from Rome and north Italy made it to Venice. In the 17th century, Venetian palaces and churches retained most of the manners of the Renaissance, with a few Baroque touches tacked on.

The age does provide some exceptions to the rule: see Baldassare Longhena’s magnificent church of the Salute on the Grand Canal. Longhena, deeply indebted to both Sansovino and Palladio, was Venice’s only Baroque architect of note, and his palette ranged from the massive but exuberant Ca’ Pésaro to the grotesque in the Ospedaletto façade and the lugubrious in the Scalzi.

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A Decline to Remember

Niccolò Bambini

An average Baroque Joe

Bridge of Sighs

Ponte dei Sospiri

Ca' Pesaro

With the Museums of Modern and Oriental Art

Ca' Sagredo

Hotel of pastel giants

Luca Carlevarijs

The first Venetian vedutista

Casino (Palazetto) Bru Zane

One of Venice's oldest and newest concert venues

Giovanni Antonio Fumiani

Painter of a Mighty Big Ceiling

Antonio Gaspari

Late Baroque student of Longhena


Baroque bling

Giulia Lama

Baroque painter finally coming into her own

Gregorio Lazzarini

Tiepolo's teacher

Pietro Liberi

Baroque adventurer and painter

Baldassare Longhena

Venice's Baroque master builder

Johann Lys

German Baroque painter in Venice

Francesco Maffei

Baroque painter from Vicenza

Sebastiano Mazzoni

A Florentine painter in Venice


Baroque gone bad


Early Baroque Venetian painter

Palazzi Barbaro

Henry James's favourite

Palazzo Belloni Battagia

The palace with the obelisks

Palazzo Pisani

Now the Conservatory of Music

Palazzo Zenobio degli Armeni

With a famous hall of mirrors

Filippo Parodi

Follower of Bernini

Nicolò Roccatagliata

Bronze sculptor from Genoa

Tommaso Rues

Also spelled Ruer

San Basso

Today a concert hall

San Beneto

Otherwise known as San Benedetto

San Francesco di Paola

The church with the painted clock

San Geremia e Santa Lucia

Last resting place of St Lucy

San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti

Now part of the city hospital

San Marziale

also known as San Marzilian

San Nicolò al Lido

The bones of Santa Claus

San Pantalon and around

The church with the extraordinary ceiling

San Samuele

Casanova's church

San Simeone Profeta (or Grande)

And Venice’s Sweeney Todd

Sant' Antonin

Pigs and an elephant

Santa Maria del Giglio (Zobenigo)

'Insolent atheism'

Santa Maria della Fava

St Mary of the Broad bean

Santa Maria della Salute

Longhena's masterpiece

Giuseppe Sardi

Designer of church facades


Spooky church next to the train station

Scuola Grande San Teodoro

Now used for Vivialdi concerts

Bernardo Strozzi

'Il prete Genoese'

Pietro della Vecchia

Baroque painter of character (and characters)

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Didier Descouens