An ancient church and convent, Santa Maria degli Angeli was rebuilt in the late 15th century by the procurator and future doge, Agostino Barbarigo, whose two daughters became nuns there. Over the door is a fine early 16th relief of the Annunciation, said to be by the school of Donatello.
The chuch is famous for a painting it doesn't have: in 1537, Titian was commissioned to paint an Annunciation for the nuns, but they rejected it (especially as Titian was asking 500 ducats for it—he sold it later to Charles V, for four times the price) and commissioned and new one from his arch rival, Il Pordenone, still in place in a lavish setting of stucco angels.
The church also has works by Palma il Giovane (The Virgin in Glory and Saints) and Alessandro Vittoria, and the tomb of the Doge Sebastiano Venier, hero of Lepanto, although his remains were later moved to SS. Giovanni e Paolo. It was such an important church that it was part of the tour given to King Henri III of France in 1574, but its best art was transferred to San Pietro Martire (including its Bellini) when the church was closed in 1848.
The convent was later linked to some of Casanova's tales of libertine nuns, most famously 'CC', Caterina Capretta. It has recently been restored.
Fondamenta Cristoforo Parmense
Images by: Godromil, P-D Art