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San Tomà and its Campo

And the school of shoemakers, too

St Thedore on the facade of San Tomà

Founded in 919 and restored several times since, San Tomà once had a facade by Longhena, but it was at the point of falling off in 1742 when it was replaced by the current classical style front, complete with a rare statue of St Theodore, Venice's first patron saint with his toothy dragon.

It was closed for work in 1984 and has yet to reopen, and probably never will (it's owned by the Frari, which now serves as the parish church for the neighbourhood). In its day however, this church dedicated to St 'Doubting' Thomas was famous, housing one of the biggest batches of relics in all Christendom, including a record 12 intact bodies and 10,000 other bits and pieces accumulated from deconsecrated churches by a particularly dogged parish priest.

It has a charming Gothic Madonna della Misericordia on its flank, and the sarcophagus of Senator Giovanni Priuli from 1375. Rumour has it there are six altars inside, and a ceiling fresco by Vicenzo Guarana.

Opposite the church is the old headquarters of the confraternity of the Shoemakers and Cobblers, or the Scuola dei Calegheri e Zavatteri (now a public library). Its façade bears a charming but badly worn relief by Pietro Lombardo of St Mark Healing the Cobbler Ananias. It also has a Madonna della Misericordia over the door, rescued from the demolished church of Santa Maria dei Servi.

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Vaporetto San Tomà.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls