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Santa Maria della Visitazione

also known as San Gerolamo dei Gesuati

Santa Maria della Visitazione

This, formerly San Gerolamo dei Gesuati, was the ‘original’ church of the Jesuates or Gesuati, a little known order. Officially, the Clerici apostolici Sancti Hieronymi, they were founded in Siena in the 14th century and became familiarly known as 'poor Jesuates' because of their constant calling upon the name of Jesus and their poverty.

The Venetian government gave them a monopoly on distilling wine, enabling them to raise enough many to build this church and monastery, initially called San Gerolamo dei Gesuati, in 1524.

After reforms of the Council of Trent, the order declined. When it was suppressed in 1668, the Dominicans snatched up the property, and the church took on its current dedication to Santa Maria della Visitazione which is also the real name as La Pietà on the Riva degli Schiavoni.

The Dominicans were popular, and it wasn't long before the church was too small to squeeze in the congregation, so in the 18th century they built another church just down the Zattere, a much grander one, rather confusingly known as the ‘Gesuati’, not to be confused with the similar sounding Jesuit church, Gesuiti over in Castello...

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High Renaissance



Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls