This is a preview of the content in our Venice Art & Culture app. Get the app to:
  • Read offline
  • Remove ads
  • Access all content
  • Use the in-app Map to find sites, and add custom locations (your hotel...)
  • Build a list of your own favourites
  • Search the contents with full-text search functionality
  • ... and more!
iOS App Store Google Play


Venice's second best church

The Frari in the mist

Jam-packed with art, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari was the Franciscan rival to the Dominican Santi Giovanni e Paolo, on the other side of town; from St Mark’s campanile the two stand above the higgledy-piggledy of Venice like a pair of brick bookends.

The original Frari, founded in 1250 (just after St Francis’ death), was no sooner completed in 1330 than the current Gothic pile started to rise right next to it. Based on a design by Friar Scipione Bon, it wasn’t completed until 1469.

The Exterior

For Venice, the exterior is very severe, showing only a hint of the native delight in decoration. Venice’s second tallest campanile is its most memorable feature, though there are some good carvings that liven up the stark exterior: a 15th-century Tuscan bas-relief of the Madonna, Child and Angels on the north door, and another nearby with a statue of St Peter; on the west side the Gothic door has works by the school of Bartolomeo Bon and others by Alessandro Vittoria.

Read the full content in the app
iOS App Store Google Play

Top Sights

Venetian Gothic


San Polo/Santa Croce


Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls, Mark Longair, Creative Commons, Patrick Denker