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San Cassiano and its campo

And the world's first public opera house

This lacklustre, façade-less old box of a church that looks more like a storage facility was founded in the 13th century but reincarnated in the 17th century (except for its detached medieval campanile).

The interior has more than a touch of comfy Great Auntie, with its chandeliers and pillars wrapped in flocked fabric, but it also has a startling masterpiece by Tintoretto: a dynamic Crucifixion, composed as if the viewer were just under the cross, looking up as the Roman soldier climbs the ladder to nail on the sign reading INRI; John Ruskin declared it was the finest Crucifixion painting in Europe.

St Cassian (left) and St Cecilia (right) with Christ

Two other Tintorettos (The Descent into Limbo and The Resurrection) that keep it company have suffered from an unhappy restoration, although in the former the painter’s usual flair for drama finds expression in the fury of Christ bursting out of the tomb.

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High Renaissance


San Polo/Santa Croce

Streets, Squares and Gardens

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Jacopo Tintoretto , PD art, Web gallery of Art