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San Biagio

The Church of the Arsenale

San Biagio

Adjacent to the Museo di Storico Navale, San Biagio was first built in 1052 as a church for new immigrant arrivals in Venice. As the number of Greek refugees swelled after the fall of Constantinople four hundred years later, the Council of Ten allowed the Greek Orthodox to worship here as well. By the early 1500s the Greeks were petitioning for a larger, exclusive Orthodox church. In 1543 they got their wish and moved into San Giorgio.

In the 1750s, when the church was a ruin, it was completely rebuilt by Francesco Bognolo, the architect of the nearby Arsenale, probably after a design by Filippo Rossi.

After the church was closed by the French in 1810 it was reopened as the chuch of the Navy, an appropriate home for the Monument to Admiral Angelo Emo, by Giovanni Ferrari, which was originally in the now demolished church of Santa Maria dei Servi. Overhead are ceiling frescoes of St Blaise in Glory, attributed to Scagliaro.

The altars lining the walls come from the demolished church of Sant' Anna, and once belonged to the local scuole dedicated to rope-makers, cap-makers, hemp-tanners and snack sellers.

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Calle San Biagio

Hours You'll be lucky to find it open

vaporetto: Arsenale

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Didier Descouens, Creative Commons License