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San Giacometto (San Giacomo di Rialto)

Now the Museo della Musica

San Giacometto

Tradition has it that San Giacomo di Rialto, fondly known as San Giacometto, was the first church built in what is now Venice, perhaps as early as the 5th century. In 1097 it was rebuilt in conjunction with the Rialto markets, but in 1514 it miraculously survived the fire that decimated the rest of the Rialto. It was then fiddled with in 1531 and 1601 to make a stylistic collage that from the outside makes the whole church look like an overgrown mantelpiece clock.

Around the exterior of the apse a 12th-century inscription reads:

Around This Temple Let the Merchant’s Law Be Just, His Weight True, and His Covenants Faithful.

The clock’s 24-hour face has shown the wrong time ever since its installation in the 15th century; its hands get stuck in the same place for so long that art historians have dated scenes of Venice by the time shown on it. The five-columned porch, a type once common in Venetian churches, is the only original one left in the city; the little bell tower over the clock is Baroque.

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Medieval Art and Architecture

Churches

San Polo/Santa Croce

Streets, Squares and Gardens

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls