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San Martino

The church of the Ship Caulkers

San Martino

Dedicated to St Martin of Tours, this church of the ship caulkers, conveniently located near the Arsenale, is another one said to date way way way back, even to a band of Paduans who took refuge in Venice in 593.

The current church is the work of Sansovino, begun in 1546 and consecrated in 1653. The doorway was designed by Sansovino; the rest of the façade was added in 1897. Note the bocca di leone (it looks more like a cat suffering from a belly ache): this one was used for complaints about blasphemy and irreverence, which, one imagines may have been quite common among Arsenale workers, who probably accidently hammered their thumbs more than once.

Bocca di Leone

Although San Martino has a likeable, hodgepodge of art inside, it doesn't have any really first rate stuff. The ceiling is covered with some strangely distorted 17th-century quadratura architectural frescoes that create a false cupola, painted by Domenico Bruni from Brescia.

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High Renaissance



Festivals and Events

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Didier Descouens, Creative Commons License, Gerry Labrijn, Creative Commons License, San Martino in Veneto