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San Giuseppe di Castello

A modest convent church

Church of San Giuseppe di Castello in Venice.

One of Venice’s more obscure churches, dedicated to St Joseph (or Sant' Iseppo) this church was built in 1515 by the Senate by popular demand: every other saint on the calendar (and many figures from the Old Testament, too) had a church in Venice, so why not Joseph?

It wasn't fair. Augustan nuns were brought in from Verona, replaced in 1801 by the Salesian Order, who still own it today. The convent now serves as a nautical school.

Prettily set next to a bridge, it has a simple, classical façade with an Adoration of the Magi over the door, commissioned by the Grimani family, who took a personal interest in the church.

Within, it preserves a rare barco, or wooden gallery, where the nuns used to sing. The most impressive monument is the left aisle’s Tomb of Doge Marino Grimani (d. 1605), designed by Scamozzi with figures and good reliefs (a Nativity with angel musicians) sculpted by Gerolamo Campagna. Look for paintings: an Adoration of the Shepherds by Veronese and Tintoretto’s deliciously-entitled Archangel Michael Overcoming Lucifer in the Presence of a Venetian Senator.

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High Renaissance



Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Didier Descouens