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San Marziale

also known as San Marzilian

Church of San Marziale in Venice. Facade and Bell gable.

Although most of the changes imposed on this 9th-century church rebuilt in the 17th century have not been to the its advantage (no other church in Venice has, or used to have, a basketball hoop fixed to it), it has held on to its ceiling frescoes by Sebastiano Ricci (1700–1705), early works by this gallant and colourful if not always very demanding knight of the brush; in the centre the subject is the Glory of St Martial (the first bishop of Limoges in the 3rd century) too grimy to really appreciate, while at the sides are paintings referring to the miraculous icon of the Virgin carved from a tree trunk in the 15th century, which still occupies the second altar on the left.

Looking towards the high altar

Across the nave, there is a painting of St Martial by Tintoretto, of interest only as an example of botched restoration. The chapel around it is florid Baroque to match the ceiling; even better is the high altar, framed with a unique sculptural work designed by an unknown berserker of the late 17th or early18th century (attributed by some to Tommaso Rues).

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Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Didier Descouens, Didier Descouens, Creative Commons License