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Santi Giovanni e Paolo

Venice's Pantheon

Tomb of Doge Pietro Mocenigo

The huge Gothic Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, better known in Venice as San Zanipolo, is the most important church on the right bank after St Mark’s.

Every now and then, Venice left its splendid isolation to join the Italian mainstream. One such occasion came during the great 13th-century religious revival begun by Saints Francis and Dominic, whose minor orders sought to bring the faith directly to the people by preaching and works of charity. Rather than dwell in self-absorbed monasteries, the Franciscans and Dominicans built jumbo utilitarian churches in the cities to bring their message to the biggest possible congregations.

Every Italian city, Venice included, has one impressive example from each order; the Franciscans built Venice’s Frari church, and this one is the Dominicans’, decreed in June 1234, a month before Dominic was canonized.

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Top Sights

Venetian Gothic

Early Renaissance Art

High Renaissance



Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Axbay, Creative Commons License, Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls