In Campo San Vidal, at the southernmost end of Campo Santo Stefano is the deconsecrated church of San Vitale (or Vidal). The original was built in 1094 by Doge Vitale Falier; it burned in 1105, and was rebuilt, then rebuilt for the last time with a pseudo-Palladian façade by Antonio Gaspari (1696), paid for the Morosini clan to celebate Francesco's defeat of the Turks in the Peloponnese. Deconsecrated and restored in 2000, it's now used for Vivaldi concerts.
In its day, San Vitale was the site of an unusual ceremony, celebrating the anniversary of the execution of Doge Marin Falier; the current Doge would attend Mass, followed throughout by a priest bearing a phial of red liquid symbolizing the traitor’s blood, a humiliating reminder of the consequences of challenging the state.
Of the paintings, the most beautiful is Carpaccio’s San Vitale on a white horse with two pedestrian saints, over the high altar. Also note Sebastiano Ricci’s Immaculate Conception, a study in blue and white draperies, and the Guardian Angel with St Anthony of Padua and St Gaetano of Thiene by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta; the Relief of the Annunciation by Antonio Tarsi is lovely too.
Note the ancient Roman inscription embedded in the foot of the campanile (to the left of the façade), itself a survivor of the original 11th-century church.
Images by: Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls, Cristian Martinez