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Basilica de San Giovanni e Paolo

Basilica de San Giovanni e Paolo (36)

For practical reasons, the Venetians contract the names of the saints Giovanni and Paolo (John and Paul)and refer to this church as that of San Zanipolo. The old marshlands in which it stands were conditioned at the end of the 13th century and a community of Dominicans promoted the construction of the temple, which was consecrated in 1430.

An authentic icon of Venetian Gothic style, its direct rival in magnificence has traditionally been Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. While the structure of the building, which comprises, for example, five apses and a nave with cross vaulting, is fully Gothic, the beautiful portico is a transitional element that points towards the future architectural glories of the Quattrocento.

This practically Renaissance entrance door stands out over a background of brick on the façade and was designed during the 15th century by Antonio Gambello. Some of its elements are well worth mentioning, such as the relief work attributed to Bartolomeo Bon and the marble columns, which come from a church in Torcello.

The interior, supported by large columns of Istrian stone, houses notable works of art, such as the canvases by Veronese which decorate the Cappella del Rosario, the frescos by Giambattista Piazzetta and the ceiling of the Cappella di San Domenico or the Polyptych of Saint Vincent Ferrer, painted by Giovanni Bellini.

The great importance of San Zanipolo lies, however, in the fact that it forms an enormous pantheon in which the remains of 25 Venetian doges rest. The funerary monuments placed here clearly show the art of sculptors of the category of Pietro Lombardo, author of the sepulchres of Nicolò Marcello and Pietro Mocenigo, and his son Tullio, author of the spectacular tomb of Andrea Vendramin.

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