Auditorium Santa Margherita
The Auditorium is a historic building from the ninth century. While it is now in use as a theatre, it was formerly a church dedicated to Saint Margaret. The valuable painting on the ceiling depicting the saint’s martyrdom is what remains of the frescos that once adorned this church. It is located in Campo Santa Margherita, which can be reached quickly and easily from PiazzaleRoma and the railway station, and it is one of the liveliest places in the city. The Auditorium can seat 237 people and has recently updated systems for controlling lighting, projecting videos, simultaneous translation and video documentation. It can hold large-scale events such as theatrical productions, film festivals, conferences and congresses, national and international seminars and conventions.
The Church of San Giovanni and Paolo
The church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo – sometimes also referred to as San Zanipolo – is one of Venice’s largest churches, and it was built to honor Sts. John and Paul. It is a parish church of the Vicariate of San Marco-Castello and is the principal Dominican church of Venice. The first church on this location was ordered by Doge Jacopo Tiepolo, who gave the land on which it stood to the Dominicans after he dreamed of a flock of white doves flying over the area, which was – at that time – swampland. The Dominicans opened the first church there in 1246. That structure was demolished in 1333 when the growing congregation prompted the need for a larger building. However, it took nearly a century to build the new church, which finally opened and was consecrated in 1430.
Santi Giovanni e Paolo is built in the Italian Gothic Style and is made of brick. Many noble families favored it as a burial place and about 25 doges as well as military commanders and other famous men of the Republic, including several artists, have assumed a final resting place there, housed in ornately decorated tombs. The many tombs of notables earned the church the nickname ‘Pantheon of Venice’. The artwork is plentiful. The main altar, dedicated to Vincenzo Ferrer, a Spanish Dominican saint, is decorated by a large polyptych by Giovanni Bellini and an altarpiece by Lorenzo Lotto displays the alms of Saint Anthony. The bell tower has 3 bells in D major.
The Church of San Pietro di Castello
The basilica of San Pietro di Castello played a central role in Venetian history. From 775 to 1451 it was a Diocesan Church under the Patriarchate of Grado, then later became a Cathedral in its own right and the seat of the Patriarch of Venice until 1807. San Pietro stands on the antique island of Olivolo, now known as Castello, which was the first residential settlement and became the religious, political, and commercial centre in the lagoon. The first church here was built in the VII century and was dedicated to the Byzantine Saints Sergio and Bacco; whilst the new basilica, dedicated to Saint Pietro the Apostle, was part of a group of churches that Bishop Magno had constructed in the IX century. The present building is the result of work carried out at the end of the XVI century and during the first three decades of the XVII century: the renovation of the facade is the work of Francesco Smeraldi based on original designs by Andrea Palladio in 1556. The imposing bell-tower in Istrian stone is an elegant Renaissance structure designed by Mauro Codussi (1482-1490).
The internal part of the cathedral has a Latin-cross form, divided by three naves and surmounted by a massive cupola. The predominate decoration is from the seventeenth-century, realized after the fire that destroyed the furniture and treasure of the antique church. Noteworthy is also the high altar of inlaid polychrome marble designed in 1649 by Baldassare Longhena and containing an urn with the remains of the first patriarch of Venice, Saint Lorenzo Giustiniani. To reinforce the fascinating primigenie of this antique church, on the right nave is placed the so-called Cathedral of Saint Pietro, traditionally considered the seat of Saint Antiochia and vice versa the work originated from Antiochia, but probably assembled in the XIII century utilizing an ancient Arab funeral stele with inscriptions from the Koran. The main artistic treasures of the church are found in the right and left chapels of the presbytery, respectively, the masterpiece of Pietro Liberi (1660) “The Plague of Serpents” and the unique cross of wood and embossed copper, again an assemblage of Romanesque, Byzantine and 14th-century work.
The Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
The Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (St. Mary of the Friars), known locally as i Frari, is one of the greatest churches of Venice. It stands on the Campo dei Frari at the heart of the San Polo district of the city. The church is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary (Assunzione della Beata Virgine) and is notable for its many masterpieces of Venetian Renaissance art and monuments to Renaissance sculptors and artists. The Franciscanswere granted land to build a church here in 1250, but the building was not completed until 1338. Work almost immediately began on its much larger replacement, the current church, which took over a century to build. The campanile (bell tower), the second tallest in the city after that of San Marco, was completed in 1396.
The imposing Frari is built of brick in the Italian Gothic style. The exterior is deliberately plain in accordance with the Franciscan emphasis on poverty and austerity. The interior is light and spacious. It contains the only rood screen still in place in Venice and many excellent examples of Renaissance art. Look for Titian’s Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro in the left aisle. The Virgin was modelled after the artist’s wife, who died in childbirth soon after. Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin, over the main altar, was unveiled in 1518. It was not initially accepted by the church because of the innovative style and bright colors, especially the trademark red, but these features would later make it famous. Titian himself, who died of the plague in 1576, is buried in a monumental tomb in the church.
MUSICAL INFORMATION (Aldo Bova “Venice places of music”)
There are detailed news of the existence, from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth century, of a vocal and instrumental ensemble with two organists and a choirmaster. On December 9, 1643 a solemn memorial service by Claudio Monteverdi was held in the Basilica. In November 1861 Richard Wagner was impressed by the painting Assunta by Titian “… it gave me an emotion full of extraordinary aesthetic elevation … I decided to compose the Meistersinger … in music there is nothing so accomplished “. The two singers’ galleries above the chancel were added in the eighteenth century: The organ on the left side has one keyboard and 11 registers and is the oldest and is attributed to Giovan Battista Piaggia (1732); the right one, one keyboard and 20 registers, is a Callido. The third organ, hidden behind the high, altar is a Mascioni (1928) with three keyboards and 20 registers. In the second chapel on the left of the main altar the Ark of the Milanese can be found, this is the place where Monteverdi was buried.