Church of Saint Stefano - Venice

I am venturing into the murky world of fiction, and one of my characters is based in Venice. This naturally led me to think of parts of Venice that are often passed by, or seldom mentioned.
The Facade
Photo © Adrian Fletcher, 

The chiesa di Santo Stefano sits at the northern end of the Campo Santo Stefano. It is not a small church, but with its entrance not facing into the square but to the cramped street to the side, it is often ignored. The last of the Venetian bullfights took place in the campo, but the bloodshed was not limited to the outdoors. The church, a beautiful example of Gothic architecture, had to be re-consecrated six times during a two hundred and fifty year period due to the amount of blood spilled within, five of those incidents falling between 1556 and 1594. 

The Nave
Photo © Adrian Fletcher, 
A church was first built on the site in the thirteenth century with rebuilding and restoration in the 15th and 18th centuries. It has an impressive interior. Alternating columns of burnt orange and white marble in the north nave support decorated arches beneath the keel roof. The roof is my personal highlight of the church - the wooden beams  rising heavenward; the columns in the central aisle appear to be braced by beams whose ends echo the gondola’s prow - all reminders of Venice's maritime heritage. The side aisles are lined with marble altars.  The sacristy is brimming with artworks including one treasure – Tintoretto’s 'The Last Supper'. Unlike da Vinci’s Last Supper, of which there is but one, a good number of the churches of Venice are decorated with Tintoretto’s many versions of the subject. 
The Keel Ceiling
Photo © Adrian Fletcher, 

Pisa is not the only Italian town to have a leaning bell tower, the campanile that is 'belongs' to Santo Stefano also stands at a jaunty angle. The original tower was struck by lightning and collapsed into the surrounding houses in 1585. Rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries the tower is said to still be unstable.
The leaning campanile of Santo Stefano
Reproduced under  Creative Commons Attribuzione-Condividi allo stesso modo 2.0 Generico  License
Author: tentonipe 

This gem of a church with interesting artwork is definitely worth a visit. When wandering towards the Ponte dell'Accademia remember to pop in and savour its treasures.

Opening times
Monday to Saturday 10.00-6.00; Sunday 3.00-6.00
Cloister: Monday to Friday 9.00-1.00

Vaporetto Stop:  Accademia

Map of the churches of Venice


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