San Giovanni e Paolo

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San Giovanni e Paolo is an important monumental area in Venice, second only to that of S. Mark's. San Giovanni e Paolo Square is one of the busiest in the city, because it lies in a strategic position between the Fondamente Nove (and Murano) and the center of Venice, between Barbaria delle Tole and the Cannaregio district. In San Giovanni and Paolo Square there are some bars with tables outside with a great view, among them the "Rosa Salva". In the nearby of the square are located a few local taverns "osterie" where you can eat at affordable prices. There are three major attractions in this area that the Venetians also called Zanipolo: the Church of San Giovanni e Paolo, the Scuola di San Marco and the Colleoni Monument.

San Giovanni e Paolo church

San Giovanni e Paolo church

This church was built alongside a convent of Dominicans donated by the Doge Jacopo Tiepolo in 1234. It was built in the middle of the 13th century and the construction lasted for nearly 2 centuries until the year of the consecration that took place in 1430. The architects of this grand religious edifice were the Dominicans Nicola da Imola and Benvenuto da Bologna. San Giovanni e Paolo church is built in Gothic style and it was the real Venice "Pantheon", to the point that there are buried up to 25 doges. In ancient times there was also an obligation to celebrate inside the funerary function of all the Doges. The basilica's facade was not finished but you can still watch the impressive portal built in the second half of the fifteenth century and the turnout of some Doges including those of the same Doge Jacopo Tiepolo and his son Lorenzo.

The interior of the church is majestic, the plant building was built on a Latin cross with three naves and a cruise, supported by 5 massive columns on each side. The dimensions of the San Giovanni e Paolo church, (96 meters by 40), are almost similar to that of the Frari, built simultaneously. The facade entrance wall is almost completely occupied by the Monument to Doge Mocenigo. The aisles have fine paintings, including those of Giovanni Bellini, GB Piazzetta, Alvise and Bartolomeo Vivarini, Jacopo Palma il Vecchio and il Giovane, Tintoretto, Titian, Paolo Veronese to name just a few. There are many memorials in San Giovanni e Paolo church, the most famous on the right aisle, is dedicated in honor of Marcantonio Bragadin, and includes the bust of the greatest Venice's hero, along with the urn containing his skin. Also remarkable are the tombs of some noble families: Michiel, Loredan, Morosini, Vendramin, Cavalli, Venier, Malipiero, Marcello, Soranzo, Contarini, Barbarigo Dandolo. Inside of the church are buried also Attilio and Emilio Bandiera and Domenico Moro, who were unlucky protagonists of the Italian Risorgimento. Here are the times of Holy Mass in the Basilica of San Giovanni e Paolo: festive 8.30, 10.30, 12.00 (no July-August) and 18.30 weekdays 8.30 and 18.30. The entrance to the Church of San Giovanni e Paolo for tourists costs 2,50 euros, the admittance for residents is free. Opening hours: daily 7.30-12.30 and 15.30-19.30 (telephone +39 041 5235913).

Scuola Grande di San Marco

Scuola Grande di San Marco

It has a Renaissance facade located in Campo San Giovanni e Paolo and was built on a sophisticated project of Pietro Lombardo and Mauro Codussi between 1487 and 1495. This was one of the six Scuole Grandi in Venice. It existed since 1261 and was previously located in the Church of Santa Croce. The interior is more restrained even if inside is visible a great hall supported by columns. Later you can enjoy the remarkable cloisters. The school was established since the opening of Ospedale Civile in 1815, that is currently the only hospital in Venice, after the closure of facilities such Giustinian, the Fatebenefratelli Hospital or the Ospedale al Mare in Lido di Venezia.

Osterie in San Giovanni e Paolo


Osteria alla Staffa
Calle de l'Ospealeto 6398, Castello, a stone's throw from San Giovanni e Paolo. Opening: 11,00am-3,00pm and 6,00pm-10,30pm. Specialties: liver alla veneziana, bigoli in sauce. Phone: +39 041 5239160.

Osteria al Ponte
Calle Larga Giacinto Gallina 6378, Cannaregio. 6378 Calle Larga Giacinto Gallina, Cannaregio. Opposite of the facade of San Giovanni e Paolo, just across the Ponte Cavallo. Open: 07,30-15,30 and 16,30-22,00, all week. Specialties: Cicchetti and wines. Phone: +39 041 5286157.

Colleoni Monument

Colleoni Monument

Bartolomeo Colleoni (born in Solza, 1395 or 1400 - died in Malpaga, 2 November 1475) was named Captain General of the Venetian Republic, and was probably the greatest captain of the fifteenth century. He defended the domains of land in the Republic of Venice with such a bravery that at his death, the Senate decided to dedicate to his memory an equestrian monument (thanks to his bequest of one hundred thousand gold ducats too). The execution of the monument to Colleoni, in bronze, was then entrusted to Andrea Verrocchio, who began carving in 1481 and was opened in March 21, 1496. Colleoni wanted his statue was placed in Piazza San Marco, but the Venetians, thanks to a subtle play on words, moved the location of the statue in Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, exactly in front of the Scuola Grande di S. Marco. Marco. The equestrian monument to Colleoni is one of the masterpieces of the Renaissance and the most beautiful work in bronze in the city.

How to get to San Giovanni e Paolo

San Giovanni e Paolo: Hospital

In order to reach San Giovanni e Paolo from Piazzale Roma or the train station, take vaporetto line 4.2 or 5.2 and get off at stop "Fondamente Nove" (journey time approximately 23 minutes, fare 6,50 euro). From St. Mark's to get to San Giovanni e Paolo take the way to Campo Santa Maria Formosa and then to Calle Lunga and finally turn left and follow the directions. From Rialto to San Giovanni e Paolo go through S. Bartolomeo, Ponte di S. Antonio, then Salizzada S. Lio, Santa Maria Formosa, then as above. From S. Zaccaria, by boat, take vaporetto line 4.1, 30-minute ride, the pier "Fondamente Nove" is rather close to San Giovanni e Paolo. From airport Marco Polo to get to San Giovanni e Paolo take the boats provided by the Blue Line Alilaguna (tickets cost 15,00 euros) and get off at stop "Fondamente Nove". From the train station or from Piazzale Roma to go to the Ospedale Civile (San Giovanni e Paolo) take vaporetto line 5.2, and get off to the pier "Ospedale".

The big Hospital San Giovanni e Paolo, (phone +39 041 5294516), has an excellent department of ophthalmology (phone +39 041 5294427), which is specialized in corneal transplantation, (Cornea Center, ph. +39 041 5294591). For this reason it is frequented by patients from all over Italy, waiting for operation or monitoring visits.

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