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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Venice, Italy - Gesuiti

Chiesa Gesuiti Venezia altareImage via WikipediaBy Harry Preston This is a church built to impress. The Jesuits had a difficult relationship with the citizens of Venice who feared the order's close links with the Papacy. For decades after its formation, the Society of Jesus was not allowed to build a Venetian base. In 1714 Doge Giovanni Corner 11 relented and permission was given for a church in Cannaregio on the site of a 12th-century monastery that had belonged to the Order of the Crociferi. The church of Santa Maria Assunta, known as the Gesuiti, was designed in the baroque style by Domenico Rossi and is even more opulent within than it is on the outside. The interior consists of contrasting green and white marble carved into drapery-like swags and folds. Unfortunately the weight of all this stone has led to a certain amount of subsidence.
Palma di Giovane has a number of paintings in the sacristy of the Gesuiti but the church's real star is Titian, whose Martyrdom of St Lawrence features above the first altar on the left of the nave. Titian, who worked in Venice from 1513 till his death in 1576, used to live nearby on Calle Larga dei Botteri. Opposlte Gesuiti stands the Oratorio dei Crociferi, which is all that remains of the Crociferi monstery built as a hospital for returning crusaders. It is decorated with paintings by Palma di Giovane depicting scenes from the History of the Order of the Crociferi.
Gesuiti is full of history and is definitely a moving experience for any traveller who wishes to immerse themselves in European history.
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