Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Franciscan church with a Titian masterpiece
The church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari belongs to the Order of the Franciscans and was originally erected in the 13th century just outside the current centre. Over time, the Franciscan church proved too small and so they began gradually rebuilding, which was completed with the dedication of the altar in 1469. You enter the seemingly simple Gothic building through a side entrance near the Campanile. The interior takes the form of a beautifully furnished three-nave church with a transept and numerous shrines, apses and chapels.
The interior of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Directly around the main portal at the end of the nave are three tombs recessed in the facade. The grave of the former senator and general during the Turkish wars Girolamo Garzoni is in the middle. It is flanked on either side by the tombs of the procurators Pietro Bernardo and Alvise Pasqualino. A little further, in the left aisle, you will find the grave pyramid of the most important sculptor of the classical era, Antonio Canova (1757-1822). This is only his heart’s final resting place – his remains are interred in the mausoleum in his hometown Possagno. The design for the grave pyramid is by Canova himself and was originally designed for the remains of Titian who died in 1567 because of the plague. However, the famous artist now rests in the tomb exactly opposite in the right aisle. Also of interest is the altar next to Canova’s tomb. It contains the Pesaro Madonna – an altarpiece by Titian. The great carved choir stalls at the transition between the nave and transept are also well worth seeing.
Titian’s masterpiece: “Assumption”
In the main apse, the chancel, you will find Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari’s most valuable artwork. It is the monumental masterpiece by Titian – the altarpiece of the Assumption of Mary (1518). Even from far away it shines with bright colours and shows the Virgin Mary who is floating on a cloud of angels against the sky. In addition to the great altar, the presbytery has a further attraction: the late Gothic tomb of the Doge Francesco Foscari on the right-hand wall. He was the one who initiated the conquest of the Venetian mainland (the so-called “terra ferma”) in the 15th century and completed the campaign. On the opposite wall you will find the tomb of Doge Nicolò Tron in the style of the early Renaissance era.
Chapels in the transept and sacristy
A total ofsevenchapelsare located alongthetranseptwallat theheadof the church. Inthe lefttranseptthereisan altarpiece influenced by Titian inthe Chapelof SanFrancesco.IntheCappellaMilanesithere is agrave stoneofthe composerClaudioMonteverdi(1567-1634). Inthe righttransept, theCapellaFiorentinideservesspecial attention.Hereyou will see awoodenstatueof John theBaptistby Donatello. Many of theworksinthesevenchapelswerecreatedbyBartolomeoVivarini. Afinalhighlightforthevisitorcan be found in thesacristy. Thereisa masterpiecebyGiovanniBellini here: “Madonna Enthroned with Saints”.He created the painting for thefamilycryptof theVenetianfamily ofPesaro.
The adjoiningFranciscan monasterynow actsas aVenetianState Archive. In addition totheVaticanand theArchivesintheformerHabsburgcityof Viennait isthe thirdlargest archivein Europewithmorethan15 millionmanuscripts, booksand documents.
free entrance with Chorus pass
Landing stage: San Tomà