Religious Sites
in Venice (Italy)
Cruise Port

Basic guide for cruise passengers to Venice to visit the most interesting basilicas, churches and chapels.


Whatever your religious beliefs, a look inside the churches of Venice will be a surprising experience as in most cases the exuberant interiors do not match what could be described as humble exteriors.

One of the best examples is the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari that many ignore while passing by and in its interior holds magnificent collections of art by names like Giovanni Bellini, Donatello, Titian or Paolo Veneziano.

The same can be said about the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo - the Basilica of Saints John and Paul - which is the burial place of 25 Doges, and has an extraordinary ceiling decorated by Veronese; or about the Chiesa di Santo Stefano where the cruise traveler will find another extraordinary display of works by Tintoretto.

Many other churches have very elaborate facades with matching interiors but, as a rule of the thumb, the cruise visitor will do well in having a sneak pick when passing any church. Besides the churches listed below, you will be bound for a pleasant surprise.

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
(I Frari)

Although this Gothic style brick Gothic church known as the “I Frari” isn’t the most beautiful of fancy from the outside, but it holds some of the most significant collections of art in the city. Built by the Franciscan, foundations were laid between 1236 and 1338 on a ground they were granted. Inside you can view the magnificent wooden statue of St John the Baptist by Donatello. Also find two of Titian’s masterpieces near the alter, the Assumption of the Virgin; Giovanni Bellini's triptych Madonna and Child with Saints. All in all, this is a most interesting stop, and holds some of the finest artwork from the past as well as the funerary monuments of Canova, Titian, Claudio Monteverdi and numerous Doges.

Where: Campo dei Frari at the heart of the San Polo district. 
Phone: +39 041 272 8611
Open: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Entrance: Small Fee
Website: Official Site

Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo
(San Zanipolo)

Known by Venetians as San Zanipolo this is a massive Gothic church structure built by the Dominican order between the 13th and 15th century. What you will tour here is Venice’s equivalent to London’s Westminster Abby. Note the stained glass windows at front entrance, a stunning example of stained glass art, and the ceiling decorated by Veronese. Home to many works of art, this church is also home to over twenty-five doges buried here between 1248 and 1778, and also of artists such as Jacopo Tiepolo and Bellini.

Photo of Basilica Giovanni Paolo in Venice, Italy.

Photo ©

Where: Castello District.
Phone: +39 041 523 5913
Open: 7:30 am - 6:30 pm
Entrance: FREE
Website: Official Site

Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli
(The Marble Church)

Also known as the marble church, you will miss the the original semicircular front of the facade. In its interior the cruise traveler you will find the home for a portrait of the Madonna, rumored to have saved a drowned man and healed the scars of a woman. Actually the painting was that of the virgin with child along with two saints. It was built between 1481 and 1489 for this expressed purpose, and then expanded to house the Nuns of St. Clare. Of interest are the paintings in the ceiling, held within fifty divided coffers, depicting various prophets, the work of Vincenzo dale Destre and Lattanzio da Rimini.

Where: Cannaregio
Phone: +39 041 2750462
Open: Saturday to Saturday, 10:30 am to 4:30pm except Monday (10.30 am to 4:00 pm) - last entrance 15 minutes prior to close.
Entrance: You may be asked a €2.50 donation
Website: Official Site

Chiesa di Santo Stefano
(Church of St. Stephen)

Built by Augustinian Hermits during the 13th Century, this church is the 3rd largest monastery church in Venice. A fantastic work of art, you will find it to have a beautiful Gothic entryway, and a ships keel roof. Located in a prestigious area of Venice, it is difficult to imagine that in its center, bullfights and other livestock sport were held here. Inside the Sacristy you will find a museum containing works of some of the greatest names in Renaissance Art from Venice, in particular those of Tintoretto.

Where: Campo Santo Stefano
Phone: +39 041 522 2362
Open: Saturday to Saturday, 10:30 am to 4:30pm except Monday (10.30 am to 4:00 pm) - last entrance 15 minutes prior to close.
Entrance: FREE
Website: Official Site

Chiesa di San Zaccaria
(St. Zechariah Church)

This church sits on the location of the original 9th Century church, replaced by a Romanesque style church in the 12th Century and then a Gothic style in the 14th Century. Within its walls you can find excellent works of art including the Madonna Enthroned with Four Saints, by Giovanni Bellini in 1505 and other important works of art from the time such as Tintoretto and Veneziano. Within the fan vaults of the chapel, Andrea del Castagno, one of the first to bring Renaissance style paintings to Venice, painted frescoes on the ceilings.

Where: Campo San Zaccaria - East of San Marco Square
Phone: +39 041 522 1257
Open: 10:00 am to noon and 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Entrance: FREE

Santa Maria del Rosario (St. Mary of the Rosary)

Officially name Santa Maria del Rosario, the Church of Gesuati (Jesuits) was built between 1726 and 1735, designed by Giorgio Massari. The interior is fascinating, with its ceiling painted by Tiepolo with three frescoes which depict the apparition of Virgin Mary to Saint Dominic and the Glory of St Dominic. These frescoes are some of the first to be done in Venice and are something to be seen. Note the altarpiece created by Jacopo Tintoretto that was totally restored, which depicts the Crucifixion.

Where: Fondamenta delle Zattere
Phone: +39 041 275 0462
Open: Saturday to Saturday, 10:30 am to 4:30pm except Monday (10.30 am to 4:00 pm) - last entrance 15 minutes prior to close.
Entrance: FREE
Website: Official Site

Chiesa di San Sebastiano
(St. Sebastian Church)

This Church of St Sebastian is a Roman Catholic Church from the 16th Century. It has become one of the centers for Venetian artwork, as within its walls you will find the many works of art by Paolo Veronese, painted between 1555 and 1570. On the ceilings you find his work in the Story of Esther and Saint Sebastian themes, and organ with his painted panels along with the depiction of Madonna and child on one of the alters.

Where: Campo San Sebastiano - Dorsoduro
Phone: +39 041 275 0462
Open: Saturday to Saturday, 10:30 am to 4:30pm except Monday (10.30 am to 4:00 pm) - last entrance 15 minutes prior to close.
Entrance: €2.50
Website: Official Site

Chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto
(Off Track)

You will find the stone facade of this church to be one of the most fascinating in Venice, as it shows the transition from Romanesque to Gothic and then to Renaissance. Sitting above the walls you will find statues of the twelve Apostles of Jesus, and above the entry door statues of St Christopher, the Madonna and Archangel Gabriel, created by Nicolo di Giovanni Fiorentino. The works by Tintoretto and Bellini are worth a visit to the interior.

Where: Cannareggio
Phone: +39 041 719933
Open: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Entrance: You will be asked a donation
Website: Official Site

Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore
(Off Track)

You will find this church sitting on the small island of San Giorgio Maggiore, built in the 16th Century, by the famous architect Andrea Palladio. The first church was located on this island back in the 8th Century. What you find today was built between 1565 and 1610, and made of white marble and brick. Amongst the many paintings of interest, three late Tintorettos shouldn't be missed: the Fall of Manna in the Desert, a Last Supper and a Deposition.

Where: In the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore - access by water taxi or vaporetto only
Phone: +39 041 522 7827
Open: Monday to Saturday 9:30 am to noon and 2.30 pm to 6.30 pm - Sunday: 2.00 pm to 6.30 pm
Entrance: CONTENT
Website: Official Site

Santa Maria della Salute
(Off Track)

The first stone for this masterpiece of a church was laid in 1631 when the then Senate sought to honor the Virgin Mary of Good Health for delivery of Venice from the plague. The massive octagonal dome contains an image of the Virgin Mary, and can be viewed from the Grand Canal. Recognized by most as a distinguished landmark and one of the most beautiful churches in Venice, this church is referred to as “La Salute”. Within you will find three chapels as you walk on the beautiful marble floors, and find in the center the five roses in it.

Where: Fondamenta Salute - east of Peggy Guggenheim Collection - Dorsoduro
Phone: +39 041 241 1018
Open: Mon-Sat: 10:00 am to noon and 3:00 pm to 5:00 p.m. | Sunday: 15:00 to 17:00
April and May: Mon-Sat: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Sunday: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Entrance: Church: FREE. Museum: € 4.00
Website: Official Site

Il Redentore - Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore
(Church of the Most Holy Redeemer)

This great 16th Century church was built to give thanks for the deliverance of Venice from the terror and loss of life of the plague. One of the most famous churches in Venice this church was designed by Andrea Palladio and is a masterpiece of Renaissance design. For hundreds of years on the third weekend in July, the doge held a pilgrimage giving thanks for ending this plague. Within the walls you will find many great works of art by Veronese, Tintoretto, Bassano, Paolo Piazza, and Palma il Giovane.

Where: Giudecca - access by Vaporetto or Water Taxi ONLY
Phone: +39 041 275 0462
Open: Saturday to Saturday, 10:30 am to 4:30pm except Monday (10.30 am to 4:00 pm) - last entrance 15 minutes prior to close.
Entrance: €3.00
Website: Official Site

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