The Churches of Venice
Even before seeing them, you’ll hear them. Impossible to ignore their sound, the melody of their bells is everywhere, resonating from the wall of one calle to another, from one rio to the next.
The music of churches is everywhere in Venice, awakens us, delights us, and reminds us at regular intervals of their presence, the beating of their heart.
But besides their bells it is as by their steeples, their bell towers, that they demonstrate their presence, true challenges to the laws of nature, built on stilts and yet so high and impressive.
As with the palaces, the churches of Venice are principally built from bricks; the light building material was equally excellent compared to “full” stone. But when one must build such imposing buildings on water, this aspect of the things is obviously essential.
And it was the good choice!
The oldest churches of Venice indeed have reached the 1000 year mark today and this without a wrinkle. Bravo to their architects, nobody would have bet on such a longevity in such a hostile and complex natural environment.
You will see therefore certain churches which have never been “dressed” with marble or other ornaments.
Their facades remained with raw bricks even if they can see on these growths and other elements intended to accept one “skin” of marble or other one richer and nobler material for the eye.
Due to excessive budgets or the death of the donor… many churches were “offered” by rich patrons of the arts who, often so hoped to buy themselves a place in Paradise... The fact remains that certain churches so remained incomplete.
But do not trust only the outside, for inside is often a surprising richness.
Gilding and sculptures are often the prerogative of churches when they speak about richness. But here, it is frequently of yet another kind. More internal, deeper. You can feel that you are in a consecrated place, you feel “elsewhere”.
The very particular ambiences of the Venetian churches, ocean liners along the water, are magnified not only by grandiose paintings and by their sizes, their subjects, but also their artists.
All the greatest Venetian painters, who moreover were often among the most famous of their era, not just in Venice, but in all of Europe, participated in decoration, in setting the soul of the churches of Venice.
Every type and style is present and sometimes even within the same church due to the different augmentations performed over the course of the centuries.
In short, small or large, they have all something, in addition to the pieces of history which they represent, and without them Venice would be very different! Enjoy your visit!
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