Church of St Giobbe

Church of St GiobbeThe church of St Giobbe is located in the Canaregio district near the bridge ‘dei Tre Archi’. It overlooks the square (campo) of St Giobbe which is also known in Venice as St Agiopo. In 1378 the noble Giobanni Contarini had a small ospice built for the poor and infirm. It is still visible today.

A few years later, in 1428, his daughter Lucia, together with the brothers, Frati Minori Osservanti, created the first hospital dedicated to St Giobbe. 
It was later, with the help of the preacher Bernardino of Siena and future doge Cristoforo Moro, transformed into the church we see today. Work began in 1450 (the church was consecrated in 1493) designed by two architects of the day, Antonio Gambello and Lorenzo di Gian Francesco.

The new Franciscan church was decorated by the great sculptor Pietro Lombardo. He is responsible for all the work in the church but most of all for the entrance door on whose arch are statues of three important Franciscan figures.  In the centre is St Bernardino of Siena, on the left Bishop Tolosa St Ludovico (known in Venice as St Alvise) and on the right is St Anthony of Padua, famous preacher and theologian.

The church has one nave.  One entering, the church can seem to be asymmetrical because the left side has a series of chapels, while the right is linea with four altars.  It is was impossible to build on the right because the church was connected to the pre-existing monastery. 
The asymmetry is in some way corrected by the altar pieces by Marco Basaiti, Giovanni Bellini and Vittore Carpaccio.  They were however removed and transferred to the Accademia Gallery by order of the Austrian government of the time.

The altars in order are:

  • The Foscari family altar with a painting of St Peter of Alcantara and Other Saints by Antonio Zucchi (1750).
  • An altar dedicated to St Giobbe with a painting by Lattanzio Querena of Teofania of St Giobbe (1852).
  • The Sanudo family altar with a work by Bonifacio di Pitani of the Virgin and Child in Glory with Other Saints. (1543).
  • The altar of the Brotherhood of Gondoliers and boat hands of the Marghera ferry with the work of Paris Bordon, Saints Andrew, Peter and Nicola of Bari (1565)At the end of the nave is the perfectly square main altar area which is placed directly under a semi-circular dome. 
  • In the centre is the image of the Eternal Father, in the four corners are the four Evangelists and a triumphant arch surrounded by the statues of the Angel Gabriel and the Annunciation.

In front of the altar dedicated to St Bernardino of Siena are the remains of Doge Moro who asked to be buried barefoot and dressed in the Franciscan habit.  Near him is the tomb of Cardinal Marco Antonio Da Mula.
Two chapels are visible on the sides of the main altar.  The left hand chapel was commissioned by Francesco Maria and the right hand chapel by Pietro Corner.

The church’s monastery was knocked down in1812 to become, together with its vineyard, a botanical garden.  It was closed for many years and reopened as a subsidiary to St Geremia and in 1952 became the main parish church.

Useful information:

Visiting times:  from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4.45pm
Entrance: tickets must be bought
Telephone:  041 715881
Mass Times:  Saturday evening at 6pm, Sundays, 10am, weekdays 5.30pm (winter) 6pm (summer).  Tourist visits are suspended during mass.

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