Hidden treasures

The ceiling of Santa Maria degli Scalzi Church in Venice and the bombings of World War I

Historical Curiosities
scalzi-chiesa

The ceiling of Santa Maria degli Scalzi Church in Venice and the bombings of World War I

Venice suffered more than other Italian cities during the First World War, being very close to the border with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, enemy of Italy during the war.

During the war the city suffered 42 air raids injuring 84 people, the death of 52 civilians, extensive damage to the artistic heritage, homes, industries and public buildings. The Arsenal, the railway station and St Mark's Square were repeatedly hit. The bombings held the people in a state of constant tension. Moreover, even before the conflict began in Italy (24 May 1915), the city began to feel the devastating effects as commercial traffic and tourism activities were stopped.

The damage to the artistic heritage of the city was calculated at 22 million lire. The most serious loss was to a precious fresco by Tiepolo in the Scalzi church which was destroyed by the bombing on 24 October 1915: the remains of the work were later sold and the benefits were donated to the Red Cross.

The work represented the Transportation of the House of Loreto, painted by the great painter Giambattista Tiepolo in 1743.  Only the plumes that supported the vault and a few other fragments, now housed in the Accademia Gallery, remained.

It was in an attempt to remedy this loss, that in the period 1929-1933, Ettore Tito painted two works for the church: a canvas of 100 square metres, and a fresco of 400 square metres.

The author of our fascinating section is a licensed tour guide in Venice. If you would like to visit the city with her, book a private tour guide. Thanks to the experience she has gained during her years of activity and the passion she puts into her work, Francesca will give you the best that this incredible city offers its visitors!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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