Hidden treasures

The Dominicans Library in the Santi Giovanni e Paolo Convent in Venice

Unknown places & works
SSgiovanniepaolo

The Dominicans Library in the Santi Giovanni e Paolo Convent in Venice

The hospital of Venice is really a complex of singular buildings. Once  there was the Scuola Grande of St Mark's  and the Dominicans convent. After the Napoleonic suppression a considerable part of these institutions was partially lost, but something still remains...

On the first floor of the hospital, on a long corridor where there were the monks' cells, there is the door of the Convent Library. It was rebuilt in its present form at the end of 1600s by the famous architect Baldassarre Longhena, to house the rich collection of manuscripts and illuminated manuscripts that the Dominican friars consulted for their theological studies.

The walls were decorated with the book cabinets and interspersed with carved statues representing the greatest heretics of the time (for example, Martin Luther or Calvin), chained and screaming. On the ceiling there are portraits of the greatest Dominicans thinkers and theologians and, in the centre, there are three paintings by Federico Cervelli, representing Wisdom, Prudence and Fear. This decorative complex symbolized the mission of the Dominicans: the fight of heresy for the triumph of the Catholic faith.

When the convent was passed to the State to become the Civil Hospital of Venice headquarters, it suffered heavy losses:  cupboards disappeared (books fortunately went to the library of the Patriarchal Seminary, where they are now) and in their place windows were opened, while the fantastic statues (sculpted by Giuseppe Torretti) were sold in England and no further information is known about them...

Exceptionally, during the spring days of the FAI (21 and 22 March), the Dominicans' complex and its splendid library will be open to the public! If you want to visit these extraordinary buildings with Francesca, send us your request right away! Our brilliant guide will share other curious anecdotes about these fascinating buildings!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: The legend of the Engraved Heart of the Scuola Grande di San Marco

cuore-scuola-scuola-grande-san-marco
Mysteries & Legends

In the age-old stones of Venice lie incredible stories, fascinating legends and forgotten memories that are nestled in every corner of ...

View

Venice: The invention of glasses in Venice

occhiali
Historical Curiosities

The first glasses in history were shaped in one of the most famous islands of the Venetian lagoon, the island of Murano, where in 1100,...

View

Venice: The origins of the Spritz cocktail

spritz-veneziano
Local Traditions

Spritz, the typical Venetian aperitif, has nowadays become the iconic cocktail of Happy hour not only in Italy, but all over the world....

View

Venice: The Camel’s House in the Cannaregio district

palazzo-mastelli
Historical Curiosities

If you take a walk in the Cannaregio district you might come across a camel, clearly not a camel in the flesh, but one depicted in a pa...

View

Top posts

Venice: The Last Supper by Veronese at the Gallerie dell'Accademia

ultima-cena-veronese
Historical Curiosities

The twelve rooms of the Gallerie dell'Accademia host many works of art from the Veneto Region and the city of Venice made by renowned a...

View

Padua: St George’s Oratory

oratorio-san-giorgio-padova
Unknown places & works

Padua is famous all over the world for the Scrovegni Chapel, frescoed with incredible skill by the great painter Giotto at the beginnin...

View

Verona: Juliet’s balcony in Verona

balcone-giulietta-verona
Big Names

When visiting the beautiful city of Verona, Casa di Giulietta - the house of Juliet, the character immortalized by William Shakespeare ...

View

Venice: Attila's throne in the Isle of Torcello in Venice

Trono_Attila
Mysteries & Legends

Torcello, the first Venice island to be inhabited, is rich of legends and interesting stories, such as Attila – the King of the Huns ...

View