Hidden treasures

The Pious site of the Penitents in the Cannaregio Canal in Venice

Unknown places & works
Pio-loco

The Pious site of the Penitents in the Cannaregio Canal in Venice

Along the Cannaregio Canal in Venice, opposite the former municipal slaughterhouse (now University Ca 'Foscari), there is a church flanked by two buildings: the pious site of the Penitents.

In 1705 a shelter was here established to receive the repentant sinners, basically a hostel to house prostitutes that had repented and other women who were involved in a public scandal and who then needed help to obtain a honest job. Many nobles made bequests in favour of the pious institution, but it was mainly thanks to the donations of the noblewoman Marina Priuli da Lezze that the actual construction could be carried out, under the direction of the architect Giorgio Massari.

Generally, the penitents were required to be not less than 12 and not more than 30 years of age; be from Venice or to have lived in Venice for at least a year; be healthy in mind and body, not pregnant and to have withdrawn from the sinful life for at least 3 months.

After the fall of the Republic, as a result of the Napoleonic edicts in 1807, guests of 'Ospissio del Socorso, which had been stopped and closed down as a result of the same edicts, were also based at the pious site of the Penitents.

The original purpose of the pious site dwindled down with the decline in the number of guests, and so after 1945 refugee women coming mainly from Istria and the former colonies in Africa were here given shelter.

Currently the entire large complex is being renovated in order to create a nursing centre for Alzheimer's patients.

If you would like to know more about the most curious and unusual buildings of Venice, book a personalized tour of the city with our guide Francesca, the editor of this popular section!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: The Wheel of the Innocents in the Monastery of the Pietà in Venice

ruota-innocenti
Unknown places & works

The majestic neo-classical church of the Pietà stands next to St. Mark's Square in Venice, along Riva degli Schiavoni. Here, concerts ...

View

Padua: Villa Grimani Valmarana Calergi in Noventa Padovana

villa-grimani-calergi-valmarana
Unknown places & works

Veneto is undoubtedly the region of Villas, magnificent resorts and ancient places of idleness for Venetian nobles. Yet their origins a...

View

Venice: The Secret Garden of Ca 'Morosini del Giardin in Cannaregio

ca-morosini-del-giardin
Unknown places & works

Venice is a magical city for many reasons, amongst them are its many hidden gardens that few are aware of! One of the most secret and f...

View

Padua: The collections of the Convent of St. John in Verdara in Padua

eremitani-padova
Unknown places & works

The most beautiful museum in Padua is undoubtedly the Eremitani museum, created in 1895 to house the city's collections. The original s...

View

Top posts

Venice: The graffiti of the ancient merchants on Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice

Fondaco_dei_Tedeschi
Historical Curiosities

Each building located along the Grand Canal has an amusing story or a mystery to tell... After having been the Post Office building for...

View

Padua: The Museum of the History of Medicine in Padua

Museo-di-storia-della-Medicina
Unknown places & works

If you are tired of the usual museums filled with paintings and sculptures, you might find the Museum of the History of Medicine in Pad...

View

Venice: The door of the Tolentini Convent in Venice designed by Carlo Scarpa

iuav-tolentini
Big Names

Near Piazzale Roma is the impressive Tolentini church, built by Vincenzo Scamozzi in the 16th century and finished with an elegant Gree...

View

Venice: The ghost of the Chinese wife of Marco Polo

corte-milion-venezia
Mysteries & Legends

Legend has it that, during his stay in China, the famous Venetian merchant Marco Polo was in love with one of the daughters of the Grea...

View