Hidden treasures

The Church of Santa Croce degli Armeni in Venice

Unknown places & works

The Church of Santa Croce degli Armeni in Venice

The city of Venice has always been cosmopolitan and very tolerant of other religious confessions ... It is no surprise therefore that, since the 12th century, there has been a community of Armenians.

The community settled in the parish of San Zulian (in the immediate vicinity of St. Mark's Square) and received a gift from the son of Doge Sebastiano Ziani, Marco, a building which was used as a storage place for goods and as a dwelling.

At the end of the 15th century, permission was granted by the incumbent Pope Leo X to build the first small Armenian church, named after the Holy Cross of Christ. From 1682 the small church, with an inadequate size to accommodate all the worshippers, was enlarged thanks to a donation by Gregorio di Girach di Mirman; erected on a design by architects Baldassarre Longhena and Giuseppe Sardi it was consecrated on December 29, 1688.

Camouflaged in the nearby urban agglomeration, it is not immediately spotted and only the bell tower indicates its location. The interior is square-shaped and has a single nave with a central blue dome (a typical element of Armenian worship places), a presbytery and three altars, decorated with inlaid marble and polychrome stucco.

The Church of Santa Croce degli Armeni can be visited only on the last Sunday of each month during the morning Mass. Do not miss the chance to visit this fascinating religious building, perhaps accompanied by one of our expert Venice tourist guides!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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