San Zaccaria di Venezia

San Zaccaria is a church in Venice, northern Italy, dedicated to St. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, whose body it supposedly contains. It is a large edifice, located in the quiet Campo San Zaccaria, just off the waterfront to the south east of St. Mark's basilica.

The present church was built in a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles between 1444 and 1515. Antonio Gambello was the original architect, who started the building in the Gothic style, but the upper part of the facade and the upper parts of the interior were completed by Mauro Codussi in early Renaissance style.

The first church on the site was founded by Doge Giustiniano Participazio in the 9th century and eight doges are buried in the still existing crypt. The original Romanesque church was rebuilt in the 1170s (when the present campanile was built) and was replaced by a Gothic church in the 14th century. The church was attached to a Benedictine monastery, which was visited by the doge annually at Easter in a ceremony which included presentation of the cornu (ducal cap). This tradition was begun after the monks donated land for the extension of the Piazza San Marco in the 12th century.

The interior of the church has an apse surrounded by an ambulatory lit by tall Gothic windows, a typical feature of Northern European church architecture which is unique in Venice. The church houses one of the most famous work by Giovanni Bellini, the San Zaccaria Altarpiece. The walls of the aisles are entirely covered with paintings by other artists including Tintoretto, Angelo Trevisani, Giuseppe Salviati, Antonio Balestra, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Palma the Elder and Van Dyck.

The artist Alessandro Vittoria is buried in the church, his tomb marked by a self-portrait bust.

Building Activity

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