Chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto

Chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto (31)

The origins of this authentic Gothic jewel, which is found, away from the noisy groups of tourists, in the peaceful sestiere of the Cannaregio, date back to the 14th century, when it was built on a site that today is occupied by a church consecrated to Saint Christopher. 

After discovering in a nearby orchard, in Italian orto, a figure of the Virgin to which miraculous powers were attributed, a new church was built and the name was changed. Nevertheless, the origins of the temple can be outlined thanks to the statue of Saint Christopher, the work of Bartolomeo Bon, which is placed over the portal.

 The façade, the interior and even the bell tower are of a sober red brick, over which stand out the white ornamentations, such as the statues of the Virgin and the archangel Gabriel which flank the entrance portico, supported by Corinthian columns. The façade features a frieze on which there are statues that represent the twelve apostles. 

The temple was seriously damaged by the terrible floods of 1966, but was restored thanks to the money collected in the United Kingdom by the organisation Venice in Peril, the British Committee for the Preservation of Venice.

Additionally, apart from its pleasant interior and beautiful architecture, you have another reason to visit the church of the Madonna dell’Orto, since Jacopo Robusti, known as Tintoretto, was a parishioner of this church and, in fact, is buried here, in the chapel to the right of the presbytery.

This also means that the temple is decorated with some of his works, such as the final Judgement or The Adoration of the golden calf, hung on the walls of the choir, or the Presentation of Mary in the temple, at the entrance of the chapel of Mauro, where the statue of the Virgin that gives the church its name is to be found.

You will also have the chance to see the admirable canvas by Cima da Conegliano titled Saint John the Baptist and other saints. Moreover, if a thief had not taken it on themselves to steal it in 1993, you would now have been able to see a valuable Madonna with child by the painter Giovanni Bellini. In fact, this painting had already been stolen and recovered on two previous occasions. 

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