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Church of San Zaccaria

This magnificent and tranquil church features wonderful paintings, including a stunning altarpiece by Bellini.

TravelCurious Tip

Many visitors miss the opportunity to fully illuminate Bellini’s stunning altarpiece. Simply drop a 50 cent coin in the slot and enjoy the explosion of colour that ensues.

Located just to the south-east of St. Mark’s Square, the church of San Zaccaria is a gleaming blend of architectural styles. Building started in 1458 under the direction of architect Antonio Gambello, whose vision was one of a distinctly Gothic church. However, the work was completed by Mauro Codussi nearly 70 years later, by which time the Renaissance style was very much in vogue. The result is an ornate lower façade topped by a distinctive semicircular gable and supporting side quadrants, a mixture whose effortless grace is a testament to the skill of both men.


A Feast of Colour

The interior is visually spectacular. Nearly every wall is covered with paintings from renowned 16th, 17th and 18th century artists. Foremost among these is the magnum opus of Giovanni Bellini, the San Zaccaria Altarpiece, which vividly depicts the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, surrounded by four saints. One feature of the church which is unique in Venice is the radiating layout of chapels behind the altar. These are not to be missed. The Cappella dell'Addolorata contains curious cases of ancient relics, while the splendid Chapel of San Tarasio houses an almost unbelievably intricate Gothic golden altarpiece, sitting beneath a beautiful set of frescoes.


A Watery Grave

Another remarkable feature of the church is the crypt. As you might expect from a 500-year-old Venetian building, its underground level is flooded, but this merely adds to the romantic ambience. You can admire the reflections of the tombs, which are gently illuminated from above, as they appear to float between the simple stone columns and arches.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Venice
Bridge of Sighs
According to legend, convicts would sigh as they walked this bridge before being imprisoned in the Prigioni Nuove.
Doge's Palace
Originally home to Venice’s most powerful man, this Gothic masterpiece is one of the city’s top attractions.
St Mark’s Square
Enclosed by spectacular buildings, St Mark's is one of the most beautiful squares in the world.
St Mark's Basilica
Formerly the Doge’s chapel and famous for its sumptuous design, the Church of Gold will leave you breathless.
Campo Santa Maria Formosa
A lovely neighbourhood square surrounded by narrow alleyways and Gothic buildings, barely changed since the time of Canaletto.
St Mark’s Bell Tower
The bell tower of St Mark's Basilica, located in the Piazza San Marco

Related Tours

Private Tour of Venice in a Day inc Tickets
Discover the architectural and artistic highlights of Venice on this full day tour!

  • Commence your tour at the iconic St Mark's Square 
  • Snap pictures of St Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace 
  • Learn about Venetian architecture 
  • Walk to Marco Polo's House  (entrance not included)
  • Cruise through Venetian's city squares, head towards the Church of San Zaccaria 
  • Visit the famous Rialto bridge 
  • Stroll around the Rialto Market, famous for its fish and vegetables 
  • Conclude at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Venetian Highlights

Begin with a walk around the world famous St Mark’s Square. Probably one of Italy’s most iconic locations and Venice’s largest urban open space, this square is enclosed by the astonishing St Mark’s Basilica and the magnificent Doge’s Palace. We will make a visit to the Doge’s Palace, built in 812, which is one of the best examples of Venetian gothic architecture. Right next to the Doge’s Palace is another superb building that will be sure to capture your attention. St Mark’s Basilica is deemed to be an icon of Italian art and culture and the city’s top highlight. 

Bridging 118 Islands

You will walk on to discover more about the iconic house of Marco Polo, Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo and Campo S, as well as marvelling at the beauty of Maria Formosa and eventually the Convento di S. Zaccaria. We will then head towards Venice’s most iconic bridge- Rialto. Famous as the oldest bridge to cross the Grand Canal, its arcade full of small souvenir shops is the best place to buy beautiful Venetian masks and feathers. After walking along this fantastic bridge you will conclude our tour admiring dozens of Tintoretto Paintings in the breathtaking building of Scuola Grande di San Rocco, named after St. Rocco, the saint protector against the devastation of plague.
Private Tour of Venice in a Half Day inc Tickets
Enjoy a whistle-stop tour of Venice, which is particularly useful for those short on time or new to the city.

  • Commence your tour at the iconic St Mark's Square 
  • Snap pictures of St Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace 
  • Learn about Venetian architecture 
  • Walk to Marco Polo's House 
  • Cruise through Venetian's city squares, head towards the Church of San Zaccaria 
  • Visit the famous Rialto bridge 
  • Stroll around the Rialto Market, famous for its fish and vegetables 
Iconic Locations

The itinerary will begin with a walk around the world famous St Mark’s Square. Probably one of Italy’s most iconic locations and Venice’s largest urban open space; this square is enclosed by the stunning St Mark’s Basilica and the absolutely magnificent Doge’s Palace. You will make a visit to the palace, originally built in 812, and celebrated as one of the best examples of Venetian Gothic architecture in the city. Right next to the Doge’s Palace is St Mark’s Basilica, deemed as an icon of Italian art and culture; it is indeed one of the city’s top highlight. 

Onto the Rialto Bridge

You will then walk on to discover more about Marco Polo’s House, Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo & Campo S. Maria Formosa and eventually the Convento di S. Zaccaria. You will then head towards Venice’s most iconic bridge - the Rialto. Famous for being the oldest bridge to cross the Grand Canal, its arcade full of small souvenir shops is the best place in Venice to buy Venetian masks and feathers. After walking along this fantastic bridge you will then take a leisurely stroll around the bustling Rialto Market, a picturesque shopping area primarily selling fish and vegetables to the Venetians for more than seven centuries.
Private Tour of Castello: Local Venice inc Tickets
Unique in its preservation of residential charm and character, escape the crowds of touristic Venice and explore the quaint, quiet streets of Eastern Castello. Here crumbling buildings line quiet canals, washing lines flap overhead. Aged Venetian men fill shaded bars to watch the football and mothers play with their children by the canals. This is authentic Venice, trapped in time. 

  • Begin at the church of San Zaccaria, see the flooded crypt and Bellini altarpiece
  • Explore the Venetian seafront, enjoy the beautiful views across the lagoon.
  • Visit the Arsenale, the historic shipbuilding and military naval docks of Venice.
  • Explore the Giardini Pubblici, a park created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807. 
  • Enter the stunning San Pietro di Castello basilica
  • Take a water Vaporetto back.
Begin at the stunning San Zaccaria church. Built in the 15th century, it houses many artworks and conceals a flooded crypt below. Learn about the adjoining convent, once a destination for curious Venetian girls deemed too promiscuous. Walk along the beautiful seafront pathway and gaze upon the horizon that is dotted with beautiful isoli and their church spires. Next, visit the Arsenale shipyards, one of the earliest large-scale industrial enterprises in history. It was here that Venice assembled its military naval power for centuries. 

Then explore the Giardini Pubblici, a garden creation of Napoleon Bonaparte, which was built on the site of many torn down religious sites. Finish your tour at the wondrous, but less travelled San Pietro di Castello on the island of San Pietro. See the throne of St Peter, which according to legend, once hid the Holy Grail. Finally, take a water Vaporetto back to more familiar settings.
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