San Pietro di Castello

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The Basilica of San Pietro di Castello is located in the Sestiere Castello on the island of Olivolo. It is reached by crossing the wooden bridge of San Pietro, which you will find on our Venice map.

Brief history of the church

The earliest historical records of the church date back to 775 AD, here buried the remains of Saints Sergius and Bacchus. Some, however, assure it is the first structure erected in the lagoon in 650. In 1451 the Church of St. Peter of Castello became the Cathedral of Venice, with its own Patriarchate, after independence from the Patriarchate of Grado. In 1807 the title of Venice Cathedral passed to St. Mark's Basilica. To this day it is one of the most beloved churches for Venetians.

The architecture

The Basilica of St. Peter of Castello was built in various stages and by various architects. The design for the construction of the fa├žade and the interior of the church, were entrusted to Andrea Palladio in 1556, his first Venetian work, The church was later finished in 1558 by Francesco Smeraldi known as Fraca'. The leaning bell tower in square blocks of Istrian stone, unique in Venice, was conceived and designed by Marco Codussi. The church bell tower would be finished in 1488.  The interior has a Latin cross plan, divided into three naves and surmounted by a grandiose dome at the transept intersection, with a deep chancel and two side chapels.

Interesting information

The Basilica of San Pietro in Castello boasts the marble Altar by Clement Moli with the remains of the Venetian saint, Lorenzo Giustiniani. In memory of Lorenzo Giustiniani in the church we find The Charity of Saint Lorenzo Giustiniani by Gregorio Lazzarini and also Saint Lorenzo Giustiniani intercedes for the deliverance of Venice from the plague of 1630 by Antonio Bellucci.

Also notable is the altarpiece by Paolo Caliari, also known as the Veronese, dated 1581 depicting St. John the Evangelist, Peter and Paul. Also noteworthy is the Madonna and Child with Saints Francis, Thomas and Helena by Francesco Ruschi commissioned by Doge Francesco Morosini.

From the 13th century is the Chair of St. Peter, a marble throne used by the saint during his regency as Bishop of Antioch. Muslim funerary inscriptions are found on the throne, reflecting the artistic syncretism of the time.

The Venetians love this church very much because on 29 June every year they celebrate the Festival of Saints Peter and Paul.

 If you plan to visit the Sestiere di Castello, you can reach the Basilica di San Pietro di Castello with the help of our Venice map.