The Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari Basilica, commonly called the Frari, it is located on the homonymous Campo dei Frari, in the lively San Polo district. It is the largest church on the Venetian island and probably also the most loved and frequented by the faithful.

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari Basilica

It represents the greatest expression of Venetian Gothic, although it does not have flying buttresses, pinnacles, gargoyles and other typical elements of Gothic architecture. Its immense facade is divided into three, by simple pillars, flanked by the Romanesque bell tower of about 70 meters, the highest after that of San Marco.

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari Basilica

The Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari Basilica is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, this monumental and welcoming structure mixes different elements while maintaining great simplicity, despite the interior being full of Renaissance masterpieces. Its history began between 1222 and 1250 when followers of San Francesco d'Assisi, arrived in Venice, asked the architect Nicolò da Pisa to build a monastery and a church dedicated to Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari Basilica

The Basilica, steeped in the spirituality evoked by San Francesco, today appears high, luminous, imposing and all supported by the classic red bricks. It has a Latin cross plan, with the Venetian Gothic style in terracotta and Istrian stone, divided into three naves with pointed arches, all supported by two large colonnades.

Inside there are numerous tombs and funeral monuments of important personalities from the Venetian past, Claudio Monteverdi, an Italian composer, the great painter Tiziano Vecellio and the sculptor and painter Antonio Canova stand out above all.

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari Basilica

Among the various works kept within these walls are, the Altarpiece of the Assumption, the Eternal between two angels, Virgin on the clouds, Apostles, Titian's masterpieces, the revolutionary Madonna of Ca' Pesaro, which exalts the achievements of Bishop Jacopo Pesaro , the Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints by Giovanni Bellini, the Madonna and Child in a carved and gilded frame by Paolo Veneziano and, finally, the wooden sculpture of St. John the Baptist by Donatello.

On the altar of Santa Caterina we find the altarpiece of the Martyrdom of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria, where the moment is portrayed that the angel saves the saint from the torture of the wheel, while the executioners remain victims of their own tool, the work of Jacopo Palma il Giovane.

For its importance, in 1923, it received the title of minor basilica from Pope Pius XI. A few steps from the church we find the ancient convent of the friars, called Magna Domus Venetiarum to distinguish it from the others in the city. It also stood out for its two cloisters, the square-shaped cloister of the Trinity and the cloister of Sant'Antonio, with its well in the center that supports the statue of Saint Anthony of Padua. Today the two cloisters are owned by the State Archives.


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