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Visit Venice

Santa Maria dei Frari


I Frari or Saint Mary of the Friars is among the city's most important churches located in the San Polo sestiere. The church was completed in 1338 but over the following years was completely rebuilt and enlarged. The Gothic-style church has a plain brick exterior. The church interior is expansive, and flooded with natural light from the Gothic windows. The church has the only remaining rood screen (choir screen) in Venice. Among the church art is Madonna di Ca'Pesaro by Titian. The artist modeled the Virgin after his recently deceased wife. Titian died of the plague in 1576 and was entombed in the church, later Austrian rulers commissioned a large triangular monument designed by Canova. Bellini designed the triptych (panel paintings) of Madonna and Child with Saints in the church sacristy and Bartolomeo Vivarini designed the altarpiece in the Corner Chapel. The church has pieces created by Antonio Canova and the first recorded work by Donatello in Venice, John the Baptist.

Bartolomeo Bon designed the figures of the Virgin and St. Francis on the west front; the tomb of Doge Foscari was designed by Antonio and Paolo Bregno; Tullio Lombardo created the tomb of Pietro Bernardo and Jacopo Sansovino, Paolo Veneziano, Alvise Vivarini and Alessandro Vittoria also have works in the church. The church has one of the tallest towers in the city, completed in 1396.

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