San Maurizio and Santa Maria del Giglio
Here is the Church of San Maurizio, and in this square antiques markets are often held. Originally one of the oldest churches in Venice, it was completely rebuilt in 1806 when Venice was under Napoleon’s rule and so is often ignored by admirers of the Venetian Republic. It is a plain church in neo-classical style. The ancient bell-tower you see is actually part of the Church of Santo Stefano on the other side. In 1319 the Church of San Maurizio was the scene of an infamous scandal, when the Parish priest murdered another rival priest for money. He was sentenced to the – cheba – which meant he was confined to live out his days in a cage which was hung publically at the top of Saint Mark’s bell-tower.
Santa Maria del Giglio
Santa Maria del Giglio appears the most worldly church in Venice, because carvings on its façade depict fortified cities and warships. Until the late 16th century, Venice strongly prohibited any display of personal wealth or cult of personality, as it was seen as a danger to the stability and power of the Republic. This church was one of the first to break those rules as it depicts the naval and diplomatic career of the nobleman Antonio Barbaro, who paid for the building of the façade as his monument; you will his statue at the very centre of the façade, flanked by the figures of Honour and Virtue. The four statues lined at the bottom are of his brothers.
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