Church of the Madonna

Quietly hidden in the Northern reaches of the city is a church in Venice that a majority of tourists never lay eyes upon. The epicenter of the Cannaregio section of the city is the Church of the Madonna, or Madonna Dell'orto. This area is debatably the most isolated section of the city, if such a thing can even be said of Venice, and thus is often one of the most raved about parts of the city by those that actually come across it. And this is at least partially thanks to the Church of the Madonna.

Though often bathed in sun, this is still one of the most gothic of all Venice churches. Its tapered spires, fishbone bricks and ghostly white statues that line the church's façade don't quite fit in with the rest of the sparkling city, and thus give it a more ethereal quality that stands in direct contrast to the general cheer of the canals and markets.

For anyone who marveled at the works of Jacopo Tintoretto at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, this will be one of your favorite Venice churches. At least it was Tintoretto's - he lived and worked just blocks away and created most of the paintings inside the church for which, legend holds, he refused payment. So close was this parish to his heart he was even buried here, along with his family. His enormous paintings reach up 50 feet along the church walls, and include some of his masterworks, such as his Last Judgment and The Worship of the Golden Calf. Although there are many ornate paintings inside this church in Venice, including a few by Bellini and Giovane, it is the Tintorettos that the parish is best known for.

Originally dedicated to St. Christopher, this church in Venice was rededicated as the Madonna of Venice after a statue of her was found in a neighboring garden in the late 1300s. Predictably, the statue was named "Madonna of the Garden," and was believed to have miraculous healing powers.

If you can tear yourself away from the vastly more popular Basilica di San Marco, or the multitude of other Venice churches awaiting your perusal, the Church of the Madonna is definitely an overlooked jewel when touring the city. Open from 10am-5pm every day but Sunday, it is a mere 3 Euros to wander the Northeastern Italy's best example of gothic architecture. If there are already a large number of Venetian churches on your itinerary, consider purchasing the city's Chorus Pass, which allows tourists entrance into fifteen of Venice's most popular churches for considerably discounted prices.

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