Founded in the IX century, the church of San Polo underwent two important restructuring projects which altered the original Byzantine appearance of the building (the two column-bearing lions at the base of the bell-tower were probably part of this original structure): the first major work on the church took place in the 15th century, and the late Gothic additions made at that time includes the fine portal attributed to Bartolomeo Bon; the second refurbishment took place in 1804 when Davide Rossi effectively turned the church into a neo-classical building.
Extensive restoration has recently revealed the Gothic survivors within this neo-classical super-structure which include the wooden ceiling, the apsed presbytery, and the single light windows on the facade, part of the original construction of the church.
The austere interior contains various works of art. Inside the façade and on the right of the first altar are two works by Jacopo Tintoretto: "The Last Supper" and "The Assumption of the Virgin with Saints". The presbytery is entirely decorated with works by Jacopo Palma il Giovane, while on the right and left stand the "Chapel of the Sacrament", a precious Lombardo structure decorated with 18th-century frescoes by Salviati, and the altar decorated with Paolo Veronese's "The Marriage of the Virgin". The second altar on the left aisle illustrates Giambattista Tiepolo's famous "The Virgin appearing to San Giovanni Nepomuk" (1754).
Behind the main facade of the church is the 18th-century "Oratory of the Crucifixion", entirely decorated by Giambattista Tiepolo's son Giandomenico; the works here include the "Fourteen Stages of the Way of the Cross" (1749-1750), which show the younger Tiepolo evolving a very personal style that would bring him to full fruition in his later works.
MUSICAL INFORMATION (Aldo Bova "Venezia i luoghi della musica")
The Callido organ (1763, his first work in Venice) has two keyboards and 33 stop knobs.
The unusual console consists of two blackened and gilded wooden statues: Saint Cecilia, with a small organ and King David with the harp.
Monday to Saturday: 10.30am - 1.30pm and 2.30pm - 5pm (last entrance ten minutes before closing)