After the Frari and the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Santo Stefano is the third largest monastery church in Venice.
Built by the Augustinian Hermits in the XIII century, it was re-structured a century later, and subsequent embellishments made it into one of the finest examples of Venetian Flamboyant Gothic architectures.
On the fourteenth-century façade in brick, the superb marble portal is highly underlined, work by Bartolomeo Bon.
The entrance introduces a space divided into central nave and two side aisles supporting robust columns; the ceiling, also of great effect, is an carena di nave, while, in the presbytery, the magnificient wooden choir inlaid in 1488 is surely cherished.
The sacristy contains a veritable museum with some of the great names in Venetian Renaissance art. On the side walls there is the "Last Supper" (1579-80), "The Risen" (1565 ca.), "Christ Washing the Apostles Feet" (1579-80), and "Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane" (1579-80) by Jacopo Tintoretto, works contemporaneously realized for Scuola di San Rocco, and a "Sacred Family with Maria Maddalena and Saint Caterina" (1528-30) by Bonifacio De 'Pitati. Of other significance there is "Saint Nicola from Bari" and "Saint Lorenzo" (1475 ca.) by Bartolomeo Vivarini which both place side by side to "The Crucifixion" (1775 ca.) by Giuseppe Angeli; above there is the "Martyrdom of Saint Stefano" (1630 ca. - 1638) by Sante Peranda.
On the opposite side you will find "The Escape from Egypt", "The Adoration of the Magicians", and the "Massacre of the Innocents" (1733) by Gaspare Diziani.
In the sacristy there is also a museum of sculpturs where a fine sculptur of "Saint Sebastiano" by Tullio Lombardo is found. Such as "Saint Andrea" and "Saint Girolamo" (1476-1480 ca.) by Pietro Lombardo and his assistants, and a beautiful sculpture by Antonio Canova; the "Stele Funeraria del Senatore Giovanni Falier" (1808).
MUSICAL INFORMATION (Aldo Bova "Venezia i luoghi della musica")
The choir singers from Saint Benedict's theater intervened in 1785 for the occasion of Baldassare Galuppi's solemn funeral.
On May 11, 1990, there was also a memorial service for Luigi Nono.
The Nacchini Organ (1752) has two keyboards.
Giovanni Gabrieli's tomb can be found in front of the first altar of the left nave; the violinist and composer Biagio Marini is also buried in the church, even though the tombstone has not been found.
Monday to Saturday: 11.30am - 5pm (last entrance ten minutes before closing)