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The sestiere of Castello



Castello was one of the earliest parts of Venice to be settled (fifth to sixth centuries). The district takes its name from the castle that stood there and which provided defence from attacks from the sea. Here is the ancient Arsenal, that was an essential part of the life of the repubblica.


Cathedral of San Pietro di Castello
For many centuries the cathedral was under the authority of the Patriarch of Grado. In 1451 Venice obtained its own patriarch. hence the church became cathedral. As a result of the dignities that were suppressed by Napoleon in 1807, San Marco (Saint Mark's) became the new cathedral and instead of just being a chapel of the Doge's it became the seat of the Patriarch


Antico Arsenale (Old Arsenal)
It can be recognised by its terracotta walls and squares towers. From the thirteenth century it was an essential part of the life of the republic.


Historical Naval Museum
Its exibits relate the naval history of the Venetian Republic


Church of San Francesco della Vigna
It was built on a vineyard donated to the Franciscans by marco Ziani, the son of the Doge Pietro in 1253. That is why it is still called san Francesco della Vigna (vigna meaning vineyard). The church was rebuilt to a design by Jacopo Sansovino, although the elegant façade is by Palladio


Church of San Giovanni in Bragora
It stands in the campo of the same name which is surrounded by old palazzi. The church was originally built in the eighth century and was founded by San Magno, the bishop of Oderzo. The inside of the church is still in the form of a Basilica, and has three naves and a Gothic trussed


Church of Visitazione o della Pietà
It was thus called because it is near the old orphanage of Calle della Pietà. It was rebuilt in the eighteenth century by Giorgio Massari


School and church San Giorgio dei Greci
In 1526 the Greek Community in Venice was second only to that of the Jews, and obtained permission from the Patriarch to hold Greek Orthodox services. In 1539 they built the church of San Nicolò in the style favoured by Sansovino and the nearby school of San Nicolò. This houses a collection of liturgical art and precious Byzantine icons. A part of the collection is housed in the istituto Ellenico di Studi Bizantini e Post-Bizantini.


Church of San Zaccaria
Originally, there was a Benedictine nunnery next to it (which was then suppressed by the Napoleonic edicts). The nunnery was reserved for young Patrician novices, even if they had no vocation. As it belonged to the Benedictine order the rules were fairly lax. The church was founded in the ninth and was renovated several times in different architectural styles that can still be seen today. The belltower dates back to the ninth century. The most important work was carried out in 1458 and culminated in the impressive façade by Codussi


Church of Santa Maria Formosa
Legend has it that San Magno ordered it to be built. It was rebuilt in the eleventh century and was then rebuilt on the previous foundations in 1492, although the original layout in the shape of a Greek cross was mantained. The church is in one of trhe finest of Venice's campi. It is surrounded by private palazzifrom different periods, as can be seen from architectural styles of their façades


Palace Querini Stampalia
In Renaissance style, the palace houses ancient furnishings and paintings of great value and a sizeable library


Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo
Built in 1368, a fine Gothic building with a basilica and 5 Gothic apses. it is venice's Pantheon because it holds the tombs of twenty-five doges, great commanders and famous men of the Venetian Republic, whose remains are housed in fine tombs. In addition, a large polyptych by Giovanni Bellini decorates the altar by Vincenzo Ferrer, and an altar-piece by Lorenzo Lotto displays the alms of Saint Anthony