The first documents in which the Church of San Giacomo is mentioned date back to 1152, but tradition has it that it was the first building built in the Rialto area - erected the same year as the foundation of Venice - in 421.
Sanudo himself writes of it:
Original: "[...] solum restò in piedi la chiesia di San Giacomo di Rialto coperta di piombo qual era in mezo dil fuogo, e ita Deo volente si preservò. La qual fu la prima chiexia edificata in Venetia dil 421 a dì 25 Marzo, come in le nostre croniche si leze [...]"
English: "[...] solum remained standing the church of San Giacomo di Rialto covered with lead as it was in the middle of the fire, and ita Deo volente was preserved. Which was the first church built in Venice on 421 on 25 March, as in our chronicles reads [...] "M. Sanudo," The diaries of Marino Sanuto ", T. 17 [1513-1514], Venice, at the expense of the publishers, 1886, col. 461 (
The church, an example of medieval Venetian architecture, is better known as the Church of San Giacometto, due to its small size.
Today the church has a Greek cross plan, transformed with the restorations of 1531 and 1601 from the original Latin cross plan, with three naves of equal width and three rectangular chapels on the apse.
Inside there are two small rectangular niches on the sides in which two altars are positioned and in the center six marble columns that divide the three naves. The church has five altars, almost all funded by the guilds that carried out their work in the area surrounding the church. The high altar was financed in 1600 by the Casaroli Art, the left altar, dedicated to Sant'Antonio Abate, was financed by the Art of the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths, the right altar, of the Annunziata, it was financed by the Confraternity and the Garbellatori (grain riders) and by that of the Lagatori (packers) of bales of merchandise.
On the facade you can see mainly four elements: the relief of the Madonna with the Putto, made in the fifteenth century, the clock, built in the eighteenth century, the wooden portico, built in the fifteenth century, and the five gothic columns that support it.
Above the sundial - sundial - rises the small bell gable, built in 1792 to replace the old bell tower damaged by the devastating fire of 1514.
In addition to the bell tower you can see the dome, positioned above the intersection of the main nave with the transept.
On the apse there is an inscription in Latin Hoc circa templum sit jus mercantibus aequum, pondera nec vergant, nec sit conventio prava, i.e. around this temple the law of the merchant is fair, the weights fair and the contracts fair since the church stood on the most important commercial area.