Venipedia®

Of very ancient origins, this religious place determined the name of the Santa Croce district.

To make room for the Papadopoli Gardens, the church and monastery were razed to the ground in the early nineteenth century and today we can still see a marble column, fragments of the external walls and two toponyms that testify to the presence of the two buildings.

The church of Santa Croce overlooked the Grand Canal while the apse overlooked the Rio dei Tolentini. The façade was severe and austere, composed of three notable portals, the largest of which, in particular, was remembered by the press of the time for its extraordinary beauty. The interior was not far behind, if we consider that nine altars were built and numerous relevant artists were commissioned, including Jacopo Palma the Younger, Jacopo Tintoretto, Andrea Vicentino, Leandro Bassano, Girolamo Pilotti. It was also the burial place of two doges, Domenico Morosini and Orio Mastropiero, whose sepulchral monuments were destroyed together with the religious complex.

Tradition has it that the origins of the church are very ancient, year 568, while there are different versions of the possible founder. Some believe that it was built by a group of fugitives from outside Venice who fled the Lombard invasion, others attribute the paternity to the Malipiero family while the most plausible opinion establishes that it was built by the Badoaro family, who kept it the Jus Patronatus - giuspatronato, or more simply known as the right of patronage, described in the Benedictine Code of May 27, 1917 as "the set of privileges that, combined with certain obligations, compete by concession of the Church to Catholic founders of a church, of a chapel or a benefit, or even to those who are its successors ", including the privilege of having the family crest and a place of honor in the chapel - until the early twelfth century.

It is assumed that in 774, the first bishop of Olivolo (today known as San Pietro di Castello) Obelalto Massimo, consecrated it and in 1109 the Congregation of Cluny took over from the Badoaro, whose rule was inspired by the religious order of San Benedetto. The Cluniacs built a monastery next to the church and settled there for two centuries; towards the middle of the 14th century, the monks' lifestyle was considered too relaxed and scandalous by the inhabitants, so they were turned away.

The capitular college of priests took care of managing the religious complex and the church was rebuilt; it was consecrated on 28 September 1342. In the mid-fifteenth century, Eugenio Memmo authorized Sofia Veneziana and Agnese Ungara, two hermits, to build two tiny cells near the church of the Cross, within which a new religious community was formed. With the death of the religious Memmo, the nuns obtained from Sixtus IV the management of the church and the adjoining monastery.

The precarious conditions of the church led to its new construction at the end of the 16th century: the architect Antonio Da Ponte was commissioned. The church was again consecrated, under the doge of Nicolò Da Ponte, on 10 July 1600 by Ottavio Abioso, bishop of Pistoia.

In 1807 the monastery of Santa Croce was populated by nuns from Santa Chiara but not even three years later the entire monumental complex was first suppressed, converted into a warehouse and finally demolished.

Today the whole area is almost entirely covered by public green - the Papadopoli Gardens - in whose outer walls there is an ancient oriental granite column surmounted by a capital of typically Greek features. In fact, initials are engraved on the marble of the capital which probably could come from Ptolemais, as happened for the door jambs of the baptistery of the basilica of San Marco, which show a certain similarity.

In addition to this, Cicogna believes that the column may be an element of the funeral monument of Domenico Morosini who died in 1155 and who was buried in the church of Santa Croce, or it may concern the remains of Doge Orio Mastropiero who, in old age, abdicated to the role and opted for the monastic life in Santa Croce, where he spent the last months of his life and was then buried.

Some believe that this pillar was used by the Serenissima to publicly torment those guilty of serious crimes and crimes, with the cutting of the hand or other ways, before the extreme torture.

The column and the surrounding walls are still in good condition today - even if the column bears notable signs of "old age" - offering a rather objective view of the extent of the original area. The area which is more "intact" and which is also more interesting to observe is the façade that starts from the column along the entire Fondamenta del Monastero, which can be observed more widely from the Fondamenta dei Tolentini.

Images gallery

Traveling is wonderful, if you travel in knowledge it is doubly so. Venipedia Supporter is a good way to help us make this journey together ever more participatory, comfortable, useful and stimulating: in knowledge, in discovery, in exploration, in beauty, in inspiration and in how much it can improve the future of all of us. Day by day. Support the quality of Venipedia, with only € 29 per year

Forever yours,
the Venipedian Masters

Support Venipedia

Venipedia Supporter is an annual subscription that gives you access to additional services (like the newsletter Five from the Encyclopedia and Your voice area, which is automatically renewed on expiry if you do not decide to cancel or suspend it, from your personal area (you must have a Venipedia account).

Read also