Oratorio dei Crociferi is located in Cannaregio, and despite the fact it is not the most inviting sight in Venice (largely because it is overshadowed by sundry other architectural landmarks in the area), it is well worth a visit. The oratory was built somewhere in the 12th century, as part of a larger monastic complex which also included a monastery, a church and a hospital. It was long run by the members of the Crociferi order, working as a shelter for pilgrims, for the sick and for the poor.

The oratory underwent significant restoration works in the 16th century, upon the commission of Doge Pasquale Cicogna who financially supported the works. It is from those times that the wealth of masterpieces of Jacopo Palma Il Giovane dates back, and this is precisely the feature which puts Oratorio dei Crociferi on the tourist map of Venice. Palma Il Giovane was also the architect commissioned to redesign the oratory, and despite the lack of exterior architectural spectacle (the facade is quite modest), the interior is home to a number of significant works by the said artist. The paintings were realized between 1583 and 1592, and they describe with great artistry episodes of the history of the oratory (and of the hospital) rendering, at the same time, the figures of the great benefactors of the establishment.

The last restoration works at Oratorio dei Crociferi were carried out following a major flood in 1966, but its patrimony has remained virtually intact, which is why the oratory remains, if not the ultimate tourist highlight of Venice, a place where a wonderful encounter with the past is always possible, given the works of Palma Il Giovane have kept their original shine.

Oratorio dei Crociferi
4905, Campo dei Gesuiti, Cannaregio, Venice, Italy
0039 041 2719012
[email protected]
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