Campo San Sebastiano

Founded by the hermit monks of San Girolamo in 1396, it can be considered Paolo Veronese’s “Sistine Chapel”.


Historical Background

Its contents make the church of San Sebastiano one of the centres of Venetian art, conserving an extraordinary body of works by Paolo Caliari, better known as Veronese.

The confraternity of Gerolimine fathers founded the church in the XV century, and in 1506, a series of alterations, under the league of Antonio Abbondi, known as Scarpagnino, gave the building its present appearance: a single interior nave preceded by an atrium and raised choir culminating in an apsidal presbytery under a cupola.


As mentioned, what counts here is not so much the architecture, but rather Paolo Veronese’s series of paintings; undoubtedly the most important collection of paintings that he completed in his entire life. The artist was commissioned by Veronese Prior of the order, Brother Bernardo Torlioni, who also devised the iconographycal scheme for the whole series, which was intended to represent the victory of faith over heresy. Veronese’s work in the church can be divided into three periods. The first ran from 1555 to 1556, and began with a series of old testament paintings in the sacristy, concluding with the panels depicting episodes from the Book of Esther which decorates the coffered roof. The second phase of work ran from 1558 to 1559 and included the frescoes on the upper part of the nave (fathers of the church, prophets, civil and biblical figures), the decoration of the friar choir (episodes from the life of St. Sebastian), and the organ doors and frontal (“Presentation of Jesus in the Temple”, “The Washing of Sacrificial Animals in the Temple”, and “The Nativity”). The final period of work ran from 1565 to 1570 and included the large altarpiece of “Virgin Mary in Glory with St. Sebastian” and other Saints, and two other paintings on the side walls of the presbytery: “Saints Mark and Marcellino led to their martyrdom and the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian”. Fittingly enough, the church is also the artist’s mausoleum, and his tomb is found on the left of the presbytery.

In the sacristy there are other works worthy of note, including pieces by Jacopo Tintoretto and Bonifacio de’ Pitati; whilst in the church you can see Titian’s St. Nicolas (1563) and other works by Paris Bordone, Jacopo Sansovino, Palma il Giovane and Alessandro Vittoria.

Musical Information

(Aldo Bova “Venezia i luoghi della musica”)

The Moscatelli organ (1762) has one keyboard and 15 stop knobs.
Paolo Veronese designed and painted the organ console: The presentation of Jesus in the Temple (external), The pool of Bethesda (internal), The Nativity, two Female Figures, Saint Jerome and Saint Francis (parapet); in the Madonna with Saint Sebastian and other Saints you see a ribeca, an arm viola and a violone.


Monday – Saturday | 10.30 –  17.00
(ticket offices, bookshop closing and last admissions ten minutes before closing)

holiday (Sundays and holidays) 7.30
weekdays (Monday to Saturday) 8.30