Church of San Stae

Campo San Stae

Authentic eighteenth-century Venetian jewel with obvious Palladian influences, work of Giovanni Grassi, otherwise unknown architect.


Historical Background

Fundamental for the understanding of the early 18th century Venetian painting, the church of San Stae (Sant’Eustachio) is strikingly coherent as an architectural whole.

The lavish external façade faces the Grand Canal, and was designed by Domenico Rossi in 1709, characterized by its rich decoration thanks to the contribution from sculptors such as Giuseppe Torretto, Antonio Tarsia, Pietro Baratta, and Antonio Corradini.


Giovanni Grassi’s late 17th-century interior reveals a clear influence from Palladio. The single nave is flanked on each side by three open chapels; in the center of the church the flooring is occupied by a large tombstone that marks the burial place of the Mocenigo family.

Passing along the altars on the right wall, you encounter significant works by Nicolò Bambini, Giuseppe Camerata, and Antonio Balestra (who decorated the chapel of the confraternity of tiraoro and battioro, adjacent to the church). The three chapels on the left host, in order, works by Giuseppe Torretto and Pietro Baratta on the Foscarini chapel, the “Assumption” by Francesco Migliori (further 1722) and “The Saints Caterina and Andrea” (1719) by Jacopo Amigoni.

Furthermore, the presbytery has the most important paintings of the church: on the ceiling there is a broad canvas by Bartolomeo Letterini, “The Virtues and Two Brothers from the School of the Saints” from 1708, whilst on the two side walls – above and below, the two works by Giuseppe Angeli – “The Sacrifice of Melchisedech” and “The Fall of Manna” by Giuseppe Angeli (after 1770), are twelve smaller canvasses depicting the “Apostles”. Among these various artists, these works include the following masterpieces: “The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew” by the young Giambattista Tiepolo (1722), “The Martyrdom of Saint Giacomo” by Giambattista Piazzetta (1717), and “The Liberation of Saint Pietro” by Sebastiano Ricci (1717-24).

In the sacristy there are also some interesting works like the “Crucifixion” by Maffeo Verona (XVII century), Giambattista Pittoni’s “Trajan ordering St. Eustache to Adore Pagan idols”, and “St. Eustache in Prison” by Bartolomeo Litterini (XVIII).

Musical Information

(Aldo Bova “Venezia i luoghi della musica”)

The Callido organ (1772) has one keyboard and 15 stop knobs; the console is decorated with three angel musician statues (viola, trumpet and violin); on the balustrade there are other musical angels (trumpets, violins, lute and cello).
The second altar on the left has a bas-relief showing a lute and a wind instrument.



Wednesday – Thursday| 14.30 – 17.00

(Ticket offices, bookshop, and last admissions ten minutes before closing time)