Basilica of the Frari

Basilica dei Frari

The site and the history

The Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa called by the Venetians of the Frari (ie of the friars) is with the Basilica of SS. Giovanni e Paolo one of the finest examples of Venetian Gothic.

By extension it is the largest church in the city: it measures 102 meters long by 48 meters in the transept; & nbsp; it reaches a height of 28 meters and is enriched with 17 monumental altars and countless works of art.

Situated in a land that was once marshy, reclaimed by the Franciscan friars, the first church dedicated to the Madonna, which soon became insufficient for the faithful, was replaced with one with three naves and subsequently with an even wider one around the end of the 14th century.

The construction of this third church however proceeded very slowly, so much so that the facade was completed only in & nbsp; 1440 & nbsp; and the main altar consecrated in 1469.

The church was finally consecrated on May 27 & nbsp; 1492 & nbsp; with the name of & nbsp; Santa Maria Gloriosa.

To give prestige to the Basilica dei Frari was the very wealthy Pesaro family to whom the sacristy was granted in 1478 as a noble family chapel and burial place.

Thanks to their contribution, the ninth apse was erected, with a pentagonal shape and the main altar was completed, made famous by Titian’s decoration, known as the altarpiece of the Assumption.

The altarpiece of the same name was finally completed.

In the 19th century, during the Napoleonic period, the Franciscan Fathers were removed from the church, which was returned to them only in 1922.

Four years later, in 1926, Padre Pio XI honors the church with the title of basilica.

The-route and the works of the Basilica of the Frariå

Over the centuries the basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari was enriched by a series of masterpieces that make it today, together with the architectural values, one of the major monumental sites of the city, a sort of art history museum from the 15th to the 18th century.

Inside is preserved perhaps the best-known masterpiece of Titian ‘s maturity: the evocative altarpiece of the Assumption (1516-1518) which, specially painted by the artist for the main altar, it collects and expands the vanishing point visible from the central nave, beyond the Pesaro Altarpiece.

Equally famous is the Triptych of the Virgin and Saints by Giovanni Bellini (1488), located in the Pesaro Chapel of the sacristy and considered one of the masterpieces of Venetian painting of the 15th century . The latter is ideally flanked by the Triptych of San Marco (1474) by Bartolomeo Vivarini of the elegant Chapel Corner.

Of great importance is also the San Giovani Battista , the only Venetian work by Donatello created for the chapel of the Florentine school.

These works are also flanked by the tombs and funeral monuments of numerous personalities linked to Venice, including Claudio Monteverdi, Titian himself, Antonio Canova, and numerous doges.

Finally, a detail of the Frari basilica is the one to have preserved, unique among the great churches in Italy, the choir surrounded by a high wall at the end of the central nave in front of the main altar, according to what was in medieval use .

Timetables and other information for visiting the Basilica dei Frari

Open to visitors

  • weekdays: 9.00 – 18.00.
  • public holidays: 1.00 pm – 6.00 pm (last admission half an hour before)
  • Admission € 3.00 / 1.50.
  • Location: Campo dei Frari, San Polo district
  • Public navigation service: line 1-2 Actv San Tomà / Piazzale Roma stop
  • Phone: 041 272 86 11
  • Website:

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Basilica of the Frari

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