Santa Maria del Giglio Church: what to see

  • 3 min read

If you’re a fan of art and history, you cannot miss a visit to the Church of Santa Maria del Giglio, located in the heart of Venice, in the San Marco district. This Catholic place of worship, also known as Santa Maria Zobenigo, is a true architectural gem that encompasses centuries of history and tradition.


According to ancient sources, the church dates back to the 10th century and was built by the Iubanico or Giubenico family, with contributions from other important Venetian families. Originally a parish church, it underwent several reconstructions due to fires, until it reached its current appearance after the restoration in 1680. During the Napoleonic suppressions, the church had jurisdiction over several branches, but it is currently rectorial and dependent on San Moisè.

Structure of the Church

The external appearance of the Church of Santa Maria del Giglio is dominated by the majestic Baroque facade, designed by the architect Giuseppe Sardi da Morcote. The facade features a series of niches with statues and bas-reliefs, interspersed with Ionic and Corinthian columns. At the center of the second order is the statue of Antonio Barbaro, attributed to the Flemish sculptor Giusto Le Court. The facade has been described as an example of “personalistic celebration” of Venetian Baroque architecture.

Interesting Fact: On the facade, there are six stylized stone maps representing the locations where Antonio Barbaro carried out his activities in favor of the Republic of Venice.

The Facade

The erection of the church’s marble facade was funded by a bequest of 30,000 ducats from Antonio Barbaro. The facade is considered a masterpiece of Venetian Baroque, with numerous statues and bas-reliefs that tell the story of the Barbaro family. The presence of Victories in the spandrels and Atlantes attributed to Tommaso Rues gives the facade a unique and evocative atmosphere.

The Interior

The interior of the church has a single nave, with three side chapels on each side. The main chapel, covered by a lunette vault, houses two sculptures representing the Annunciation. Among the artworks inside, the standout is the painting Madonna with Child and Saint John the Baptist by Pieter Paul Rubens, the only painting by the Flemish master preserved in Venice.

The Church of Santa Maria del Giglio is a must-visit for anyone wishing to delve into Venetian history and art. Discover the wonders of this architectural jewel and let yourself be enchanted by its timeless beauty.