of the basilica
The Friars Minor
of the Order of San Francesco arrived
in Venice around 1225. At the beginning
they were given hospitality in some
churches and monasteries in town and
they lived on charity and humble jobs.
Some time afterwards, as they rose
in number, they were granted "
an empty piece of land behind Campo
San Stin " by Doge Jacopo Tiepolo.
The land was known as " lago
Badoer" for the presence of a
pool, and there the friars soon started
building a church and a friary in
honour of the Holy Virgin Mary.
Around 1340, due to the increased
importance of the Order of the Friars
Minor and thanks to generous donations
made by some noble Venetian families,
works started on the present Basilica,
which was finished in 1445, consecrated
in 1492 and dedicated to the Assumption
of our Lady: Santa Maria Gloriosa
was built in a Gothic style that we
may define " Franciscan ",
since it emphasizes the harmony of
the lines without over indulging in
spires, pinnacles and ornate arches.
Beauty is much increased by the warmth
of the brick walls on the exterior
set off by lines of white Istrian
The name of the architect is unknown,
but he might have been one of the
friars from the friary nearby. We
know for sure that Scipione Bon was
vestryman and overseer of the last
phase of the work.
It is 102 metres long and 32 metres
wide . The lenght of the transept
is 48 metres and the height of both
the nave and the transept is 28 metres.
The church stands on a large square
known as Campo dei Frari. " Campo
" ( field ) is a Venetian toponymy
to indicate that this area was originally
grass covered, like the many other
campi and campielli of the city.
In front of the church runs the Rio
dei Frari, a channel crossed by a
bridge built in 1428 by the friars.
In the square, around the Basilica
you can see the ancient buildings
of the Schools, which were once brotherhood
centres of religious and cultural
life, and the entrance to the State
Archives, formerly the great monastery
of the Frari.
Via della Centa, 30
33070 Polcenigo (PN) Italy
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