With its multi-colored marble façade and striking round windows, the small-yet-beautiful Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli is one of the most important examples of early Renaissance architecture in Venice. It’s also a highlight of the historic Cannaregio neighborhood along the Miracoli Canal.
This early Renaissance church was built in the late 15th century to honor of a sacred icon of the Virgin Mary that was said to have performed a number of miracles. Renaissance architect Pietro Lombardo's use of polychrome marble, sculpted pilasters, and ornate reliefs lends a distinct grandeur to the exterior and interior, where the fabled icon still stands proudly on display.
Because of its architectural importance, it's best to visit Santa Maria dei Miracoli as part of a Venice art and architecture private tour. Many private walking tours stop also stop here, along with other famous sights like St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, and the Rialto Bridge.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Art and architecture tours generally involve some walking, so wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat.
- Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli is mostly wheelchair accessible, although the main altar, by Pietro Lombardo, is located up a flight of steps.
- Filled with pretty squares and quiet backstreets, the surrounding neighborhood of Cannaregio is one of Venice's most delightful.
- If you’re planning to tour the interior of the church, be sure to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.
How to Get There
The Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli is located on the Miracoli Canal at Ponte dei Miracoli. Take vaporetto (water bus) line 1 or 2 from San Marco or the train station down the Grand Canal to the Rialto stop near the Rialto Bridge, then walk north along the Miracoli Canal.
When to Get There
Venice is one of the most popular destinations in Italy, and the city can be especially touristy in summer. Time your visit to late fall or early spring to enjoy the city without the crowds.
It’s said that the pastel-colored marble used for the facade of Santa Maria dei Miracoli was taken from leftover construction materials after the completion of St. Mark's Basilica, also in Venice.