I Frari

sights / Religious

Lonely Planet review

This soaring Italian-brick Gothic church features marquetry choir stalls, Canova's pyramid mausoleum, Bellini's achingly sweet Madonna with Child triptych in the sacristy, and Longhena's creepy Doge Pesaro funereal monument hoisted by burly slaves bursting from ragged clothes like Incredible Hulks – yet visitors are inevitably drawn to the small altarpiece.

This is Titian's 1518 Assumption, in which a radiant Madonna in a Titian-red cloak reaches heavenward, steps onto a cloud and escapes this mortal coil. Both inside and outside the painting, onlookers gasp and point out at the sight; Titian outdid himself here, upstaging his own 1526 Pesaro Altarpiece near the entry. Titian was lost to the plague in 1576, but legend has it that strict rules of quarantine were bent to allow his burial near his masterpiece.