The neighbours called, and they want their grime back: when a recent cleaning of Francesco Contino’s 17th-century facade removed centuries of accumulated dirt on carved stone angels above the portals, it caused a local uproar. Had Venice lost its respect for the patina of age? But no similar argument was raised about the restoration of the baptistery, where Francesco Fontebasso’s freshly restored baroque frescoes glow like dawn in shades of pink, gold and pale green.
The cycle of paintings above the main altar has been attributed to the Guardi brothers, but no one is sure which one – the vedutista (landscape artist) Francesco or his lesser-known elder brother Gian Antonio (1699–1760). In the afternoons, the organist practises with fugues; ask the guardian about upcoming concerts.