Chiesa di Santo Stefano


in San Marco

The free-standing bell tower, visible from the square behind, leans disconcertingly, but this brick Gothic church has stood tall since the 13th century. Credit for shipshape splendour goes to Bartolomeo Bon for the marble entry portal and to Venetian shipbuilders, who constructed the vast wooden carena di nave (ship’s keel) ceiling that resembles an upturned Noah’s ark.

It's well worth visiting the sacristy museum to see three extraordinary and brooding 1575–80 Tintorettos: The Last Supper, with a ghostly dog begging for bread; the gathering gloom of The Agony in the Garden; and the mostly black, surprisingly modern, Washing of the Feet. There's also a small cloister.