I Frari

Top choice basilica in San Polo & Santa Croce

A soaring Gothic church, the Friary's assets include 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. Upstaging them all, however, is Titian's 1518 Assunta (Assumption) altarpiece, in which a radiant red-cloaked Madonna reaches heavenward, steps onto a cloud and escapes this mortal coil. Titian himself – lost to the plague in 1576 at the age 94 – has his memorial here.

The current 14th-century brick basilica was constructed by the Franciscans to replace a smaller church, built on land donated to the order by Doge Jacopo Tiepolo in 1231. The 12 round pillars running between the nave and aisles are said to represent the apostles.


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