Santa Maria dei Miracoli. Foto credit: www.norbertheyl.com
Ezra Pound called it a ‘jewel box’; today it is one of the most popular churches to celebrate a wedding.The Miracoli church is an intimate and at the same time spectacular hidden shrine of Venice.
Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, but called by everyone Our Lady of the Miracles because of a miraculous image of the Virgin Mary standing above the main altar, this late 15th century church is a symbol of the Venice of that time: rich, with a sophisticated sense of beauty, proud to carry on the classical legacy of the antique world, and proud of its very miracle: to stand on the water, like the church itself.
If someone was thinking that the Doge’s Palace of Venice with its lavishing gilt ceilings, its great masterpieces by Veronese and Tiepolo and hundreds of years of history visible on its many paintings was not attractive enough, now there is a new reason to visit it.
18th century banker; Jewish banks must have looked just the same.
In the 17th and 18th century the Jews of Venice were a rich and flourishing community.
Officially, they could work only as money lender, have pawn-shops or deal with second hand clothes and furnishing, but then of which quality! Sir Wotton, an English nobleman who lived in Venice, bought furniture, fabrics, carpets, chandeliers and other various objects in the Jewish Ghetto. Even most of the decorations for the golden boat of the Doge, the Bucintoro, came from the Jewish shops.
People often think that Venice is a city where history has stopped with the fall of the Republic; a city that has not been touched by modernity .
On the contrary throughout the 19th and 20th century there have been intensive discussions on new urban plans that would help to develop the economy; thousands of buildings were pulled down and reconstructed in new forms.
You are visiting the most famous cities in Italy: Rome, Florence, Venice. You don’t want to waste time to see another Madonna, another Crucifixion or another gilded table. All what you have always known about Italy is that there is good food, a trendy life-style and old traditions and this is what is worth to see. Right?
Yes and no.
Sure we have good food, fashion, design, cafès and lots of interesting traditions but we are all well aware that what we have in the present developed from the past. When Italians go and visit other Italian cities they are very curious about the history and the art of the place, and they do go in museums in order to know more about it.
Watch this video on the restoration of the Bartolomeo Colleoni monument, the famous captain originally from Bergamo who fought for the Venetian Republic. The Restoration was generously sponsored by the World Monuments Fund.
Colleoni’s wish was to have after his death (1475) a monument in St. Mark’s’ square, but the Republic would have never granted such honor to a single man.
A compromise was found; the Colleoni would have a wonderful monument but in front of the Scuola di San Marco, in the wide campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo.
The Senate commissioned the monument to maybe the best sculptorer in Italy, Andrea del Verrocchio from Florence. Due to the death of the artist, the equestrian monument was later cast in bronze by the Venetian Alessandro Leopardi (1481).
In his genre, the equestrian monument of Colleoni is a masterpiece. Verrocchio referred to the ancient monument of Marco Aurelio in Rome, to the Gattamelata by Donatello in Padova, to the Regisole in Pavia and created a daring composition, where the horse paces majestic on his three paws and the captain, with hard face, seems already concentrated in the battle.