Fondamenta delle Penitenti, Cannaregio 893
“Pio loco” delle Penitenti and church of Santa Maria del Patrocinio
“Pio loco” and Church of Santa Maria delle Penitenti
The “pio luogo delle Penitenti” in Venice, active since the first years of the eighteenth century at San Giobbe, was founded on the initiative of Giovanni Badoer, Patriarch of Venice at that time, with the specific purpose to welcome the prostitutes who voluntarily accepted to follow a path of redemption inspired by the monastic enclosure model.
Thanks to the more and more increasing number of guests and to the bequests from many nobles in favour to the charitable institution, in 1725 they could build a new and complex building designed by Giorgio Massari, an important member of the eighteenth-century architecture.
The church, part of the complex, was opened for worship in Autumn 1744 and consecrated in 1763, even though the façade had not been completed due to lack of funding.
The painter Jacopo Marieschi was called to decorate the church dedicated to the Virgin and to Saint Lorenzo Giustiniani; who first realized the ceiling canvas which represents the glory of the Virgin and Saint Lorenzo Giustiniani, then the altarpiece for the main altar which represents the Virgin and the Child surrounded by a group of Saints, whose hagiographic stories had to inspire the female guests of the “Pio Luogo” [“Pius Place”] and induce them to keep a good behaviour.
Starting from early nineteenth century, after the fall of the Republic, the Complex changed its constitution aims, converting the building into a “hospice” for independent old ladies. The reformed Institution will be active till the final closure occurred in 1995. In 2009 the restoration work of the whole architectural complex began.
The restoration project, concluded in 2015, has been realized with understanding and collaboration between IRE (now I.P.A.V.) and the Comune di Venezia [“Venice City Council”] in order to convert the large spaces into a residence for dependent elderly people and into a day-care centre for Alzheimer patients.
Visit the Church of Santa Maria delle Penitenti
Don’t miss one of Venice’s most beautiful and spectacular monuments, a unique jewel off the classic tourist routes.
Visits to the Church of Santa Maria delle Penitenti are by reservation only. Let us know the date and the number of people you would like to come and we will get back to you as soon as possible with all the information you need.
Write us to book your visit
Chiesa delle penitenti
Fondamenta Cannaregio, 910, 30121 Venezia VE, Italia
+39 041 309 6605