Chiesa di San Martino – Burano's Only Church

Burano Church

Saint Martin, bishop of Tours in France, was born in Hungary in the 4th century. Thanks to the Franks, his cult spread throughout Italy during the Middle Ages. There are now numerous churches dedicated to San Martino around the country. Since the 16th century, the historical one has also stood on the Venetian island of Burano.

Burano now only has one religious building, St. Martin's. However, this was not always the case, as each district on the island had its own church and monastery. Surrounded by vividly colored buildings, the reddish-gray church appears unassuming from the outside. The only distinguishing and remarkable feature is its leaning campanile, which you can see from almost every spot on the island.



I know you don't go to Burano specifically to see the church, but if you happen to be strolling around its tiny center, I recommend you stop by. I went inside the church for a closer look. It's well worth seeing. The interior highlights include Giambattista Tiepolo's La Crocifissione from 1725, and Madonna di Kazan, a 19th-century Russian icon. The adjacent St. Barbara's Chapel accessed from the square houses the saint's relics.

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Burano Map


The Church's Brief History


The 11th century saw the construction of the Church of St. Martin. Rebuilt numerous times, it took on its current look between the end of the 16th century and the first half of the 17th century. Andrea Tirali, an Italian architect, designed and built the campanile at the beginning of the 18th century. The bell tower stands 53 (174 feet) meters tall and is inclined on the axis by 1.83 meters (6 feet) due to ground subsidence. Once an angel dominated the top, it fell after a storm in 1867, and an iron cross now replaces that. A fire in 1913 destroyed the central nave ceiling and the previous organ; the Mascioni company's current musical instrument contains over 2,000 pipes.


Architecture


The exterior is gabled and devoid of the marble facade, with the central section slightly higher and flanked by two side wings. An atrium leads to the main entrance. On the square-facing side, there is a Renaissance portal. Architected in Lombard-Baroque style with a Latin cross plan, the interior has three naves, ending in a chapel divided by Neoclassical pillars. The ceilings of the naves are cross vaults, as opposed to the chancel and side chapels. Six elegant columns of red marble from France and four ancient oriental marble adorn the high altar.


St. Martin's Church in Pictures

St. Martin's campanile
The church's leaning campanile

Chiesa di San Martino
The church's interior

Chiesa di San Martino
High altar

How to Get There


The Church of St. Martin stands on the largest islet of the island, in the Piazza Baldassarre Galuppi square, southeast of Burano.

Address: Address: P.za Baldassarre Galuppi, 20, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy



Opening Hours & Ticket Prices


There is no admission fee. Please check the church's website for operating hours.


The Secret Corners of Burano


The Secret Corners of Burano tour takes you to such destinations as St. Martin's Church and its leaning bell tower, Burano lace-making with a live demonstration, and the best spots to shop and dine on the island. Enjoy!


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