Chiesa di Santa Caterina – Mazzorbo's Only Church

St. Catherine's Church

Famous for lace-making, the colorful island of Burano in the Venetian lagoon is a popular destination for travelers. Most often by accident, a tiny percentage of them visit Mazzorbo, a nearby small island that exudes absolute serenity and tranquility, with the only sacral building, Santa Caterina.

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I was one of the few tourists who accidentally stumbled upon Mazzorbo while wandering the streets of Burano and who, with great curiosity, decided to explore the island. Although Mazzorbo is not as beautiful as Burano, it has several attractions worth visiting, one of which is St. Catherine's Church, a historical Romanesque-Gothic-style building.

Initially, ten religious structures stood on Mazzorbo. The sole one still standing is devoted to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Since an atrium, once a part of the abbey, covers the church, it lacks a façade. An attractive landmark on the island is the church's bell tower, dating from the fourteenth century, which has white mullioned windows and a weather vane with the initials SC on top.

St. Catherine's Church in Pictures

Mazzorbo chiesa
The church's interior

Mazzorbo church
The Latin inscription "Died on November 14, 1602" on the floor stab

"Madonna Enthroned with Child" pluteus fragment

Chiesa di Santa Caterina
The church's interior details

Mazzorbo chiesa
Relief "Madonna with Child"

The Church's Brief History

Constructed in its current form in the fourteenth century on the site of an earlier church, from its beginnings, Santa Caterina was a monastery church attached to a Benedictine convent where pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land also stopped. During the Napoleonic era, Santa Caterina became Mazzorbo's only parish church after the convent was closed and demolished.

The bell tower attached to the church has no known origin but is thought to date from the fourteenth century based on its architectural features. The structure still has three bells that ring to the beat of the day's rhythms, calling the faithful to worship. The oldest bell, cast in 1318, is possibly the oldest in the Venice Lagoon.


A sixteenth-century wooden portal, surmounted by an Istrian marble bas-relief, leads into the church's atrium. In the atrium, there are various ancient marble works. The single-nave church's liturgical hall features a square apse, four side altars, a sixteenth-century high altar, a baptismal font, and a unique ceiling resembling the hull of a 15th-century ship.

The church also keeps several paintings. The large altarpiece depicting Jesus' Baptism by the Italian Mannerist painter Giuseppe Porta is one of the most important.

How to Get There

The Church of St. Catherine stands in the southern part of the island of Mazzorbo, in Venice's northern lagoon. The island is easily accessible from Burano via the Ponte Longo, a wooden bridge.

Address: Address: Fondamenta di Santa Caterina, 54, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy

Island Hopping Tour: Mazzorbo, Burano, and Murano

Take the Island Hopping Tour if you want to escape the crowds of Venice and visit the Venetian lagoon's three fascinating islands, Burano, Murano, and Mazzorbo, all in one day.

Have you visited the church yet? If so, were you impressed by the historical building? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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