Undergraduate and graduate programmes offered by the University iuav of Venice:

The complex of San Pietro di Castello and patriarchal patronage in Renaissance Venice


In the context of the formation of the city of Venice, the island of Olivolo was excluded from the main director of urban sprawl, relegated to the extreme periphery of the city and away (even symbolically) by the political and religious center of San Marco and “emporium” of Rialto. The island was, from the ninth century, headquarters of one of the lagoon’s dioceses, and it has always been the official seat of the Episcopal complex of San Pietro in Castello (Cathedral, Bishop's Palace and the residences of the canons). Since 1451, when the island was chosen as the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, a series of urban and architectural renewals took over two centuries to complete reconstruction of the patriarchal seat with the intervention of architects such as Mauro Codussi, Andrea Palladio and Gerolamo Grappiglia. The research project examines all stages of reconstruction and focuses on the period between the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century, when the patriarchs Lorenzo Priuli (1591-1600) and Giovanni Tiepolo (1619-1631) promoted the reconstruction of the facade of the  patriarchal palace and the church.


The research focuses primarily on reconstruction, using a 3D digital model, the complex built in the thirteenth century (demolished in 1623), in the context of the island of Olivolo. In this way, it will be possible to assess the actual extent of the intervention of Gerolamo Grappiglia (1623-1630), but also a better understanding faįade designed (but not built) by Andrea Palladio for the medieval artifact (1558). The construction of the complex will be studied by understanding the role of the patriarchs in their difficult relations with the Venetian state and the Papacy.


The aim is to test the hypothesis of a real patriarchal patronage in Renaissance Venice, exploring the different architectural interventions as part of a single program of reconstruction that takes place over the course of two centuries.






1 San Pietro di Castello, foto dell’interno

2 Jacopo de’ Barbari, Venetia MD, dettaglio

3 Luca Carlevarijs, Chiesa patriarcale di S. Pietro di Castello, in Le fabriche e vedute di Venezia, Venezia, 1703

4 San Pietro di Castello, veduta del campanile

5 San Pietro di Castello, ex palazzo patriarcale, chiostro