Thursday, April 13, 2017

VENICE 2017: The San Simeone Piccolo Crypt

Here's your chance to connect some dots!  HA!

Astrid and I knew we were traveling by train from Venice to Verona on Friday, March 31, a week after we arrived in Italy.  And because we don't like travel "surprises," we decided to make a dry-run to the train station the day before (since we'd be dragging our suitcases)...and buy our tickets.

Here's the trusty map again to give the lay of the land:
The red X marks our B&B; the red circle marks the crypt in the church across from the train station.
It was an easy 10-15 min. walk from our Cannaregio district to the Santa Croce district.

The train station on the Grand Canal is the point of entry for most visitors to Venice from the mainland.
If your back is to the train station, you look straight across to the San Simeone Piccolo church.
Completed in 1738, it's one of the last churches built in Venice,
and is the only church in Venice where the Mass is still celebrated daily in Latin.

But speaking of the train station, which is why we were there, we did figure things out.
Notice the dome of the church from the tracks, seen from behind the station.

 With our train business done, we were able to concentrate on the church directly opposite us.
We had no clue about it and just decided, on the spur of the moment, to check it out.
And OMG, are we ever glad we did because we believe it's one of Venice's best-kept secrets.
(Crossing the bridge to this side of the canal, you can look back and see the train station., top-left.)

A sign said no photos were allowed in the church but I managed to sneak in a couple of the nave.
The bottom images were below the nave on the way to the crypt...
whose passage was pointed out to us by a kind church keeper, for €2 per person.

Equipped with flashlights, included in the price, we entered the crypt, alone.
Later online we discovered the crypt is laid out in an octagonal shape, with 21 small chapels,
8 of which are still walled up and unexplored.
The altar stands in the center and meets you immediately upon entering.

But talk about feeling like we were in a maze of blind alleys!
The lights you see ahead in some of the images are from Astrid's flashlight.
We both ended up going our own way, believe it or not, without it feeling eerie.

It's hard to describe such a place, but surely the images speak for themselves.
It was a damp and cool space but, surprisingly, not musty.  We could see our breath.

I actually had the feeling some of the handiwork had just been painted yesterday.

The parts that looked macabre actually made us laugh.
How is that possible...but we both felt the same way, like someone was having fun.

There was even a vase of flowers (bottom-left) which I wish now I had inspected.

And at the very end, it was even ethereal.
Don't you wish these walls (and ceilings) could talk!

Interestingly, this crypt was not mentioned once in our two travel books.
Nor can you find much of anything about it online's still a bit of a secret.
Don't you wonder why?

As we left the church and turned right, we saw our B&B landmark churches in the distance.
It was time to head home for lunch...across the street from our B&B.

Lasagna, seafood spaghetti, schnitzel, and grilled salmon, all shared...with beer.
It was our last meal out in Venice!

The method to my madness in choosing first the Verona cemetery and now this Venice crypt,
is because of Holy Week...the celebration of death and resurrection.



  1. oh my word... thanks for the stuff of nightmares!! and you had to mention you could see your breath?? like in a horror movie when there are ghosts around??? Happy Easter, get out of that tomb!!

    1. LOL, Elaine. You really gave me a giggle with your comment. It's still strange that it did NOT feel eerie to us. How is that possible?

  2. Truly a serendipitous find, so soulful and wabisabi. Now shhhh, maybe no one else will find out about it and overrun it!

  3. Une belle présentation d'un Venise moins classique que ce que la plupart des touristes voient. J'aime beaucoup, cette ville mérite qu'on sorte des canaux et des places que tout le monde va visiter. Il y a des merveilles au coeur de la Sérénissime. Merci Ginnie

    1. We really did feel privileged to see this place, especially since we didn't find out about it from our travel books. I suppose one day soon it will be well-known. Thanks again, Marie, for stopping by.

  4. This was kind of fun to be down there.... our first reaction after entering the church was 'no pictures' okay out again, but then the man came and told us about the crypt... what a treasures we found there. Great pictures and what a finale to our trip in Venice. IHVJ

    1. I hate when we enter a church and discover no photos are allowed. WHY? I understand no FLASH being allowed, but why no photos??? Anyway, these churches are "museums" in the best sense of the word. But that crypt was totally something else. We'll never forget it, I'm sure.

  5. Great choices. What a find! Incredible place.

  6. That drives me crazy too...when no photos are allowed. What do they think we are going to do to it with our cameras? Like you...understand the "no flash" but geez...I always try to sneak at least one, ha ha and glad you did too! What a very cool experience!!

    1. In this case, the main church interior ended up NOT being the catch of the day, so we were lucky. There were no signs about no photos allowed in the crypt, so we clicked away, to our hearts' delight. THAT was the gold mine. (So glad you didn't slap my hand for breaking the rules in the nave. HA!)


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