BASILICA OF THE FRIARS, EXTERIOR

Audio File length: 1.53
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

To get an overall idea of ​​the basilica, you should walk away from the square and go over the bridge that crosses Rio dei Frari: this viewpoint lets you take in this massive church and offers a view of the church's façade and the left side. The church as a whole appears very harmonious and unified thanks to the sophisticated use of only two materials: bricks and lightly-colored Istrian stone.

From this position you can admire the curious shape of the façade from the best angle, with its large circular windows in the center and the three small spires emerging from the top. The robust supporting pillars crossing the walls of the façade and side are not only due to the size of the basilica but also to the need to properly anchor it into the sandy canal bottom.

Now go back over the bridge and head back to the façade. Before entering, I suggest walking around the basilica.

 

Now pause the audio and go to the portal on the left-hand side.

 

You probably noticed that walking around Frari Church is almost like circumnavigating a continent: it narrows and widens, there are chapels and sculptures, it's a continuous surprise! But perhaps the most fascinating point is the square, or campo, which lies between the side of the basilica and the façade of San Rocco Church, with the wonderful Renaissance façade of the Grande Scuola di San Rocco.

Now continue your walk around the church all the way to the back... and we'll talk about the church's interior in just a little bit!

 

FUN FACT: look at the robust bell tower with the octagonal temple above it, and try to avoid getting whiplash staring up there; with its 70 meters in height, it's the second tallest bell tower in Venice after the one in St. Mark's Square.

 

 

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