Nicknamed the “marble church”, Santa Maria dei Miracoli is one of the best-preserved examples of early Venetian Renaissance architecture. It was designed by Pietro Lombardo and built between 1481 and 1489 to enshrine a picture of the Virgin Mary, with the plans expanded in 1484 to include a new convent. The convent was built to house the nuns of St. Clare on the eastern edge of the church and connected by an enclosed walkway that no longer stands. Today Santa Maria dei Miracoli is one of the most popular places to be married in Venice because of its exquisite interior.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli is renowned for its magnificent colored marble facade that features delicate rosette, octagonal and cross patterns, with this intricate technique continued inside. The church boasts a golden domed ceiling that rises above the gray and coral marble walls, together with a beautifully decorated balustrade that is adorned with figures.
A wide barrel vault encloses the interior with a single nave, which is dominated by an ornamental arch that rises between the church’s two pulpits. Statues by Tullio Lombardo, Alessandro Vittoria and Niccolò di Pietro are on display, together with paintings of the prophets by Vincenzo dalle Destre and Lattanzio da Rimini.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli underwent extensive renovations from 1987 to 1997 when its marble cladding was cleaned in stainless steel tanks to remove the salt. While the restoration was originally expected to cost one million dollars, it ended up costing four times as much!