One of the largest churches in Venice, Santi Giovanni e Paolo is located in the Castello sestiere and was built on the remains of an earlier church. Doge Jacopo Tiepolo donated the land after he experienced a vivid dream in which white doves flew over it. Most of Venice’s doges had their funerals within Santi Giovanni de Paolo in the post-15th century, with 25 buried at the basilica.
Santi Giovanni e Paolo is designed in an Italian Gothic style, with its brick construction completed in the 1430s. It was dedicated to two martyrs - John and Paul - of the early Christian church in Rome and built on a relatively large scale to be the principal Dominican church in Venice at the time.
The interior of Santi Giovanni e Paolo features funerary monuments and wall tombs for the doges, as well as senators, admirals and captains who were buried within the basilica. Artists Gentile and Giovanni Bellini are both buried here, as is Palma the Younger and the poet Bartolomeo Bragadin.
A foot belonging to Saint Catherine of Siena is also displayed within the church, together with a magnificent statue of Madonna della Pace in a chapel on its south side. Other works of note include frescoes by Veronese and “Christ Carrying the Cross” by Alvise Vivarini that is displayed in the sacristy, as well as the “Three Saints” by Bartolomeo Vivarini in the north aisle. Adjacent to the basilica stands the Renaissance equestrian statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni, which was sculpted by Andrea del Verrocchio.