|Campo entrance - Church of San Trovaso - Photo: Cat Bauer|
(Venice, Italy) The Church of San Trovaso is so named because Venetians mashed the names of two saints together: the twin brothers, San Gervasio and San Protasio, patron saints of Milan. Gervasio and Protasio came from an aristocratic Milanese family in the first or second century -- some say during the time of Nero -- when being a Christian was a dangerous thing. The details are sketchy, but both their parents were also saints: their father was Saint Vitalis and their mother was Saint Valeria of Milan. First the father, then the mother, then the brothers were all martyred for their faith.
The Church of San Trovaso was originally founded in ancient times; some say the 9th century. On record, it was rebuilt by the Barbarigo family in 1028, destroyed by fire in 1105 and rebuilt. More than 400 years later, in 1583, the church collapsed. Work began the next year on a design by Francesco Smeraldi, a pupil of Palladio, resulting in the church we see today.
|Altar of Church of San Trovaso - Photo: Cat Bauer|
The Church of San Trovaso has two facades, and two main entrances, one on the canal side, and one on the campo
side. Legend says this was to accommodate two warring factions of the population in Venice: the Nicolotti, whose headquarters were on the West side, based around the Church of San Nicolo dei Mendicoli (Donald Sutherland's church in Don't Look Now
). The Nicolotti were fishermen, and they wore black colors.
The Castellani were based in the East, down by Arsenale in Castello, and were workers that built Venice's ships. They wore red.
|Nativity scene - Church of San Trovaso - Photo: Cat Bauer|
The Church of San Trovaso was considered neutral territory; hence the two facades and two entrances. Enemies that pray together, stay together. Centuries later, in February 1848, when the Austrians ruled Venice, a red Castellani scarf and a black Nicolotti scarf were found together on the steps of the Madonna della Salute altar. On March 22, 1848, the short-lived comeback of the Venetian Republic began.
Let's hope that the year 2018 finds everyone putting aside their differences to work together for the benefit of all Humankind.
Happy New Year from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog