Santi Giovanni e Paolo was founded by the Dominican order in 1246 but not finished until 1430. Between 1248 and 1778, 25 doges were buried here. The vast interior - 101m (331ft) long - is a single spatial unit; the monks' choir was removed in the 17th century, leaving nothing to impede the view. Santi Giovanni e Paolo is packed with monuments to Venetian heroes as well as doges.
The entrance wall is dedicated to a series of funerary tributes to the Mocenigo family. The grandest - a masterpiece by Pietro, Tullio and Antonio Lombardo - belongs to Pietro Mocenigo, who died in 1476: the doge stands on his own sarcophagus, supported by three warriors representing the three ages of man. The religious reference above - the three Marys at the sepulchre - seems almost an afterthought.
The second altar on the right features an early polyptych by Giovanni Bellini (1465) in its original frame. Continuing down the right side of the church, the huge Baroque mausoleum by Andrea Tirali (1708) has two Valier doges and a dogaressa taking a bow before a marble curtain. Tirali also designed the Chapel of St Dominic, notable for its splendid ceiling painting by Giovani Battista Piazzetta of St Dominic in Glory (c1727). The right transept has a painting of St Antonine Distributing Alms (1542) by Lorenzo Lotto. Above are splendid stained-glass windows, to designs by such Renaissance artists as Bartolomeo Vivarini and Cima da Conegliano (1470-1520).
On the right side of the chancel, with its Baroque high altar, is the Gothic tomb of Michele Morosini; opposite is the tomb of Doge Andrea Vendramin, by the Lombardo family.
The rosary chapel, off the left transept, was gutted by fire in 1867, just after two masterpieces by Titian and Bellini had been placed here for safe keeping. It now contains paintings and furnishings from suppressed churches. The ceiling paintings, The Annunciation, Assumption and Adoration of the Shepherds, are by Paolo Veronese, as is another Adoration to the left of the door.