Until 1807, San Pietro in Castello was the cathedral of Venice, and its remote position testifies to the determination of the Venetian government to keep the clerical authorities far from the centre of temporal power. There has probably been a church here since the seventh century, but the present building was constructed in 1557 to a design by Palladio.
The body of the first patriarch of Venice, San Lorenzo Giustiniani, is preserved in an urn elaborately supported by angels above the high altar, a magnificent piece of Baroque theatricality designed by Baldassare Longhena (1649). In the right-hand aisle is the so-called 'St Peter's Throne', a delicately carved marble work from Antioch containing a Muslim funerary stele and verses from the Koran. The Baroque Vendramin Chapel in the left transept was again designed by Longhena, and contains a Virgin and Child by the prolific Neapolitan Luca Giordano. Outside the entrance to the chapel is a late work by Paolo Veronese, Saints John the Evangelist, Peter and Paul.
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