San Clemente Church

When history, art and culture merge together.

The Church of San Clemente, founded in 1131, is adjacent to the Hotel and is one of the city’s most interesting cathedrals — its past tightly woven with the great families of Venice who were its patrons.

As the Island prepared for its new destiny as a heaven for international travellers, the Church has been restored with artistic works that served as evidence of the island’s glorious history.  Dedicated to a Pope who was lost at sea and very dear to the Venetians’ hearts, the original structure was built in the Romanesque style with a single cross nave, but was enlarged and embellished in the late 15th century with artistic works that can still be enjoyed today. 

The Camaldolesi monks, who lived on the Island until the suppression of religious orders in 1810, supported new projects and improvements to the Church and monastery.  A wealthy and powerful Venetian patron family, Morosini, sponsored the restoration of the Church’s façade in 1452.  They entrusted the work to Andrea Cominelli, who placed busts and coats of arms of the Morosini family above the portal, and set statues of Sts. Benedict and Romuald among the soft Renaissance lines and symmetries of the stonework, and added a beautiful Madonna and cherub into the molding to frame the arch. 

Francesco and Tommaso Morosini also commissioned sculpture relief battle scenes on the façade celebrating their family’s conquests in the war against the Turks. A cedar sculpture of Madonna that has belonged to the church since 1646 resides above the altar.  Among the other restored treasures in the Church remaining today are paintings and frescoes by artists, including Giovanni Segala, Pietro Ricci, Francesco Ruschi and others whose names may not be known, but whom experts consider to be among the best pupils of the Venetian school.