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Cappella Colleoni 360° virtual tour
This is a private family burial chapel, belonging to one of the most spectacular sights of the city. Its elaborately carved facade became a symbol of the entire oldtown. The rarely photographed interior contains interesting Renaissance tombs and frescoes painted by Giambattista Tiepolo.
Cappella Colleoni was built between 1472-1476 as a family burial chapel of Bartolomeo Colleoni, a famous and wealthy captain-general of the republic of Venice. In order to build the chapel, a 12th century apse and the sacristy of Santa Maria Maggiore had to be demolished by his soldiers. Sculptor-architect Giovanni Antonio Amadeo was commissioned with the task of planning a building that is on one hand suitable for religious usage and respects the style of the church, but on the other hand is a landmark of the entire city.
1. What to see
Facade of the chapel is adorned with a polychrome marble decoration in white, red and black. Above the entrance is a rose window, flanked by two medallions portraying Julius Caesar and Trajan.
Inside the most striking monument is of course the enormous tomb of Bartolomeo Colleoni facing the entrance. Both sarcophagi of the tomb are decorated with reliefs of Episodes from the Life of Christ, providing an evidence of the extraordinary plastic capacities of Giovanni Antonio Amadeo. A gilded wood equestrian statue of the general is to be seen above the second sarcophagus. It is a work of two German sculptors, Sisto and Siry from Nuremberg in 1501. Since this chapel served as a family burial place, Medea, the favorite daughter of Colleoni was also buried here. Her tomb on the left wall was personally executed by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo.
In the dome there are splendid frescoes by Giambattista Tiepolo (1732-1733) illustrating virtues and episodes from the life of St. John the Baptist (John, the Baptist preaching, the Beheading of John the Baptist etc.).
The small presbytery has a high altar sculpted by Bartolomeo Manni in 1676 with statues of the three saints to whom the chapel is dedicated, John, Mark and Bartholomew, by Pietro Lombardo. The altar table, to a design by Leopoldo Pollack, is supported by angels carved by Grazioso Rusca. There are two paintings by Giambattista Tiepolo in the lunettes of the presbytery: Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew and St. Mark the Evangelist.
2. When to see
During high season (April to October) it is open from Tuesday to Sunday 9am-12.30pm and 2-6.30pm. During low season it closes earlier at 4.30pm.