San Simeon Piccolo's Church
The Church of San Simeon Piccolo is situated in the “Sestiere“ of Santa Croce, facing the Grand Canal in front of the Santa Lucia Train station.
Its real name is Church of Saint Simon and Judas, the two apostles but it is commonly called San Simeon Piccolo just to distinguish it from the Church of San Simeon the Prophet, also known as San Simeon Grande (big) which is anyway smaller despite its name!!!. It is the only church in Venice where the Mass is still celebrated in Latin.
The church was erected in 1738 by Giovanni Antonio Scalfarotto (Neoclassical period, he also projected the façade of the Church of San Rocco and the San Salvador Bell Tower.) It is characterized by the evident disproportion of the dome to the rest of the building. The disproportion is so evident that there are few anecdotes involving also few greats of the past including Napoleon himself.
The inspiration to the Roman Pantheon is evident as well as some Byzantine and Palladian elements. The dome is shaped as an oval cup on the higher side so this determines the entire building to look higher than it actually is, the structure of the dome is entirely covered with lead sheet. On the façade there is an engrave (inside the tympanum) representing the martyr of the Saints, by Francesco Penso a.k.a. Cabianca XVIII century.
The inner side hosts minor operas if compared to many others in the City, this is just because we’re in Venice the endless-wonder city. Over the various altars can be admired paintings by Antonio Marinetti from Chioggia, Francesco Palazzo, Tommaso Bugoni and Angelo Venturini.
The Church has also a crypt, the underground is painted with religious scenes. The octagonal ambience has two long corridors crossing each other and in the middle there is an altar. Interesting to know is that inside the crypt there are 21 small chapels, eight of which are still walled up and unexplored. It is strange that in 2009 there are still unknown parts of the city !!!. In the underground there are also sepulchres of various parishioners, alas all unknown!