Ospedale dei poveristori, Venice


The Gesuiti complex (Santa Maria Assunta) (Wikipedia image)


One of the many churches that will attract your attention in Venice is the Gesuiti, which you will pass if you’re on the way to the Fondamenta Nove in Cannaregio.

The long building  seen in the photo above, attached to the church, is the ex-Ospedale dei poveristori. (Thank you, Bert, for bringing it to my attention.) I’m frustrated in my attempts to find out anything about this building, but the name suggests it would have offered care and shelter to the poor. (povero=poor)

What Bert had mentioned was the bas-relief on the wall of the ospedale, which I had merrily passed many times, without so much as a glance. 

Here is a view of the carving. The date on the panel (MDXI) is 1511, which predates the time when the Jesuits took over this church, in 1657.


OK, what Saint is this, with shears in one hand, a bag of money (perhaps), clasped in his left hand and a tower and other buildings in the background?

My efforts (not successful) took me to many sites, including this one,   saintsart   where I found out more than I ever want to know about martyrs! And, do you know how many names of saints begin with “H”? I take it that the carving behind the saint (HOB) does indicate a clue to his name.


Can we agree that this represents Mary and Jesus? Good, on to the next person represented.


I believe this might be Saint Barbara. The arrow and plume in one hand, the tower with 3 windows in her left hand are among her saintly symbols. We’ve encountered her before, here is one version of her story.  liturgicalyear


Is this you, Saint Barbara?

Now my tale is told, and I need a cup of coffee.



Filed under Venice

42 responses to “Ospedale dei poveristori, Venice

  1. RMW

    Thanks for your posts about Venice I am enjoying them!


  2. Love this street, but I’m glad someone else sorted out the iconography.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We came across St Barbara in Hallstatt, when we visited the salt mines. There we were told she is the patron saint of miners. I wrote about it here https://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/salt-of-the-earth/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good grief, it is our old friend St Homobonus of Cremona


  5. Okay, this is too funny because I almost made a smart (or not so smart) remark about tailors and cutting cloth (as someone who used to sew all of her own clothes) but tried to be more circumspect….which is quite unusual for me. Anyway I simply love Wikipedia (it’s telling me all about those ancestors I’m finding on Ancestry.com) and here is what they have to say about Saint Homobonus:

    One of my recent exciting finds is to discover that I am directly descended from the woman that the legend of Maid Marian (Robin Hood and Maid Marian) was based on. She was no “maid” but a widow with children…Maud le Vavasour . Now maybe my sister will pay attention (there’s really no hope for that).
    I’ll look for you saint of tailors on my next visit to Venice.


    • joanneh

      Sorry for my snarky comment! I had just opened a letter from the local gov. telling me my water would be $38.00 an inch for my pasture. Not something to make one happy. I to will have to look for this next time I am in Venice

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t see any need for you to apologize, Joanne. Says the woman who just discovered yesterday that the US Government wants her to pay taxes on 100% of her Social Security! Wait, didn’t I pay taxes on that all along? But then maybe the Social Security deduction was pre tax dollars. Okay I’m confused and I’ll get it sorted.
        That is a horribly high water bill by the way. I hope you get lots (not too much but just enough) of rain.


        • joanneh

          I got the same SS notice a couple days before at this point I think it would just be simpler to have my checks go directly to government account then I would not have to deal with trying to fill out the zillion form income tax forms.
          A inch of water is not going to cut it………..hopefully we do get some rain


        • I live in Seattle. I’ll send some rain your way.


      • Oh, that’s a most unwelcome blow, Joanne. I do hope you get some decent rain. How large is your pasture?


        • joanneh

          ranch is 900 acres of which about 810 I lease out. the part I keep for my horses and house is about 90 which would make my water bill over 3,000 a month when two years ago it was around 800 a month giant leap looks like no trips for me, my boys have to eat.


        • That is an absolutely nightmareish bill to face each month, Joanne. 😦


  6. Bert

    I’m over here, Janet.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Janet Graham

    Just love the Church from the outside, regardless of Saints,but am learning,

    where is Bert these days ?


    • Same here, Jan, I’ve learned so much about Saints!

      A friend who lives in Venice just told me that the building where you’d find this bas-relief is now student accommodation, with a very good café. I’ll try to eat there in May!


  8. Wow points to Jane for the saint of tailors! Who knew?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Here’s one reference, with the translation:

    The building that housed the old ospeal is still perfectly recognisable in fondamenta dei sartoriat number 4838, thanks to the bas-relief is walled up above the entrance door, which depicts the Blessed Virgin seated on a throne holding the Child, with the left side Sant’Omobono and right-side Santa Barbara, under whose patronage was the schola of Sartori, with the date 1511.
    On the frame are carved the initials of the Saints:

    S I[mo] (B) [ono] S B[arbara]

    between the relief of Sant’Omobono and Virgin is inscribed with the date:

    M D X I

    under Virgin’s throne, at the bottom:


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jane

    I found the above on line…..don’t know how to post things so didn’t collect the reference correctly….love your blog….Jane

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jane

    The Patron Saint of Tailors
    Bas-relief of the Ospedale dei Poveri Sartori, Fondamenta dei Sartori, Venice
    I wonder how many people could name the patron saint of tailors. Well, it is Sant’Omobono and today is his feast day. There is a charming bas-relief (dated 1511) on the Fondamenta dei Sartori in which we see the saint sporting a large pair of scissors. It marks the location of what was once a hospice for poor tailors (Ospedal dei Poveri Stori). Sant’Omobono (Saint Homobonus) is also carrying a large bag of money, which reminds us that he is the patron saint of merchants in general as well as tailors.

    The figure on the other side of the Virgin and Child is Saint Barbara, who was the patron saint of the Scuola dei Sartori.


  12. joanneh

    OK, what Saint is this, with shears in one hand, a bag of money (perhaps), clasped in his left hand and a tower and other buildings in the background?
    The US Government with its new 20 million dollar tax plan – As usual lovely photos keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Can you show a St Gerard next please.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The one with the shears and bag is easy. That’s Saint Barber Delilah who makes one weak at the knees for charging a bag full of gold for a haircut. Am I right Yvonne ? xox ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG!!! It’s so bloomin’ obvious, now that you mention it, Ralph. (Castigates self for being so slow.) 🙂

      Have you been to your ospedale yet for the magic potion that will turn you into George Clooney or (insert name of your choice, as long as it’s not Beyoncé, your fans might not cope with that.) oxo ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heehee ! Obvious !

        No magic potion. I’ll tell you all about it on my next Twilight Zone post. Am I crazy or just live in a crazy world ? The former I believe 😀

        So how is Dismal Swamp and the heat Yvonne ? Keep cool my friend !

        Love Twiggy :/

        Liked by 1 person

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