Church of Santa Margherita – Venice, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Church of Santa Margherita

This deconsecrated church has seen many uses, from a tobacco storehouse to a cinema.  

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On a small calle near Campo Santa Margherita lies one of the most troubled churches in all of Venice. Its history dates to the 9th-century, making it one of the oldest religious buildings in the city.

After centuries of activity, the church was closed and deconsecrated in 1810. From that moment forward the former church saw a number of uses. It was first utilized as a tobacco storehouse and factory. Then in 1839, it became a depot for marble from other deconsecrated churches around Venice. Soon, the former church became a private studio for sculptor Luigi Borro, until it was finally transformed back into an evangelical church.

As the 20th-century rolled around, the building underwent another transformation. It became the home of the Chamber of Labor, then was reinvented into a cinema for more than 50 years. Now, the church is used as an auditorium for Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

The bell tower, the only part of the former church facing Campo Santa Margherita, is notable for missing its top. It was partly demolished in 1808 after stability issues arose. On the ceiling of the church is a fresco designed by Antonio Zanchi. The image depicts the martyrdom of Saint Margaret of Antioch.

Also of note are the rows of decaying busts that mark the eaves of the adjoining buildings.

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