The Church of San Simeon Piccolo in Venice

Of San Simeon Piccolo in Venice, Napoleon is said to have stated that he had seen many churches without a dome in his lifetime but he had never before seen a dome without a church. Of course, his jest has to do with the proportions of the great dome of San Simeon Piccolo in relation to the rest of building. 

Indeed, San Simeon Piccolo is a small church that has a large presence in the Venetian landscape. In modern terms, this is aided by the fact not only of its great dome, but also by virtue of the fact it is located right across from the modern day train station and, as such, it is one of the very first sights one is greeted with in Venice. But beyond its presence in the contemporary Venetian landscape, its location, situated as it is on the Grand Canal, has made it one of the subjects of painters over the years. This has made it one of the iconic churches of Venice, next only to San Marco and Santa Maria della Salute. 

The first church at this location goes back to medieval times, but the present church largely dates to a reconstruction began in 1718 and its great dome has its roots in Venice's Byzantine influenced roots. Sitting in front of the church is a great portico lined with Corinthian columns, above which are found reliefs depicting the martyrdom of Ss. Simon and Jude -- the titular saints of the church.

Christ resurrected, found at the very top of the cupola

The interior is relatively simple all things considered, though it should be recollected that most churches would have begun in this way, having additional ornament only added in successive decades and centuries. The interior has a Pantheon-esque feel, circular as it is for the most part, with two side altars located near the presbytery where the high altar is found.

The high altar itself is quite noble, framed as it is by statues of the patronal saints, Ss. Simon and Jude. 

Going around the presbytery are wooden stalls for the chapter that was once there. 

Some other details:

The tabernacle door

One of the lesser known features of San Simeon Piccolo is the crypt located beneath the church -- a crypt that contains various memento mori, scenes of the Passion and Old Testament, and a crypt altar set in an octagonal room. Some of the rooms of this space have been since walled off and their contents are unknown.

As a point of contemporary historical interest, this particular church has always exclusively been used for the celebration of the usus antiquior and remains so to this very day 

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