Venetian Gothic Style (14th-15th Century)

 Venetian Gothic is the name of a style that combines Gothic‘s pointed arch and Byzantine-Moorish influences. The style originated in the 14th century.

Venice Italy - Creative Commons by gnuckx
Gothic windows on the Gran Canal, Venice, Italy

Image source: by gnuckx

Where it All Started

Venetian Gothic is Italian Gothic, with a confluence of cultures from Byzantine architecture to Islamic one. It was important in the 14th century and Venetian buildings went on being built this way until the 15th century. Because of this Venetian Renaissance architecture very often retained the features of its Gothic predecessor. In the 19th century, there was a revival of the style. Famous examples are the Doge’s Palace and the Ca’ d’Oro.

Ca' d'Oro, Venice
Ca’ d’Oro on the Grand Canal, 1428-30.

Image source: by Dimitris Graffin


The most important element is the presence of pointed arches. Venetian Gothic architecture is widely considered unique to Venice because of its lightness and grace of the building. This made Venice different in the use of elements that were common to several capitals in Europe. Traceries supported the whole building, not just lighter parts and in Venice rich colors were used. 

Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti
Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti is an example of Venetian Gothic architecture

Image source: by TracyElaine

Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti
Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti

Image source: by Turinboy

Venetian Gothic today

The most iconic Venetian Gothic building is the Doges’ Palace. It is one of the main symbols of the city in northern Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice. He was the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice. This place will be later opened as a museum in 1923. It was decided to underline his importance in Italian culture and the history of design in general.

Doge's Palace, Venice
Doges’ Palace, Venice, Italy

Image source: by IainCameron

Another important Venetian Gothic church is Santa Maria dei Frari, a Franciscan church, built in the mid-13th century. It will be later rebuilt in Gothic style in the 15th century.  This church is still very similar to those in the rest of Italy, the only difference is the use made of the building materials.

East front with the bell tower, Santa Maria die Frari, Venice, Italy
East front with the bell tower, Santa Maria dei Frari, Venice, Italy

Image source: by Didier Descouens

Abside exterior - Santa Maria dei Frari - Venice 2016
Abside exterior-Santa Maria dei Frari, Venice

Image source: by José Luiz

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