Madonna dell’Orto

„Don’t you have any respect for God’s holy places, oh Devil? You’re powerless against God’s justice and the faith of his people!”

That’s what Isabella Contarini, during the consecration of the Church Madonna dell’Orto in 1366, said to the young mason Paolo Delle Masegne who worked together with his father (Jacobello) and his uncle (Pietro Paolo) on the face of the church.

A maniac? A visionary? Actually, Isabella was considered a saint among the Venetian citizens as she cheated death and since was able to communicate with the afterlife.

According to a legend, the young mason tried to attack the young woman, but a priest was able to stop him be spilling holy water on him and, actually, the Devil’s spirit escaped from his body.

Actually, during the 14th century people began to be interested in Satanism and, obviously, the young mason too participated at black masses and was chosen by the Devil to fulfil his mission on Earth. For this reason, the Devil gave Paolo one of the silver coins that Judas received for his treason. The mason inserted it in one of the statues of the apostles (whom he gave the features of Judas too) and that you can still admire on the face.

The statue is still in its place above the portal of the Church Madonna dell’Orto and is said to fly to Jerusalem to the Akeldama (the „field of blood“ bought by Judas with the 30 silver coins) in the night of Good Friday, as the field demands the presence of all the coins that were used to buy it.

Origins of the Madonna dell‘Orto

The Church S. Cristoforo was built during the 14th century by the monk Tiberio from Parma. When a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary (that emitted strange lights by night) was found in a nearby vegetable garden (= “orto”), the church was renamed and dedicated to the Madonna.

The face was built in the 14th century by the masons Jacobello and Pietro Paolo Delle Masegne (together with Jacobello’s son Paolo); the same workshop worked on the Doge’s Palace, the Frari Church and the Basilica of Saint Mark.


  • Tomb of the painter Tintoretto, his daughter Marietta and his son Domenico
  • Artworks by Tintoretto

Opening hours

Mo – Sa 10 am – 05.00 pm
Sunday and holidays 12.00 pm – 05.00 pm


This post is also available in: German