San Zan Degolà

The church of San Zan Degolà, Venice
The Romanesque church of San Zan Degolà sits in a quiet part of the sestiere of Santa Croce. It is no use looking up Zan Degolà in any dictionary of saints; the name is the Venetian dialect for San Giovanni Decollato (Saint John the Beheaded). In other words, Saint John the Baptist. 

The church was founded in the 7th century, but rebuilt around the beginning of the 11th century. It was restored by the Pesaro family in the 13th century and further alterations were made at the beginning of the 18th century. 

The interior is made up of a nave, two side aisles and an apse, which is flanked by two chapels. The nave is defined by two rows of marble columns with 11th century Venetian-Byzantine capitals. In the chapel to the right of the apse there is a 14th century fresco of St Michael the Archangel, while in the left chapel are the remains of frescoes from the 13th century, which were discovered during restoration work in 1945.

Embedded into the exterior wall of the church is a fragment of a stone relief depicting the severed head of Saint John the Baptist.

Stone relief, San Zan Degolà, Venice

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