Mysteries & Legends
Freemasons in Venice and the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene
Venice, an ever magic and mysterious city, was already in the 18th century the centre of an influential Freemasonry fraternity, whose members also included the famous adventurer Giacomo Casanova.
Here, the Freemasonry fraternity was so powerful and rich that they had a church built following the Freemasonry doctrines – the church of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cannaregio.
A few components of the Baffo family, affiliated to the Freemasonry in Venice, contracted the architect Tommaso Temanza, also a member of the fraternity, to build the ‘Freemasonry’ church. Temenza designed a perfectly round building with a neo classic style and a symbol of the Freemasonry etched on the architrave of the main door – an eye inscribed within a circle and a pyramid with the writing ‘SAPIENTIA EDIFICAVIT SIBI DOMUM’, a reference to the cult of the divine knowledge, which is at the base of the Freemason ideologies.
Temanza himself is buried inside the church and his headstone is decorated with a line and compasses, the most important symbol of the Freemasonry, as its members would define themselves as ‘builders’.
It is no surprise that this ‘Freemasonry’ church is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, a mysterious figure, sometimes rejected by the church, beloved instead by the Freemasonry and its members who considered her a symbol of wisdom and the struggle against the obscurantism of the church.
If the unusual places of Venice are the ones that interest you the most, contact us! We will create an unforgettable personalized tour in Venice just for you in collaboration with Francesca, the editor of this popular section.