For the first time visitor to the city, emerging into the daylight from the shaded interior of the railway station is a dramatic experience. The open space before you seems full of light, accentuated by the white stonework around you and the sparkling green waters of the Grand Canal.
Then your eye is grabbed by a small church on the opposite side of the Canalazzo, small in stature but also in name for this is San Simeon Piccolo (the little Saint Simon; distinguishing it from another Saint Simon nearby).
Visually the church punches above its weight, its four classical column drawing the eye upwards to a bright green dome, the verdigris of its copper matching the hue of the waters below.
Personally I like it, but it seems I’m out of step with the views of more notable individuals:
One of the ugliest churches in Venice or elsewhere. Its black dome, like an unusual species of gasometer, is the admiration of modern Italian architects.
Ruskin (Clearly before the dome achieved its present verdant colour)
I have seen churches without domes before, but I’ve never, until now, seen a dome without a church.
At the risk of causing greater offence, I took advantage of the recent rain to double the impact of that dome.