The Frari Church in Venice
One of the great artistic secrets of Venice is the Frari church, formerly known as Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. It really is hidden and we wouldn't have known about it at all if it didn't have a dedicated track in the Rick Steves app. We likely would have walked right past it if we hadn't known to look for it. As a church it isn't unimpressive looking, but there are so many churches in Venice, and Europe generally, that it can be hard to know which ones you should go into. They are probably all worth seeing, but as with all things in travel there just isn't enough time.
How to Get There:
What You Will See:Unless you know an awful lot about 16th century Venetian art and the Franciscan order I would definitely recommend using the Rick Steves' audio guide here. I don't pretend to know anything about art of any century so I really liked having something to listen to in the Frari. I am sure I would have enjoyed seeing the religious paintings without the guide, but I certainly wouldn't have understood their significance in context.
One of the really special things about the Frari Church is the chance to see full alter pieces in their intended settings. The church has a number of chapels and each one has an alter piece of its own.
You also get the chance to see the church's reliquary which I was excited about since both Notre Dame and Saint Mark's charge you to see their reliquaries.
In addition to the art, there is a ton of it for a single church, and the relics, you will also see several tombs that are quite impressive. The visit to the church won't take you much longer than total length of Rick's audio guide, depending on how long you want to look at the artwork.
It is worth noting that you are allowed to take pictures in here, which is rare for a church. I did not realize this until we were leaving, which is why we have so few and such low quality images for this post as I just snapped a few on my phone on the way out.