The building stands on the foundations of a former Oratory, on a site near a tower (torresino) that was once part of the city walls. Today the cupola of the building is still surmounted by a small tower, and houses an image of Our Lady of Sorrows which, since the mid fifteenth-century, has been credited with miraculous powers.
The inscription above the main doorway tells us that the foundation stone was laid in 1718 and that work ended in 1726. The facade itself plays upon shifts in perspective, with the dynamic effect of brick-built walls enlivened with curved surfaces; at the truncated corners there are columns, whilst in the side wings the focus is on the lower level of the facade. The broken triangular pediment is enlivened by bas-relief sculptural decoration and crowned by a statue. The slim cylindrical bell-tower is crenellated and serves to link the atrium of the church with the main building, which further accentuates the dramatic effect of the scenography as a whole.
This is a central plan church, with a wide rectangular atrium and three apse chapels. The allegorical statues of The Virtues in the side niches are by the workshop of the Bonazza family, the most important sculptors in eighteenth-century Padua. At the centre of the church, under a cupola surmounting Corinthian columns, stands the High Altar, designed in 1978 by Carlo Scarpa. This is made up of a base block of polished black marble framed by brass, which is angled and shaped at the edges; the square-base pilasters are in brass and steel. The floor is decorated with a mosaic of polychrome marble tesserae.
Unique of its kind in Padova, the entire building reflects the Baroque taste that originated in the work of Francesco Borromini.