Basilica di Santa Maria e San Donato

It seems to have been founded in the 7th century, about the time of the arrival of the first refugees on the islands of the Lagoon, and was dedicated to St. Mary, as appears in a document dated 999, but then took the name of San Donato after the arrival there of relics of the Saint of Cefalonia in1125. The basilica was finished in 1140, as is indicated by the mosaic in the floor. Consecrated in 1125, it is one of the oldest religious buildings in Venice. The outside has a double facade, the apse being on the side of the rio, on a hexagonal plan with an imitation portico with niches, columns and an arched gallery over the top. The facade facing the land side is much more important, remembering the importance of the sea to the Venetians. The interior, which is on a three-naved basilical plan with five columns a side, retains its spectacular mosaic floor which recalls the one in St.Mark’s.

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