The Canal Grande of Murano, Santi Maria e Donato and Santa Maria degli Angeli
The Canal Grande of Murano
Although obviously not as famous or as important as its counterpart in Venice, the Canal Grande of Murano is rather splendid in its own right. Just like in Venice, the Canal Grande divides Murano into two sides, which are connected by three bridges, rather a lot considering the much longer Venetian Canal Grande only has 4. Along the Canal Grande rise the oldest glass factories and, just past the green metal bridge, on the left is the most impressive building in Murano: Palazzo da Mula, which was the holiday residence of a powerful Venetian family, who in the summer would escape here from their equally impressive palace on the original Canal Grande.
Santi Maria e Donato
Arriving from the bridge, it is hard not to be enchanted by the two rows of byzantine arches supported by slim white marble columns, with capitels each different from one another. This is Santi Maria e Donato, often called San Donà by locals, and it is the oldest church in Murano. The lightness of the colours and the gentleness of the curves outside are overwhemlingly serene, and the inside is just as beautiful. This church is famous for its floor mosaics from the 12th century, and the golden mosaic of the Praying Mary, a unique piece of byzantine craftsmanship, which should not be missed.
Santa Maria degli Angeli
The Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli is set in a very peculiar location; with the square still covered in grass and the small well in the centre it reminds us of how Venetian campi once were; the word itself, “campo”, means field and once all over Venice and the surrounding islands, you would have seen farm animals pasture around next to vegetable gardens. In any case, Giacomo Casanova was known to attend mass here regularly, and not because he was a devote Catholic, but because there was once an old convent next to the church, and he had began an affair with one of the nuns there, not altogether shocking for 18th century standards.
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