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San Michele in Isola

The island of the dead

San Michele and the Cappella Emiliana (left)

Come hither that you may see something great and singular... a temple which not only evokes antiquity but actually surpasses it.Paolo Dolfin

All Venetians eventually take that last gondola ride to San Michele, Venice’s walled cemetery island, where the massive cypresses shoot up like the pinnacles of a secret evergreen metropolis. The first church was built on the island in the 10th century, and from 1212 to 1810 it belonged to a Camaldolesian monastery that produced many scholars, most notably the cosmographer Fra Mauro (d. 1459).

The Church of San Michele

Next to San Michele’s vaporetto stop stands Mauro Codussi’s first work in Venice, the church of San Michele (1469), revolutionary not only in its style (an adaptation of the local Gothic tri-lobed church) but in its use of white Istrian stone in its façade, which soon became the rage in Venice.

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Early Renaissance Art


Film Sets

Lagoon and islands

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by Monica