Chiesa di Santa Maria Formosa


Originally built as a thatch-roofed wooden church in the 7th century, Santa Maria Formosa was refashioned by Mauro Codussi in 1492 with new baroque curves that make good on its name (literally 'Buxom St Mary'). The curious moniker is said to derive from a vision of the Madonna appearing in the form of a voluptuous woman to St Magnus, Bishop of Oderzo.

Continuing on the theme is Palma il Vecchio’s polyptych of the forceful-looking St Barbara swathed in a billowing red cape atop an altar dedicated to the School of Shipbuilders, of whom she is patron saint. Also note the Byzantine icon of the Virgin of Lepanto near the main door.

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