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Dragon Bones

You gotta love the Internet. Yesterday I wrote that I'd love to see the dragon bones in the church of San Donato, and within hours I had photos of them in my email box!

And even better, my blog friend AnnaLivia told me that I could post her photos on my blog. I'm so grateful to her! The best part of blogging has been all the friends I've "met" from all over the world. :)

AnnaLivia has one of the most beautiful Venice blogs there is (Mes Carnets Vénitiens) and she welcomes comments in French, Italian, and English. And check out her header photo...it's the mosaic floors in this same Murano church (the best floors of all, even better than the ones in San Marco, in my opinion). She has some other photos of the church floor on her blog here.

This is such a beautiful church (love the Madonna mosaic on gold) and below the Madonna are the bones of the dragon that San Donato slayed.




To me, this church is the main reason to visit the island of Murano. The glass shops are fun, the glass museum is very interesting, but this church is magical. Opening hours are posted below. Here are a few vintage images of the church:




This church has several names. Sometimes it's called San Donato di Murano, other books call it Santi Maria e Donato, and the Patriarch of Venice website calls it Ss. Maria Assunta, Donato Martire e Cipriano Vescovo e Martire (whew!).

Opening Hours:

Monday - Saturday: 7:45-12:00 and 3:45-7:00
Sunday: 3:45-7

Mass Times are here.

More photos of the exterior of the church are here.


Thanks AnnaLivia!

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Comments (17)


Thanks for this, Annie! AnnaLivia's photos are wonderful, that gold mosaic with the Madonna is stunning. In fact, the entire church is spectacular.

The dragons bones are very intriguing, they DO look like a whale's bones. But perhaps that's just the result of a really fast evolution -- maybe the dragons were driven into the sea and eventually became whales. Or they shared the same family tree in the distant past and evolved into different branches. But all kept the same really big rib cage! Or not.

Sandra, I love your theory! Makes perfect sense to me. :)

My pleasure Annie :)
Have a nice evening!


Thank you so much for all the information on both the shrine and how to find the church. I have added the information into my ever growing packet of must see!! ;)) while in Venice. You are so right, the internet and the blogging world, has opened the door to so many more friends all over the world that we would otherwise have never known.

Happy Easter!

LB :

The power of the internet always amazes me, too! And, I did visit this church only briefly. Very beautiful inside & out!

Thanks for the link to AnnaLivia's blog! Her photos are gorgeous and the header image is absolutely stunning.

I believe this is the first time that I see a Byzantine-style mosaic with Mary. All the ones I've seen had the Christ Pantocrator.

Thanks to AnnaLivia for sharing her dragon bones. I like Sandra's theory. Intriguing indeed!


Hi Annie I must get to see this church when we next go in September. Looks great. BTW have you read "Vivaldi's Virgins" by Diana Quick. Lovely book - I finished it last night. You'd love it I think.


Sorry I meant Barbara Quick. Who's Diana?

I'm glad that many of you have added this church to your "must-see" list. It's really an amazing place.

Andrew, no I haven't read that Vivaldi novel yet. Thanks for the rec - I'll add it to my list.


Hi Annie, thanks so much for sharing your friend's wonderful blog. And I was really curious to see her photos of the dragon bones from your previous post. This church is really beautiful. I regret not stopping on the island of Murano to see it.

Thanks so much to you and Annalivia for sharing her beautiful photos.

I love the Madonna. I love churches with this type of work. I totally missed the church when we quickly stopped in Murano. Another reason to return.

I am so excited to discover AnnaLivia's blog, Mes Carnets Vénitiens. Thanks so much for sharing her link.

I also wish I was there when the church was open. I missed going inside during both of my visits to Murano and loved seeing these photos.


Ahh, how beautiful it looks! Alas this church was closed when we visited Murano, but hopefully I'll see it another time. Gorgeous photos, and I too love Sandra's theory on the dragon bones!

I've been having trouble accessing the ST blogs recently, they all hung when I tried to load them. Glad things seem to be back to normal! (Could have been the network at my office and not something widespread, we've been having issues...of course I shouldn't be reading blogs at work anyway, but oh well!)


Did you know that the saint killed the dragon by spitting at it?
The 'other' church on Murano, San Pietro Martire, is worth a look for the wood carvings in the sacristy.

Hi Bert, spitting? That is useful information in case I run into a dragon!

I agree, the "other" church is well worth a visit too.

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