Venetian Relics II: Dragon Bones?
On Wednesday Fr Whinder and I spent a wonderful day on the Venetian island of Murano, famous for its glass-making and also several fine churches. One of them, Santi Maria e Donato, was founded in the seventh century and rebuilt in the twelfth, in order to accomodate the relics of St Donatus, which the Doge had brought back with him from Cephalonia in 1125. You can see the saint's shrine above the High Altar in the picture. Along with St Donatus' body, the Doge brought back the bones of the dragon that he reputedly killed by spitting at it. These are displayed behind the High Altar:
There can't be many churches that claim the actual bones of a fabulous beast; I wonder if any scientific tests have been conducted on them! Sadly most visitors ignore them and concentrate on the mosaics on the floor and apse.
Afterwards, we had a fantastic meal at the nearby Ai Frari (above), where I fell in love with tagliolini (long pasta) with stewed cuttlefish, cooked in cuttlefish ink. Sounds ghastly but it was delicious!