Murano island’s architectural highlight is the Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato, whose magnificent apse is reflected in the waters of the San Donato canal. Despite some heavy-handed restoration undertaken in the 19th and 20th centuries, this 12th century church retains much of its original beauty. The galleries running round the apse probably housed wooden statues.
Visitors should note the Byzantine columns and Gothic roof. Inside, a mosaic portrait of the Madonna, standing alone against a gold background, is striking. The floor of the church is equally beautiful, with its medieval mosaics of geometric figures, birds and mythical creatures (similar to those on St. Mark’s Basilica floor) incorporating fragments of ancient glass from the island’s foundries in its imagery.