„We won’t benefit from it? Neither will you!” thought the Muranesi (citizens of Murano) when they walled the barrel inside the Santi Maria e Donato Church and asked the Buranelli (citizens of Burano) to come and get it.
Wait a minute. Why should they immure an empty cask?
Well, said barrel was the “botasso de Sant’Alban” (the barrel of Saint Alban) that constantly sputtered wine when placed next to the relics of the saint.
Let’s be honest, we’d all love to have a barrel that’s constantly sputtering wine at home and the Muranesi just couldn’t accept that their neighbours had such a treasure for their own. Thus, one night, they started a cloak-and-dagger operation and stole the beloved relic from the Buranelli.
The next morning, the first Buranelli arrived on the island of Murano. They were very angry and requested their treasure, but the barrel had already been walled in the church.
The Santi Maria and Donato Church
Today, you can still admire the precious relic: Once you entered the church, have a look at the breathtaking floor mosaic and then raise your sight to the arches to your left. You’ll see the lion of Saint Mark and just next to it the famous barrel.
The church itself is a masterpiece of Venetian architecture: The original structure dates back to the VIIth century (consecrated to the Virgin Mary). The church was completely rebuilt in the XIIth century when the relics of Saint Donato were brought to Venice from Greece.
Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato
Campo San Donato
On weekdays (including Saturday) 09.00 am – 06.00 pm
Sundays and holidays 12.30 pm – 06.00 pm