torcello lion I went to the outer island of Torcello in the lagoon just to see the Santa Maria Assunta Basilica that was founded in 639 CE (current era) and improved upon from about 864-1008. It has a worn, unassuming, somewhat dreary outer appearance and is rumored to be the 1st church built in Venice. What you'll find inside although is unlike anything you've ever seen ...the initial difference is the complete lack of any paintings ...but don't worry, the MOSAICS are to die for ...especially the floor, which was just incredible.
torcello tile 1
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Another amazing thing I noticed while looking at the floor was that the beautiful old marble strata had been horizontally cut as it was deposited so that the ancient fossilized ammonite's shells were perfectly sliced exposing their inner coils. This I thought was funny, because there was proof of evolution in the house of creation! Ammonites are after all how William Smith proved with objective reality the evolution of species from their observed complexity in the higher layers of geological strata.

torcello ammonite 1
torcello ammonite 2
Unfortunately, I was unable to take pictures of the best examples because of their location. The finest one was in white marble and measured about 18 inches in diameter and displayed exquisite detail. Upon returning to Venice I noticed thereafter that practically ALL of the marble in every church I visited, most foot bridges, hotel lobbies and even the whole plaza of San Marco has a grand abundance of countless ammonites!
Pshaw Road