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Legend has it that San Magno, bishop of Oderzo - the place where he lived as a hermit -, founded eight Venetian churches: Santi Apostoli, San Giovanni in Bragora, Santa Giustina, Santa Maria Formosa, San Pietro di Castello, San Raffaele, San Salvador and San Zaccaria. Initially dedicated to both the Angel Raphael and St. Nicholas, it was later dedicated solely to St. Raphael the Archangel.

Surely the church that we can see today has nothing to do with the original building since, according to tradition, the place of worship was destroyed by three fires, one in 899, one in 1106 and one in 1149 and consequently it was completely rebuilt three times.

The precise date of the foundation of the temple is not certain while it was officially consecrated, and therefore mentioned in an official document, in 1193. This building, consisting of three naves, survived the wear of time until the seventeenth century when the precarious conditions did not ensuring stability to the structure, they led to its demolition and the construction of a new church.

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