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Of very ancient origin (it is assumed around the seventh century), legend has it that one night the Madonna appeared in a dream in "vague form" to the then Bishop of Oderzo San Magno, ordering him to build a temple in a place she indicated. Tradition also has it that the Tribuno family contributed financially to the construction of the church dedicated to the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, which was later renamed Santa Maria Formosa, in honor of the shape assumed by the Madonna during the apparition.

The first renovations of the building are attested during the second half of the 9th century by the Patrizio family (on that occasion, however, the church obtained the title of parish); the great fire of 1106 led to the second reconstruction of the church which remained so until 1492, when due to the precarious conditions of the supporting structures it was decided to carry out a total renovation of the building.

The work was commissioned to the architect Mauro Codussi, who died before the completion of the works in 1542, although it is certain that at the death of the designer at least the internal part had already been completed.

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