THE EARLY CHRISTIAN MOSAICS OF JESOLO
In 1963 and 1985 the archaeological campaigns promoted by the Superintendency for Antiquities for Le Venezie and the Municipality of Jesolo uncovered the remains of two earlier churches, in the area where the north-west corner of the Cathedral stood. The first of these is remembered as the “mosaics church”. It was built in basilica form about 20×14 metres in size, and featured three semi-circular apses and an exquisitely beautiful multi-coloured mosaic pavement, dated 6th-7th century CE.
The fragments of mosaic recovered demonstrate the presence of squares featuring geometric patterns and frames highlighting a number of epigraphs indicating the names of the people who financed the magnificent decorations. Examples of religious buildings embellished with mosaics similar to the ones in Jesolo can be found in other places along the Upper Adriatic, such as Grado, Trieste and Pore.
The mosaic fragments were removed and restored to guarantee better preservation and are currently on display in the room next to the Tourist Information Office, Piazza Brescia 13, Lido di Jesolo.
NOTES ON THE MOSAICS OF THE EARLY MEDIEVAL CHURCH
Inside the church, the mosaic created as a partition between the three naves with two narrower side bands and a larger sized central corridor. The band to the south presented a geometric sea wave pattern within a toothed frame (O-N-H-G), which ended towards the apse with a square featuring concentric circles alternating with squares within a frame composed of arches (P); it is probable that this scheme was depicted symmetrically also on the band to the north (I). A large central clipeus decorated the middle corridor: the composition is developed inside a braid that enclosed a central square in which eight braided medallions and two large lozenges punctuated the space between a pair of concentric circles (A). The surrounding surface was filled with two bands featuring a scale motif within a frame of opposing oblique petals and panels of four-petal flowers (B-C-F). A large part of the middle section in front of the three apses has been lost: however at the ends two fragments of the scale motif within a petal frame, which is also present in the central clipeus, has been preserved (D-E). At the entrance to the place of worship was a continuous tessellate pavement where a linear sequence of large flowers composed of four serrated leaves with a central button was enclosed within a frame of opposing lotus flowers (L-M).