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San Michele in Isola: Overall view of facade
The earliest record of Codussi's activity in Venice is in 1469, when he was named as the designer of the new abbey church of S Michele in Isola. The community of Camaldolese hermits had already rebuilt their cloister and campanile when Codussi took over. The design of S Michele introduced many new ideas into Venice, filtered through Codussi's sensitive appreciation of local traditions and materials. This was the first time that a church façade in the city had been completely faced in Istrian stone, an innovation taken up a century later by Palladio in his Venetian churches. The distinctive lobed profile would have reminded Venetians of the lunettes of S Marco and the trilobate façades of many of the lagoon's Gothic churches. Yet the design was also imbued with new ideas imported from Tuscany and the Marches: the façade , for instance, recalls Alberti's church of S Francesco in Rimini. Letters show that the monks knew Alberti's De re aedificatoria (ca. 1450), and they probably conveyed their interest to Codussi.