On October 7th, 1571, the fleet of the Holy League (a coalition of Catholic states) decisively defeated that of the Ottoman Empire in the battle of Lepanto, the last major conflict in the Mediterranean fought entirely between galleys.
To mark the leading role the Venetian navy played in the battle, a statue of Santa Giustina (on whose feast day the battle had taken place) was placed above the land entrance (Porta di Terra) to the Arsenale. The statue is the work of Girolamo Campagna (1549-1625), a sculptor from Verona.
The Venetian Senate also decreed that each year an andata (procession) should take place on the saint's feast day, whose body lay in a Benedictine monastery in nearby Padua. The procession started in the Piazza San Marco and wound its way to the convent church of Santa Giustina, where specially minted coins (known as giustine) were handed out to the nuns.