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Learn All About St. Marks Basilica Before Your Visit | History, Architecture, & More

Originally the Doge's private chapel, St. Mark's Basilica became Venice's cathedral in 1807, when it took on the role of the Patriarch of Venice. Known as the Chiesa d’Oro (Golden Church), this ornate cathedral seamlessly blends Gothic, Byzantine,...

St. Mark's Basilica St. Marks Basilica

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RECOMMENDED DURATION

2 hours

NUMBER OF ENTRANCES

4

EXPECTED WAIT TIME - STANDARD

30-60 mins (Peak), 0-30 mins (Off Peak)

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Did you know?

St. Mark's Basilica began as a daring heist in 828 when Venetian merchants snatched the body of St. Mark from Alexandria, Egypt, cleverly hiding it under layers of pork.

Boasting over 85,000 square feet of mesmerizing mosaics, the basilica's 13th-century artwork vividly depicts the perilous sea journey of the stolen relics.

With more than 500 Byzantine columns, some dating back to the 6th century, the basilica stands as a testament to grandeur and historical richness.




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St. Mark's Basilica Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
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Venice Icons: St. Mark’s Basilica & Doge’s Palace Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
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St. Mark's Basilica Skip-the-Line Tickets with Optional Audio Guide
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Combo (Save 3%): St. Mark's Basilica + Doge's Palace Skip-the-Line Tickets
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Highlights of St. Mark's Basilica

about st marks basilica
about st marks basilica

Real gold mosaics

The basilica features mesmerizing mosaics crafted with REAL gold, glass, and marble tesserae. These vivid artworks narrate biblical tales with vibrant colors and intricate designs, showcasing centuries-old craftsmanship and flair of storytelling. A beautiful reflection of Venetian wealth & religious devotion.

about st marks basilica
about st marks basilica

Treasury

This space consists of a collection of precious objects looted by the Venetians from Constantinople with a few pieces of art by ancient Venetian craftsmen. It showcases 823 pieces in gold and silver along with many other precious curios and is the most important part of the place.

about st marks basilica

Marble Inlays

The flooring of the Basilica is designed with marble in geometric patterns with over 2099 sq. meters in hues of earth tones with animal and floral designs added. Spot the intricate designs of peacocks, roosters, foxes, and more while you stroll through the Basilica.

about st marks basilica

Tomb of Saint Mark

The Basilica's crypt holds St. Mark’s body and is accessible for tours beyond regular opening hours. This part of the church was built to keep the corpse safe after it was brought from Alexandria. The area is designed with mosaics illuminated by dim lighting that adds to the whole feel.

about st marks basilica

Brief history of St. Mark's Basilica

  • 828 AD: Venetian merchants smuggled the remains of Saint Mark from Alexandria, Egypt, to Venice, elevating the saint to the city's patron and marking the beginning of the basilica's legacy.
  • 9th-10th centuries: The original church was constructed to house Saint Mark's relics.
  • 976 AD: A devastating fire destroyed the original basilica, prompting the construction of the present-day St. Mark's Basilica.
  • 1063 AD: The new basilica was consecrated, reflecting a mix of Byzantine and Western European architectural styles.
  • 11th-18th centuries: St. Mark's underwent numerous modifications, including the addition of mosaics, sculptures, and the Pala d'Oro, showcasing its wealth and religious significance.
  • Early 19th century: Napoleon's troops removed the Quadriga horses, but they were later returned to the basilica.
  • 20th century: The basilica survived bombings during World War II and underwent several restorations, preserving its historical and artistic wealth.

Who built St. Mark's Basilica?

St. Marks Basilica About

Doge Giustiniano Participazio stipulated in his will that his widow and younger brother and successor Giovanni would build a church dedicated to Saint Mark, wherein the relics would be housed.

It was built during the 9th century to house the very sacred relics. Domenico Contarini was the architect involved in building the St. Mark’s Basilica and was the 30th Doge of Venice.

Architecture of St. Mark's Basilica

Constructed back in the 9th century, St. Mark’s Basilica was built to house the remains of Saint. Mark’s corpse that was smuggled in from Egypt by Venetian merchants. The building was initially torched to the ground and eventually rebuilt to become an extraordinary structure that is admired by the world to date.

The structure is currently made of layers of white marble that were bought from the Middle East. The Basilica that is seen today is a cosmopolitan version of the original. The building has various elements from Byzantine architecture that make it remarkably exquisite. The place is famous for having a Greek cross layout and for using an immense amount of gold in each of its attractions and because of this, the structure is often called the Church of Gold.

Frequently asked questions about St. Mark's Basilica

Why is the St. Mark's Basilica significant?

St. Mark's Basilica is significant for its religious importance as the resting place of Saint Mark, its stunning blend of Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture, and its reflection of Venice's cultural heritage as a center of trade and commerce. As an iconic symbol of Venice, it attracts visitors worldwide for its beauty and historical significance.

What are the must-see highlights at the St. Mark's Basilica?

Some must-see highlights at St. Mark's Basilica include the Pala d'Oro, a stunning altarpiece adorned with precious gems and enamel, the Byzantine mosaics depicting biblical scenes and saints, the Treasury housing religious relics and artifacts, and the stunning architecture of the basilica itself, including its domes and marble columns.

Why was the St. Mark's Basilica built?

The St. Mark's Basilica was built to house the relics of Saint Mark the Evangelist, which were stolen from Alexandria, Egypt, in 828 AD. The construction of the basilica was commissioned as a grand tribute to these sacred relics and as a symbol of Venice's power, wealth, and religious devotion.

Who designed St. Mark's Basilica?

Domenico Contarini designed the St. Mark’s Basilica.

What architectural style is the St. Mark's Basilica known for?

The St. Mark's Basilica is renowned for its unique blend of architectural styles, including Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance influences.

When did St. Mark's Basilica open?

St. Mark’s Basilica opened on 8 October 1094.

What’s inside St. Mark's Basilica?

Within the interiors of St. Mark’s Basilica, there are more than 8000 square meters of gold mosaics and other intricate designs. There is also the sacred tomb of Saint Mark.

What is the St. Mark's Basilica famous for?

The St. Mark's Basilica is famous for its stunning Byzantine architecture, intricate mosaics, and its status as the final resting place of Saint Mark's relics. It stands as a symbol of Venetian history, culture, and religious devotion, drawing visitors from around the world to admire its grandeur and beauty.

Is the St. Mark's Basilica free?

No, entry to St. Mark's Basilica is not free. There may be a fee to enter certain areas or for special tours, but general admission typically requires a ticket purchase.

How do I book tickets to visit the St. Mark's Basilica?

To book tickets for St. Mark's Basilica, you can visit the authorized online ticketing platforms. Additionally, tickets can also be purchased on-site at the venue. It's recommended to book in advance to secure your preferred date and time, especially during peak tourist seasons.