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The Basilica of San Marco: its history and useful information for the visit

The Basilica of San Marco , one of the architectural jewels of Venice, contains a history rich in adventure, sacredness and intrigue. Located in Piazza San Marco, next to the majestic Palazzo Ducale , this basilica is not only a place of worship, but a symbol of the power and wealth of the Serenissima Republic of Venice .

The history of St. Mark's Basilica

The history of the Basilica of San Marco has its roots in the year 828 , when Venetian merchants performed an act of audacity by smuggling the relics of San Marco from distant Alexandria in Egypt, to protect the city and consolidate their religious identity. Legend has it that the merchants hid the precious relics inside a barrel of pork fat, a cunning move that survived inspections, considering the detestation of the animal in Arab culture.

The beginning of the construction of the Basilica of San Marco dates back to the year 828, when the building was conceived as an extension of the Doge's Palace . The original basilica suffered a tragic fate in 928, when it was set on fire during a revolt against the Doge Pietro Candiano IV. However, this tragedy marked the beginning of a new era for the basilica. The construction of the current basilica began in 1063, the project aimed to celebrate the prestige and prosperity of the Venetian Republic.

Byzantine architecture became the backdrop against which a unique synthesis of Eastern and Western influences developed. The five large domes, the Greek cross plan and the use of precious materials from the East were all elements that gave the basilica an unparalleled majesty. Here the current structure of the Basilica of San Marco was consecrated in 1701 and has embellished Piazza San Marco .

The highlights of St. Mark's Basilica

To organize a visit to the Basilica of San Marco it is important to know the salient points to pay attention to. The interiors of St. Mark's Basilica are a riot of light and color, thanks to the magnificent mosaics that adorn its walls and domes. With over 8000 square meters of mosaics , the golden details shine with a magical light, creating an atmosphere of sacredness and beauty. The internal architecture, with its Greek cross layout and imposing domes, captures the imagination of visitors, transporting them to a world of wonder and enchantment.

One of the most precious jewels of the basilica is the Pala d'Oro , an unparalleled work of art. This Byzantine altar panel, set with hundreds of gems, including pearls, emeralds, sapphires and rubies, is a testament to the mastery of the goldsmiths of Venice and Constantinople. Guarded by protective glass after Napoleon stole some gems in 1797.

It is important to pay attention to the marbles of the basilica , after the fourth crusade of 1204, Venice was enriched with precious marbles from Constantinople. These marbles, used in the construction of the basilica, give a touch of majesty and splendor to the structure. From the red porphyry associated with imperial power to the pavonazzetto used for the columns of the apse, each marble tells a story of grandeur and magnificence.

Continuing the exploration of the basilica of Venice, we must not miss:

  • The Tomb of Saint Mark : located under the presbytery of the basilica, the saint's relics rest here. Recently the subject of controversy, with some theories suggesting the presence of the bones of Alexander the Great, the tomb continues to be a place of devotion and veneration.
  • The Treasury of the Basilica : composed of over 283 pieces in gold, silver and other precious materials, it is a priceless treasure of art and history. Divided into four sections, it includes ancient objects, Byzantine goldsmith works and Islamic art.

Some important information for visiting the Basilica of San Marco

Let's see some useful information to visit the Basilica without stress:

  • The basilica is open to visitors from 9.30am to 5.15pm every day; on Sundays and holidays it is open to visits from 2pm to 5.15pm.
  • The bell tower of the basilica is accessible every day from 9.30am to 9.15pm.
  • Entry to the Basilica is free, they can be used through the Porta dei Fiori entrance and from Piazzetta dei Leoncini, with prayers starting at 8am and ending at 7.30pm each day.
  • Both ticket offices close thirty minutes early.

Finally, it is possible to purchase a ticket with a free headset guide which allows you to skip the queue up to 10 minutes before entry.

St. Mark's Basilica: a jewel in the crown of Venice

The Basilica of San Marco is just one of the jewels in the crown of beautiful Venice, which contains many things to discover, district after district To visit the Jewish ghetto or get lost in the city canals, just one day is not enough, you need to book a stay of at least one night; to save on your budget you can use the many opportunities given by the Venezia Card and take advantage of the advantage of booking a private apartment online .


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