About Basilica Di San Marco
The Basilica Di San Marco is said to house the remains of the Venetian saint, St. Mark. A Patriarchal Cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, it is also known as St Mark's Basilica. It was erected next to Palazzo Ducale by the Doge - one of the most popular leaders of Venice, in 828.
This splendid Cathedral built in Italo-Byzantine and Gothic style is known for its remarkable multitude of domes and over 8,000 meter square of luminous mosaics and ornamentation.
Take a private or a group tour of the magnificent Basilica which houses some of the most precious artworks and relics in Venice. Or attend the Mass for that feeling of tranquillity and serenity, it comes with no entrance fees. However, reserving a spot for the Mass is recommended.
The St. Mark's Basilica is located within St. Mark's square, one of Venice's oldest and most prominent locations and is confined by the Grand Canal in the north. Therefore, the Basilica is also in proximity to Venice's other significant attractions like The Campanile di San Marco, The Bridge of Sighs, Pala d'Oro and Doge's Palace.
Furthermore, taking a tour of all the major sites within and around the Basilica complex amplifies the experience even more. If you are a history buff or an art enthusiast, you are sure to have a blast visiting the museums within the Doge's Palace or the Bridge of Sighs.
Additionally, you cannot miss the panoramic views of the city and St. Mark’s from the top of the famous Bell Tower. Apart from this, another must-do activity is to take a gondola ride in the Canale Grande to get to the St. Mark's Basilica.
How to Reach Basilica Di San Marco
-Fastest Way - Piazzale Roma is the nearest airport from where one can get a regular cab and reach the Santa Lucia Train Station in 15 minutes. The total cost incurred, with the luggage fee, is a maximum of 50 Euros.
-Cheapest Way - Taking the bus from the airport to the destination. It costs around 8-9 Euros and the frequency of the buses is every 30 minutes
-Via Ferry - One can take a direct ferry from the airport to Rialto ‘B’. It takes 53 minutes, and from there the destination is at a walking distance.
Best Time to Visit Basilica Di San Marco
St. Mark's Basilica is the spiritual center of Venice, which is why it is also a must-see attraction for the region. There’s no way to avoid bumping heads with other visitors on a visit to this beautiful place. There are, though, moments of the day when the lines in St. Mark's are thin out.
Try visiting this amazing cathedral at the time of mid-spring which falls in the month of May. In case you have a tight schedule in May, the other suitable months to visit are April, September, and October.
The second half of April isn’t much cold, and by the first half of May, winter is already over. The days are warm, which allows the sun to shine brightly over the church. Try visiting the cathedral in the morning hours so that you do not miss the shine that the mosaics reflect.
What Not to Miss at Basilica Di San Marco
Below are some of the features of Saint Mark as well as other tourist attraction sites.
1. The horses of Saint Mark
As mentioned above, the remains of the horses of Saint Mark, were kept in the Basilica. It may interest you to know that the designers of these four horse sculptures used bronze to make them. Initially, these four horses depicted a quadriga and now millions of tourists, including architects and designers, visit Basilica with the primary aim of seeing the remains.
2. The Campanile
The campanile is a tall square tower at Saint Mark. The tower has an approximate height of ninety-nine meters, and history has it that the famous square tower got first constructed back in the 12th century. Would you like to know the campanile's architect? Well, Pietro Tribuno designed this magnificent Saint Mark's campanile.
The incredibly magnificent square tower stands close to the front of the Basilica. The square attracts plenty of tourists owing to its unique design, as well as the height. You won't believe this; in 1609, Galileo used the tower to research the skies. What a spectacle to behold!
3. Saint Mark museum
This large museum houses different exhibitions such as the ancient mosaics fragments, liturgies, the Persian carpets, illuminated manuscripts, to mention but just a few. Tourists will also enjoy the unbelievable splendor of the Doge's palace as well as antiques therein.
The first thing that comes to mind when the name St. Mark is mentioned is the Mosaics. The place is famous for over 7500 square meter mosaics, which covers the Basilica's walls. You may not believe this, but some of the mosaics are over seven centuries old but still look attractive.
5. The Clock tower
Does the name Torre dell' Orologio ring a bell? Well, this is a Venetian icon located at Piazza San Marco. Mauro Codussi is the person behind this amazing icon. The management allows tourists to climb this tall tower if they please, to get a better look at the figures. This clock does not just show hours but it equally shows moon phases as well as Zodiac signs.
6. The Procuratie and Ala Napoleonica
As the attraction site suggests, this site borders the Procuratie, which used to be the previous procurator's offices. In 1805 King Napoleon ordered the construction of another building to finish off the final part of the piazza, which is now the king named the structure Ala Napoleonica. The Ala Napoleonica got constructed to harmonize the already existing Procuratie Vecchie as it was becoming smaller.
7. The Saint Mark's Square
The Saint Mark's Square is a public square located in Venice, Italy. The construction of this square began in 800 and ended in 1100. This fantastic square is a splendid social as well as religious ground for millions of people from Italy and beyond. Out of millions of tourists visit the square to enjoy seeing its magnificence.
This place also attracts people who intend to hold concerts as it's large and flat because it is surrounded by several buildings, which are open for tourists at a pocket-friendly rate.
Other Essential Information About Basilica Di San Marco
The Cathedral is located at a religious hub named Piazza San Marco. This area of the city of Venice, consists of many historical buildings such as St. Mark’s Cathedral, Doge’s Palace. Known to be the public square of the city, it looks like a beautiful drawing room in the middle of the city.
Entry to the Basilica is free of charge when it isn’t the holiday time. During the vacation months, the Cathedral charges a certain sum of money to various parts of the building from foreign tourists such as the museum, bell tower, etc.
-The Opening Hour:
The Basilica of Saint Mark is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays after 4:30 p.m. The last entry is usually 15 minutes before the closing date.
Photos and filming are forbidden inside the cathedral.
-Distance From Nearest Airport:
The distance between Venice Airport (VCE) and Piazza San Marco is around 8 km. The approx road distance is 14.3 km.
History of Basilica Di San Marco
The Basilica Di San Marco is located in Venice in Italy. In the nineteenth century, the church served as the chapel of the Doge. The body of St. Mark was found in a cathedral in Alexandria in the 9th century. The merchants of Venice had to carry it in complete isolation, without letting anyone know.
They did so in pots of pork fat. The Basilica that we get to see today, had to be reconstructed due to a fire that caused the entire cathedral to burn down. Due to the fact that the Venetians thought that the corpse of St. Mark was now lost, they built the bell tower in the memory of St. Mark.
In the year 1094, the body of the saint was again found in one of the pillars of the cathedral. After that, the entire church was reconstructed as per the Italian architecture theme. It was also made fire-proof so that there was no possibility of the cathedral to be destroyed ever again.
History has it that the church replaced St. Theodore since the 19th century. Before that, St. Theodore used to serve as the patron saint of Venice. Since Basilica Di San Marco is close to the Doges' Palace, it used to serve as the Doge's chapel.
Although the church is a symbol of protection, unfortunately, it went up in flames in 976. The fire was due to a spat, revolution against doge Pietro Candiano IV. This occurrence resulted in the re-construction of a new Basilica that had completed in 1071.
When the church was reconstructed in 1063, the constructors chose to build it in the Greel form of architecture. For this reason, hundreds of Italian and Byzantine laborers got hired to help in the construction work.
The chapel's constructors used inlaid marble as well as glass to make the floor and decorations, such as mosaics, especially on the walls. Decorations of the Doge Domenico Selvo using mosaic decoration began in 1071 and went on up to 1084.
The Basilica Di San Marco Horses
The first thing that tourists notice when entering the cathedral is the two shiny horses that are placed at the entry of the majestic church. Very few people are actually aware of the story behind the two copper horses.
These were originally four horses that were built to be placed over a triumphal arch. Also, these horses were initially created to be placed in Constantinople's Eastern Capital region; however, that did not happen. It may interest you to know that the Horses of Saint Mark is also known as the Triumphal Quadriga. Interestingly, the designers of these four horses used bronze to cave them out. Initially, the horses depicted a quadriga.
Another fascinating fact is that, although the horses are known to be made of bronze, it actually consists of impure copper. When the original horses were casted, the temperature had to be kept really high.
Also, that is why, the people who built the two horses, that we now see at the entrance of the St. Mark’s Cathedral, had to be made with high-purity copper so that it could look similar to the original one.
The decision to keep the sculpture in the Basilica was informed by gradual damage by air pollution. Anyone from all over the world can see these fantastic remains from the Basilica.
Facts about Basilica Di San Marco
-The Basilique began with the humpback tale of abduction. The very precious relics— relics that got taken— were found in the first Basilica of St. Mark in the ninth century!
-There's plenty of mosaics here to cover 1 to 5 football fields.
-Due to the fact that the mosaics are made of gold, one should try visiting the church at different points in the day to see the different colors that the mosaics reflect.
-The Basilica has above 500 columns. Maximum amongst these are Byzantine, and are as old as the3rd century.
-There are treasures hidden at various points in the cathedral, including the horses that stand at the entrance.
-Even after being rebuilt, the Bell Tower collapsed again in 1902 due to an earthquake. This is one of the most recent happenings that again caused the reconstruction of the Bell Tower inside the Basilica.
Other Amazing Experiences at Basilica Di San Marco
1. One can find amazing places with all the facilities that are setup by the locals of the city in lieu of the tourists. Some of these facilities include restaurants, lounges such as Bar Caravellino which is known to be one of the oldest bars in the city of Venice, hotels such as Residenza Ca' Brighella which is also one of the best hotels in town.
Millions of tourists visiting St. Mark get accommodation services at discounted prices, especially during the festive seasons.
2. The Basilica also presents several recreational facilities such as ferry rides. Not to mention that, they're privately owned recreational facilities. After a long day visiting St. Mark Basilica and the museum, you can comfortably relax your mind by riding the ferry or taking a stroll at the city square where other historical buildings are located too. Canal riding is another fabulous option to feel refreshed.
3. Saint Mark's museum is highly abundant with exhibitions, including books. For this reason, the site provides the ideal environment to soak up as much history as practically possible. It may also interest you to know that there are plenty of guides there for the visitors.
These guides are always more than willing to answer any question that one may have regarding the site. What better way to enrich your history knowledge than to pay Saint Mark's?
4. Saint Mark's Basilica holds every visitor in high regard. For this reason, they make all the visitors feel at home and offer speedy services. Usually, it's advisable to visit the Basilica in groups. Group tours are advantageous as one pays not only less but also gains access to reasonably restricted areas. Isn't that fun?
5. Rarely does it happen that a single attraction site has additional sites within it. The St. Mark's Basilica is one such unique tourist attraction site. The tourist site has multiple locations such as St. Mark's square, the mosaics, the clock tower to mention but just a few. What's even enjoyable is the fact that one only has to cough up a small amount of money in the form of tickets.
6. Anyone that has ever paid a visit to the Basilica can admit how that experience is inspirational. Seeing the kind products and designs that the late used to use provokes one to become better in their area of specialization. For example, no architect that has visited the site can say that they've not obtained the drive to further their career. You need to visit the place to experience the same as well.
7. One is welcomed warmly by professional attendants, whose concern for your comfort is heart-warming. The food, recreational facilities, staff as well as the accommodation facilities there are second to none!
Tips For Visiting Basilica Di San Marco
-Arriving early can make it easier for you to roam about the entire church peacefully, and without encountering much crowd.
-Put on the boots, or at least other sea-worthy shoes because there is always water around the church, irrespective of the season.
-Spend time to check out each and every pillar, column, tomb, tower, etc. of the Basilica because that is the only way to know about the essence of the church.
-Do not miss out on seeing the hand of St. Mark that is placed in a jar at the museum of the church.
-In case you want to see the real beauty of the Basilica, try visiting it at three different times in the day. It glows like gold in the sunlight, at dusk it looks like it is made of copper, and the night brings about an altogether different glow to the cathedral.