Basilica di San Marco, Venice

4.5 out of 5 stars 244 Reviews

Piazza San Marco - SAN MARCO 39-041-5225205

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • San Marco Basilica interior - Gold cupolas
    San Marco Basilica interior - Gold...
    by suvanki
  • Basilica di San Marco, Venice
    Basilica di San Marco, Venice
    by spidermiss
  • Basilica San Marco
    Basilica San Marco
    by aukahkay
  • croisbeauty's Profile Photo

    Sestiere San Marco - Four horses

    by croisbeauty Updated Nov 7, 2014

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It is believed that the four horses came from Constantinople. They were cast in almost pure copper, harder to melt but easier to gild.
    After Napoleon Bonaparte declared the official end of the Venetian Republic (1797), he trades the Veneto to the Austrians for Lombardy. Before leaving the city of Venice, among other things, French looted the four horses. They were returned by the French Government only after 1815.
    The fact is that Napoleon's army committed immeasurable damages all over the city and the region. So, for example, many religious buildings were totally devastated because this wild soldiery used to transformed churches into the barns.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • MichaelFalk1969's Profile Photo

    Basilica di San Marco

    by MichaelFalk1969 Updated Oct 23, 2014

    The best-known of all Venetian churches, the Basilica San Marco was built in the byzantine style in the 9th century AD. Despite continuos restauration and additions to the treasury, the basic shape of the church and architectural style of San Marco remained. The interior is decorated with extensive gold mosaics, showing biblical or historical scenes.

    Many of the treasures here were robbed during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, when Venice manipulated a Crusader Army into the conquest of Constantinople, among them the statue of the Tetrarchs (Roman Emperors) and the Quadriga above the main cathedral entrance (a copy - the original is in a museum).

    In the early days, the Basilica was the private chapel of the Doge, but more and more it was used for state functions or public festivities. The status as a basilica is relatively recent, only given in 1807.

    San Marco

    Was this review helpful?

  • Roeffie's Profile Photo

    Basilica San Marco

    by Roeffie Updated Aug 17, 2014

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Basilica San Marco

    Todays church is the third church at this spot. It dates back to 1060. The Cathedral honours St. Marc who's remains were robbed by the Venetians in 828 from Alexandria, Egypt.

    I never visited Basilica San Marco without scaffolding around it. My first visit was somewhere in 1982, my second visit in 1994, my thirs visit in 1998 and now again in 2014. Always scaffolding.

    If you go inside be aware of the long queues especially in summer season. You have to dress appropriate otherwise you are not allowed to visit.

    Beautiful mosaic above the entrance. San Marco in 1998 with scaffolding Basilica San Marco seen from the side Water welling up in front of the Basilica Basilica San Marco in scaffolding 2014
    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • LizzyDanny's Profile Photo

    Magnificent

    by LizzyDanny Written Jul 18, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Exciting, romantic and incredibly beautiful! We booked the skip the line ticket on http://www.venetoinside.com, in this way we avoided the long waiting before entering St. Mark's
    Basilica. Saved at least 40 minutes in line for us!

    Was this review helpful?

  • LizzyDanny's Profile Photo

    Magnificent

    by LizzyDanny Written Jul 18, 2014

    Exciting, romantic and incredibly beautiful! We booked the skip the line ticket on www.venetoinside.com, in this way we avoided the long waiting before entering St. Mark's
    Basilica. Saved at least 40 minutes in line for us!

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • LizzyDanny's Profile Photo

    magnificent

    by LizzyDanny Updated Jul 18, 2014

    Exciting, romantic and incredibly beautiful! We booked the skip the line ticket on venetoinside.com, in this way we avoided the long waiting before entering St. Mark's
    Basilica. Saved at least 40 minutes in line for us!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Basilica di San Marco, the Tetrarchs

    by von.otter Updated Dec 27, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    “Facing the wide area of the great square stood the quaint and venerable cathedral of San Marco.”
    —from “The Bravo: a Venetian Story” 1834 by James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)

    The red porphyry group, known as the Tetrarchs, was carved about AD 300; it is cemented into the southeast corner of Basilica di San Marco. The four tetrarchs, Diocletian, Maximian, Constantius and Galerius, embrace one another. The similarity of their clothing and facial features assert the unity of the group over their individual identity.

    Tetrarch is formed from the Greek words ‘tetra,’ meaning four, and ‘arche,’ meaning rule. It was used by the Greeks to indicate a commander of a section of a phalanx.

    In AD 293 Diocletian established a tetrarchy, designating four rulers for the waning Roman Empire. He was the Eastern ruler and Maximian ruled the West. Each had a vice-ruler, who was his heir. This political arrangement, an attempt to retain order in the Roman Empire, failed after Diocletian retired in AD 305.

    Carved in porphyry, a hard purple stone used for imperial objects, these four emperors symbolize the equality of their rule. No individualized features are shown; they are dressed identically, even their swords have the same hilt (see photo #4); they are also the same height. Their embrace indicates their unity. The non-blinking eyes, boxy forms, and abstract air characterize late Roman sculpture, where symbolism took precedence over realism and individuality.

    The Tetrarchs, Basilica di San Marco, Venice The Tetrarchs, Basilica di San Marco, Venice The Tetrarchs, Basilica di San Marco, Venice The Tetrarchs, Basilica di San Marco, Venice The Tetrarchs, Basilica di San Marco, Venice
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • solopes's Profile Photo

    The Cathedral

    by solopes Updated Dec 18, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Located in the square where everybody goes, the cathedral is, of course, a must see. A fabulous example of byzantine art, it deserves a detailed observation either of its beautiful exterior either of its rich interior.

    Permanently crowded, the observation is not easy, but its possible to admire the rich combination of stones (and gold) that makes each square inch a piece of art.

    Venice - Italy Venice - Italy Venice - Italy
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Basilica di San Marco, the Domes

    by von.otter Written Dec 4, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    “St. Mark is distinctly the masterpiece at Venice. In beauty and richness, for its size, it is perhaps unsurpassed. The exterior, as well the interior, are superb.”
    — from “Diary of a European Trip” by August Kohn (1868–1930, South Carolinian journalist)

    The Basilica di San Marco follows the plan of the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. The layout of San Marco is a Greek cross, with four arms of equal length radiating from the intersection of the arms. Five 11th-century, copper-clad domes—one over each arm and one over the center where the two arms cross—form the church’s roof.

    The five-dome plan is a common Orthodox arrangement. The use of this feature should not come as a surprise. Venice was officially part of the Eastern Empire until AD 811; and once it broke those bonds, it continued extensive trade with Byzantium. The center and largest dome represents Christ; the smaller domes represent the Four Apostles..

    Basilica di San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Basilica di San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Basilica di San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Basilica di San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Basilica di San Marco, Venice, May 2013
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Basilica di San Marco, the Bronze Horses

    by von.otter Written Dec 4, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    “Over the chief entrance are four horses in bronze—these are represented in a prancing attitude—which were brought from Constantinople by the Venetians. They were removed to Paris by Napoleon the First, but restored in 1815.”
    —from “A diary of a Three Months’ Tour on the Continent in 1877” diary entry 12.April, by Alexander Kilgour

    These four life-size horses are admired by many, and believed to be among Europe’s finest artistic creations. They are exquisite artifacts! Their biography has been shaped by some of Europe’s significant historical events.

    The horses are made of copper, but often referred to as bronzes. Some argue for a Roman origin, some for Greek one. The original horses were brought to Venice in 1254; the put on show at the front façade of the basilica, above the central portal. The horses were brought inside the church in the 1980s to keep them safe from increasing amounts of air pollution and replaced with replicas.

    The four horses were sent to Venice from Constantinople. It is not clear where the horses stood in the Byzantine capital. In the eighth century it is known that several monuments in Constantinople included horses; any of these could be the same horses now at St Mark’s. One popular suggestion for the location is the hippodrome.

    After the sack of Constantinople, Enrico Dandolo, leader of the Venetian forces in the 1204 Fourth Crusade, the horses were sent to Venice. These exquisite artifacts were the spoils of war. In 1797 once again, they were looted. This time by Napoleon, when he accomplished what no other power could in 1,000 years; he conquered the Most Serene Republic of Venice. Just as Roman Emperors celebrated their victories, the horses, along with other plundered goods, were paraded before the citizens of Paris. Napoleon ordered the building of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, to mark the victories of la Grande Armée. The horses and a specially cast chariot, forming a victory quadriga, were set atop of the arch.

    The horses were in Paris for a short time. When Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo the Bourbon Dynasty was returned to power; and in 1814 the horses were given to the Austrians, who were allowed to keep many territories in Italy, including Venice and the Veneto. The horses were brought home to Venice.

    Bronze Horse, San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Bronze Horse, San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Bronze Horse, San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Bronze Horse, San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Bronze Horse, San Marco, Venice, May 2013
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • von.otter's Profile Photo

    Basilica di San Marco, Mysterious Marbles

    by von.otter Updated Dec 4, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    “Wherever the hand of the restorer has been laid all semblance of beauty has vanished; which is a sad fact, considering that the external loveliness of St. Mark’s has been for ages less impressive only than that of the still comparatively uninjured interior.”
    —from “Italian Hours” 1909 by Henry James (1843-1916)

    Yes, it is true that Basilica di San Marco is regularly, in part, under some scaffolding to restore, preserve, repair, keep up this final resting place for San Marco.

    These five marble plaques are part of the church’s southern wall. They are near to Porta della Carta, once the principle entrance, now the exit of Palazzo Ducale. Two of them show living creatures, even if griffins are fantastical ones. The other three show geometric designs.

    I am guessing they are from the Ancient World. Along with other elements of this external wall, they appear as a hodgepodge collection of building materials brought together to create the wall.

    I would say, like so many parts of Venice, the origin, dates and meaning of these plaques is a mystery.

    Basilica di San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Basilica di San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Basilica di San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Basilica di San Marco, Venice, May 2013 Basilica di San Marco, Venice, May 2013
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • shavy's Profile Photo

    Saint Mark's Basilica

    by shavy Updated Sep 7, 2013

    Is number one tourist sights in Venice where every ones meet. A visit to Saint Mark's Basilica is a must for a first-time tourist to Venice, and indeed the church holds so many precious artworks and relics that subsequent visits are recommended

    Admission to the Basilica is free, but visitors should expect to pay entrance fees during holidays or to special parts of the basilica complex, such as the St. Mark's museum, Pala d'Oro, and the Treasury

    Saint Mark's Basilica

    Was this review helpful?

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Saint Mark's Basilica

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jan 19, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark and commonly known as Saint Mark's Basilica is the main attraction of the Piazza San Marco.
    It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture.
    For its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (Church of gold).

    You can watch my 2 min 44 sec Video Venice San Marco out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

    Saint Mark's Basilica Saint Mark's Basilica Saint Mark's Basilica Saint Mark's Basilica Saint Mark's Basilica
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Africancrab's Profile Photo

    Outstanding Religious Attraction

    by Africancrab Written Dec 30, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I love visiting religious attractions when I travel. having seen quite a bit while in Venice, I decided to visit the Basilica of San Marco. It is without a doubt a work of art and an architectural achievement. It was elating to know that reverence is still upheld and whether or not you are a visitor, dress code is strictly upheld. No body parts showing no matter the design of your dress. Your arms and legs have to be fully dressed.

    Located in the heart of Venice near the Piazza San Marco it is the pride of the city and one can see why once you approach it. The Byzantine architecture is unmistakable; in the 11th century it was named the church of gold because of its opulence. It reminded me of the Pantheon in Rome.

    The Bell tower also known as the 'campanile' is one of the churches most prominent features. It assumed its present appearance in 1514 after the reconstruction to the extension was finished. Thereafter, it remained virtually unaltered until it suddenly collapsed in 1902 but was quickly rebuilt the way it was. Apparently the Italians believe in the philosophy of "Com'era, dov'era" which translates to "how it was, where it was". Thus the current feature and a feast was held when it was finally reopened in 1912; the feat of Saint Mark.

    It gets quite crowded seeing us it is one of the attractions, but also because Venice is incredibly busy, visited my millions each year.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • bpwarne's Profile Photo

    San Marcos Basilica - Reserve an entry time

    by bpwarne Updated Dec 12, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beat the crowded long entry line. Reserve a time to visit the Basilica:

    Purchase a reserved entry day and time to the Basilica at a cost of €1 per person and get privileged access to St Mark’s Cathedral and avoid the long queue (average queuing time is 45 minutes). This reservation will allow you to enter within a 15 minute window of your chosen time. There is a separate entry gate for reserved entry ticket holders. The reservation service is available 7 months of the year, from April1 to 31 October. Can be booked online up to 10 minutes before the chosen time for the visit. Soooo easy and sooo much better than the long wait for normal entry.

    www.venetoinside.com/en/saint_mark_s_basilica/

    Additionally, be aware that backpacks are not allowed in the Basilica and you must check any bags before entering. There is a free place to do this about 50 yards from the entrance, just ask for directions.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Venice

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

45 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Basilica di San Marco
3.5 out of 5 stars
3 Reviews
0 miles away
Show Prices
3.5 out of 5 stars
1 Review
0 miles away
Show Prices
Show Prices

View all Venice hotels