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Basilica di San Marco, Venice

(4.4/5 based on 18,000+ reviews on the web)
Renowned worldwide for its priceless treasures, Basilica di San Marco is one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture in Italy. Originally a private chapel for the doges, the city's chief magistrates, this building has been a cathedral only since 1807. Because of its opulent design, gold dome mosaics, and its status as a symbol of the city's wealth and power, the cathedral has been nicknamed the Church of Gold since the 11th century. The interior is based on a Greek cross, with iconic Byzantine onion-bulb domes and Egyptian marble walls. Behind the main altar, containing the sarcophagus of St. Mark, an altarpiece is adorned with hundreds of emeralds, sapphires, rubies, pearls, and amethysts. The front of the building is rippled with five niched portals, each capped with more elaborate mosaics and stone arches. The church also contains a museum, displaying bronze horses brought here in 1204 as part of the loot from Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade. You can enter the church for free, but the museum has an admission fee. Use our Venice trip itinerary planner to visit Basilica di San Marco on your trip to Venice, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I read up on the history of Venice before I arrived and the Basilica is the center of that history. I spent hours looking at the exterior and seeing the stories represented in the sculptures, the tili...  more »
  • Yes the architecture is amazing but for me this lacked atmosphere and I wasn't impressed. The view was spoilt by a number of tacky vendors selling cheap tourist memorabilia. There were a number of pla...  more »
  • The beautiful Basilica of Byzantine architecture. Admission is free. Worth paying the 2 euros to see the altarpiece "Pala d ore", all in gold, as well as worth entering the Museum, which is at the top of the Basilica. There the Museum has a privileged view of St. Mark's Square.
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  • Breathtaking.