Your safety and well-being remains our top priority.View our Safe Travels commitmentX
|||

St Mark's Basilica

Formerly the Doge’s chapel and famous for its sumptuous design, the Church of Gold will leave you breathless.

TravelCurious Tip

Look for the famous winged lion, the symbol of Venice, which perches on the upper part of the façade above the large central window.

A world-renowned Venetian landmark, St. Mark’s Basilica cannot fail to make an impression on the first time visitor. With its multiple domes, gold-laced façade and double layered columns, it represents a unique blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles, and sits in pride of place at the eastern end of St. Mark’s Square.


A Triumphant Grave-Robbing

During the city’s early centuries, Venetian merchants would frequently stop at Alexandria to pray at the tomb of their city’s patron saint, St. Mark the Evangelist. It seems that they eventually tired of making the journey, and in 828 the remains were stolen and brought back to Venice. The body was received triumphantly, since possessing the remains of the saint not only conferred enormous religious prestige on a city, but also substantial financial gains from the ensuing pilgrimages.


Lavish Decoration

The doge ordered that a new church be built to house the remains of the city’s patron saint. This original basilica was burned to the ground during an uprising in 976, and the spectacular Byzantine-style building we can see today was not built until 1063. This was not the finished product, though, and the basilica owes much of its remarkable ornateness to several centuries-worth of additions to the façade. It is said that every time Venetian merchants made a trip to the Orient, they brought back a column or frieze or other ornamentation to decorate their church. Probably the most impressive feature of the basilica is its exquisite array of mosaics, which depict stories from the lives of Jesus and St. Mark himself. The finest of these is “The Last Judgement”, a beautiful gilded work which sits above the main portal.


Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Venice
Bridge of Sighs
According to legend, convicts would sigh as they walked this bridge before being imprisoned in the Prigioni Nuove.
Doge's Palace
Originally home to Venice’s most powerful man, this Gothic masterpiece is one of the city’s top attractions.
St Mark’s Square
Enclosed by spectacular buildings, St Mark's is one of the most beautiful squares in the world.
Church of San Zaccaria
This magnificent and tranquil church features wonderful paintings, including a stunning altarpiece by Bellini.
Museo Correr
This extensive collection in St Mark's Square illustrates the life and culture of the Venetian Republic, as well as displaying exquisite bronzes and paintings.
St Mark’s Bell Tower
The bell tower of St Mark's Basilica, located in the Piazza San Marco

Related Tours

Private Tour of Venice in a Day inc Tickets
Discover the architectural and artistic highlights of Venice on this full day tour!

  • Commence your tour at the iconic St Mark's Square 
  • Snap pictures of St Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace 
  • Learn about Venetian architecture 
  • Walk to Marco Polo's House  (entrance not included)
  • Cruise through Venetian's city squares, head towards the Church of San Zaccaria 
  • Visit the famous Rialto bridge 
  • Stroll around the Rialto Market, famous for its fish and vegetables 
  • Conclude at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Venetian Highlights

Begin with a walk around the world famous St Mark’s Square. Probably one of Italy’s most iconic locations and Venice’s largest urban open space, this square is enclosed by the astonishing St Mark’s Basilica and the magnificent Doge’s Palace. We will make a visit to the Doge’s Palace, built in 812, which is one of the best examples of Venetian gothic architecture. Right next to the Doge’s Palace is another superb building that will be sure to capture your attention. St Mark’s Basilica is deemed to be an icon of Italian art and culture and the city’s top highlight. 

Bridging 118 Islands

You will walk on to discover more about the iconic house of Marco Polo, Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo and Campo S, as well as marvelling at the beauty of Maria Formosa and eventually the Convento di S. Zaccaria. We will then head towards Venice’s most iconic bridge- Rialto. Famous as the oldest bridge to cross the Grand Canal, its arcade full of small souvenir shops is the best place to buy beautiful Venetian masks and feathers. After walking along this fantastic bridge you will conclude our tour admiring dozens of Tintoretto Paintings in the breathtaking building of Scuola Grande di San Rocco, named after St. Rocco, the saint protector against the devastation of plague.
Private Tour of Venice in a Half Day inc Tickets
Enjoy a whistle-stop tour of Venice, which is particularly useful for those short on time or new to the city.

  • Commence your tour at the iconic St Mark's Square 
  • Snap pictures of St Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace 
  • Learn about Venetian architecture 
  • Walk to Marco Polo's House 
  • Cruise through Venetian's city squares, head towards the Church of San Zaccaria 
  • Visit the famous Rialto bridge 
  • Stroll around the Rialto Market, famous for its fish and vegetables 
Iconic Locations

The itinerary will begin with a walk around the world famous St Mark’s Square. Probably one of Italy’s most iconic locations and Venice’s largest urban open space; this square is enclosed by the stunning St Mark’s Basilica and the absolutely magnificent Doge’s Palace. You will make a visit to the palace, originally built in 812, and celebrated as one of the best examples of Venetian Gothic architecture in the city. Right next to the Doge’s Palace is St Mark’s Basilica, deemed as an icon of Italian art and culture; it is indeed one of the city’s top highlight. 

Onto the Rialto Bridge

You will then walk on to discover more about Marco Polo’s House, Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo & Campo S. Maria Formosa and eventually the Convento di S. Zaccaria. You will then head towards Venice’s most iconic bridge - the Rialto. Famous for being the oldest bridge to cross the Grand Canal, its arcade full of small souvenir shops is the best place in Venice to buy Venetian masks and feathers. After walking along this fantastic bridge you will then take a leisurely stroll around the bustling Rialto Market, a picturesque shopping area primarily selling fish and vegetables to the Venetians for more than seven centuries.
Private Tour - Unmissable Venice inc Tickets to St Mark's bell tower
Trace the city’s fascinating beginnings, learn about its failed defense against the plague and unearth its dark secrets. Focusing on the neighbourhoods of San Polo and San Marco, your journey will take you through Venice’s grandest central district. The architecture is sublime, the excitement rejuvenating and the atmosphere totally unique. 

  • Begin at the Mercato di Rialto (an ancient food and produce market)
  • Explore the Grimani Palace, a lesser known Venetian treasure
  • Climb the Basilica St Mark’s bell tower, take in the breathtaking views across the city
  • Visit St Mark's Square, and see the outside of the beautiful Doge’s Palace
You will begin your tour walking towards Venice’s pre-eminent bridge- Rialto. Famous for being the oldest bridge on the Grand Canal, its arcade full of small souvenir shops is the best place to buy beautiful Venetian masks and feathers. After walking along this fantastic bridge you’ll stroll around the bustling Rialto Market, a picturesque shop primarily selling fish and vegetables that has been in existence for more than seven centuries.  Here, you will be able to take in all the sights, sounds, and smells of the market! Venetians have been trading fish, vegetables, meat and spices here for 1000 years. 

Next, explore the San Polo district and the Grimani Palace. Following this, cross the Grand Canal and ascend St Mark's bell tower. Enjoy breathtaking views over the city.

 Venture through the most magical streets and canals of San Marco, and pass the iconic St Mark’s Square. Probably one of Italy’s most iconic locations and Venice’s largest urban open space, this square is enclosed by the astonishing St Mark’s Basilica and the magnificent Doge’s Palace. You will see the Doge’s Palace, built in 812, which is one of the best examples of Venetian gothic architecture. Right next to the Doge’s Palace is another superb building that will be sure to capture your attention. St Mark’s Basilica is deemed to be an icon of Italian art and culture and a top highlight of the city. 
x

Guides

Join the fastest growing community of professional tour guides.

Partners

Use our easy to integrate toolset to include Tours & Attractions in your customer journey.