Basilica di San Marco

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The mausoleum of the city's patron saint, the Basilica di San Marco is the most famous Venetian church and one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture anywhere. It has been called Chiesa d'Oro – "church of gold" – for its opulence, gilded mosaics, and its status as a symbol of wealth and power.

Begun in the 9th century and completed toward the end of the 10th after a fire, the five bulbous domes and other rooms in the church are decorated with Venetian glass, colorful mosaics, sparkling gold and fine Italian marble, with designs that indicate European, Islamic and Byzantine influences.

A fabulous mosaic on the façade depicts how St. Mark's remains were smuggled out of Alexandria and finally laid to rest here.