Basilica San Marco, the grand, multi-domed church on Saint Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco), is one of Italy's most spectacular churches and one of Venice's top attractions. Exhibiting influences from Byzantine, Western European, and Islamic architecture all due to Venice's powerful seafaring past, Saint Mark's Basilica is truly an embodiment of the Venetian aesthetic.
Visitors flock to Basilica San Marco to admire its gleaming, golden Byzantine mosaics, which adorn the church's main portal as well as the inside of each of the basilica's five domes. Most of the astounding ornamentation of Saint Mark's Basilica dates from the 11th to the 13th centuries. In addition to gorgeous mosaics, Basilica San Marco also houses the relics of its namesake, the apostle Saint Mark, and the sumptuous Pala d'Oro, a golden altarpiece decorated with priceless jewels.
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. Find out about what to see in Saint Mark's Basilica.
While admission to Basilica San Marco is free, it is restricted however. Visitors are allowed approximately 10 minutes to walk through and admire the basilica's beauty. To maximize your visit and ensure that you spend more time inside Saint Mark's than queued up outside of it, consider reserving a ticket (free, with a service charge). You can also take a guided tour of Saint Mark's Basilica. Guided tours are available at 11 am, Mondays through Saturdays from April to October. See the Saint Mark's Basilica web site (link below) for further details.
Saint Mark's Basilica Visiting Information
Location: Piazza San Marco
Hours (as of 2010): Mondays through Saturdays 9:45 am until 5:00 pm; Sundays and holidays 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm (during March and April – Easter – the Basilica is open until 5:00 pm on Sundays and holidays). Mass hours are at 7:00 am, 8:00 am, 9:00 am, 10: 00 am (in Baptistery), 11 a.m., noon (September through June only), and 6:45 pm.
Information: web site; Tel. (0039) 041-270-8311
Admission: 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. You can book your free reservation (for a 1 euro service fee) on the website venetoinside.com.
Visitors may attend mass for free and require no reservations at this time. However, they are also not allowed to tour the church during mass.