Saint Mark's Basilica
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Saint Mark's Basilica: Tours & Tickets

See all tours & things to do in Saint Mark's Basilica
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5 historical facts about Saint Mark's Basilica

Venice's most famous church is more a testament to the city's Medieval wealth and power than the teachings of Christ. Its history, however, might just be even more spectacular than its architecture! Here are five fun facts dug up from its colorful past.

It was built for the bones of Mark the Evangelist

The original church was built circa 832 to harbor the relics of Saint Mark, which were supposedly stolen from Alexandria by Venetian merchants!

The original was burned down to assassinate a Doge

The Doge (leader) of Venice, Pietro IV Candiano, was so unpopular by 976 that his constituents locked him in Saint Mark's and burned it to the ground!

Its nickname is the "Chiesa d'Oro"

Hardly a symbol of Christian humility, the cathedral's opulent mosaics gave rise to a nickname that has lasted since its 9th century construction – The Church of Gold!

It's decorated partly by the spoils of war

The 4th Crusade didn't go quite as planned! Rather than reach Jerusalum, the Venetians instead pillaged Constantinople and stole many artifacts to adorn their cathedral.

Its mosaics cover approximately 8000 m²

But, unfortunately, only about a third is original! Though once maintained by a workshop of skilled mosaicists, much was simply replaced in cheap 19th-century restoration attempts.

Saint Mark's Basilica: Our Tips

What are the opening times?

The Basilica's opening hours are from 9:45AM to 5:00PM, and on Sundays and holidays between 2:00PM and 4:00PM or 5:00PM depending on the season. Entrance to the Basilica is free, but visiting the museum, treasury, or Pala d'Oro requires paying for tickets.

What to wear?

Whether you're booking a tour or intend to visit Saint Mark's Basilica alone, be sure to dress appropriately for a place of worship! A general rule of thumb is to keep arms and legs covered (and no flip-flops!). Also note that bringing luggage in is forbidden, as is filming or taking photographs inside.

Good to Know

  • When to visit
    9:45AM to 5:00PM, Sundays and Holidays 2:00PM to 4:00PM or 5:00PM, depending on season.
  • What is the price?
    The Basilica is free, but the museum, treasury and Pala d'Oro require admission fees.
  • Will I need a guide?
    It will definitely help. Might be worth it to check out our best-selling tours.
  • How to get there
    This attraction is within walking distance from most hotels in city center!
  • Additional tips
    Bringing in luggage, filming or taking photographs inside is strictly forbidden. | It's best to keep your arms and legs covered, and no flip-flops!

What People Are Saying About Saint Mark's Basilica

Tour guide cancelled half of the tour and advised me to seek a reimbur

The tour of Doge's palace was great. Guide was very knowledgeable and accommodating. We appreciated his approach and knowledge of the history of the palace as well as its inhabitants.

Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica 2-Hour Tour Reviewed by William, 11/02/2016

We had a great tour with a very nice guide!

We really enjoyed the tour! Booked it two days in advance and everything worked out perfectly.

Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica 2-Hour Tour Reviewed by Sandra, 10/28/2016

An excellent way to see this amazing place without queuing.

I strongly recommend this tour. On the day we did it the general queue was very long and if we had had to stand in line it would have taken up a lot of our valuable time in Venice. It all worked perfectly and the guide was very knowledgable and informative. The Bascilica is just breathtaking! Well worth seeing. I recommend this tour.

Very qualified guide and recommended tour

We really enjoyed our stay in Venice and especially the guided tour that gave us a bright overview of the history of the city.

Doge's Palace & St. Mark's 3.5-Hour Tour Reviewed by un client GetYourGuide, 10/20/2016

Very informative tour and our guide was charming and entertaining

So interesting to view the Doge Palace and the Basilica. Having an informed and passionate guide made the experience even better.

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Saint Mark's Basilica
4.2
Based on 1,076 reviews by GetYourGuide customers