Saint Mark's Basilica
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doges palace st. marks basilica with terrace access tour

Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour

Duration: 3 hours
624 Reviews
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Visit St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge's Palace on a 3-hour guided tour. Choose from a shared or private experience. Includes the terrace at St.…

Saint Mark's Basilica: Tours & Tickets

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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

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 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

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

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

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.

Our insider 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 should I visit?
    9:45AM to 5:00PM, Sundays and Holidays 2:00PM to 4:00PM or 5:00PM, depending on season.
  • Is it expensive?
    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 information
    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

Overall rating
4.4 / 5
based on 16,101 reviews

This was a really well-organised and worthwhile tour, giving in-depth and fascinating insights into two major sights that are impressive but only come to life with an in-person guide. Elena was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable, she clearly loves her job and it was a pleasure to be guided by her. Time-keeping was perfect and we also had a short break in the middle of this 3-hour tour, which was very welcome. I would really strongly recommend this tour although anyone with mobility issues should note that it does include going up and down some stairs.

This tour was perfect! We spent time learning about the basilica, we skipped the lines, we saw the sights, we went on the terrace of the basicilca and learned about the clock tower and bell tower. We went to Doge's Palace and learned about secret doors in the court room, the bridge of sighs, which we got to walk through twice and see the prisons as well as learn all about it all in the process.

We had a knowledgeable and friendly guide which brought the historical and cultural aspects to our tour. We understood the symbolism much better which enriched our experience.

The tour was everything advertised. From start to finish, the guide was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, making the whole tour thoroughly enjoyable. The three hours flew by.

Great experience. Very knowledgeable and engaging Guide. We were a small group of 6 so felt very personal. Seamless and quick entry to all sites. Would highly recommend.