Words cannot truly express the magnificence of the 8000m2 of gold and glass mosaics on the Basilica di San Marco’s domes and facade. You simply have to see it for yourself! Saint Mark’s Basilica (as it’s known in English) once served as the Venetian Doge’s private chapel. However, it was originally built to accommodate the body of St. Mark. This was smuggled out of Egypt in a barrel of pork fat!
Highlights: The sarcophagus containing St. Mark’s remains, of course! But you’ll also want to see the Pala d’Oro. This is a golden altarpiece bejewelled with thousands of emeralds, sapphires rubies, amethysts, and pearls; the Tesoro (Treasury) houses a bounty of relics and loot from the Crusades; and St. Mark’s Museum for the four bronze horses stolen from Constantinople, known as the Quadriga di San Marco.
Time to Explore: About 1 hour, including all attractions.
Bookings not essential, but available here.
Top Tips: Appropriate clothing is a prerequisite (knees and shoulders covered). No photos or luggage allowed.
What’s Close? The Campanile di San Marco, the Piazza San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, the Torre dell’Orologio, the Museo Correr, the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, and the Riva degli Schiavoni.