Saint Mark's Basilica
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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

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.

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

Most enjoyable and easy access with the use of the app.

Very glad that we had booked all our activities through your easy and simple use of App. All our vouchers were delivered under each itenary and saved us quite a few Sterling and queuing by booking in advance. Thank you.

Venice: St. Mark's Basilica - Skip the Line Ticket Reviewed by Catherine, 08/28/2018

Avoiding the long line is well worth the ticket.

The visit to the church was disappointing. It seemed too commercialized as at each turn in the church more money was required. A guide booklet would have helped in enjoying the visit.

Venice: St. Mark's Basilica - Skip the Line Ticket Reviewed by Richard, 08/22/2018

An Actual Skip-the-Line for a Can’t Miss

Some tours SAY skip the line, but you have to stand in the skip-the-line lines - and I get it... these attractions are crowded like Disney World! But this one really felt like a skip-the-line - it’s a special door on the side of the bell tower and you scoot right into the elevator ahead of all the people waiting in the line. I will also say that the tower is a definite can’t-miss in Venice. The panoramic view is spectacular and the tower is where Galileo “expanded the horizons” using his telescope. So, I highly recommend the sight AND this ticket!

Absolutely amazing private tour of the Basilica!

Loved the hour history/culture tour of Venice then the wonderful private tour of the Basilica. Amazing to be inside such a huge famous cathedral with absolutely no other tourists!

Skip the line is the way to go. Great view from the top!

So simple. Just go to the side of the building at your allotted time, show your voucher and bam your on the elevator and at the top in no time. What a great view from the top. Happy I booked this skip the line ticket.

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