Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour
- Duration: 3 hours
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.
The original church was built circa 832 to harbor the relics of Saint Mark, which were supposedly stolen from Alexandria by Venetian merchants!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Want to discover all there is to do in Saint Mark's Basilica? Click here for a full list.
While we would have loved a little more time in Murano and less in Torcello, this was a really lovely tour day. The tour guide was super and very knowledgeable. The glass blowing demonstration was terrific and we probably would have spent more money on the gorgeous glass works if we had more time!! Burano was spectacular!
Had to do the tour in English as there was no guide with German knowledge in October. The tour with Stefano was super and well explained. Very easy to understand English, the tour is definitely recommended.
This was a three hour tour of San Marco Square, the Basilica and Doge Palace. It was the perfect amount of time to see these amazing sights and learn about the history of Venice.
Silvia, the tour guide, was amazing! She entertained the adults and the teens with her great story telling! Well done!
Very informative and very nice not to have to queue!