Basilica Di San Marco Overview

The Basilica di San Marco is the principal church of Venice, Italy. It is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice and is the largest church in the city. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture, and the interior of the basilica is decorated with mosaics, and the exterior is adorned with marble sculptures. 

The Basilica Di San Marco is said to house the remains of the Venetian saint, St. Mark. A Patriarchal Cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, it is also known as St Mark's Basilica. It was erected next to Palazzo Ducale by the Doge - one of the most popular leaders of Venice, in 828.

This splendid Cathedral built in Italo-Byzantine and Gothic style is known for its remarkable multitude of domes and over 8,000 meter square of luminous mosaics and ornamentation.

Take a private or a group tour of the magnificent Basilica which houses some of the most precious artworks and relics in Venice. Or attend the Mass for that feeling of tranquillity and serenity, it comes with no entrance fees. However, reserving a spot for the Mass is recommended.

The St. Mark's Basilica is located within St. Mark's square, one of Venice's oldest and most prominent locations and is confined by the Grand Canal in the north. Therefore, the Basilica is also in proximity to Venice's other significant attractions like The Campanile di San Marco, The Bridge of Sighs, Pala d'Oro and Doge's Palace.

Furthermore, taking a tour of all the major sites within and around the Basilica complex amplifies the experience even more. If you are a history buff or an art enthusiast, you are sure to have a blast visiting the museums within the Doge's Palace or the Bridge of Sighs.

Additionally, you cannot miss the panoramic views of the city and St. Mark’s from the top of the famous Bell Tower. Apart from this, another must-do activity is to take a gondola ride in the Canale Grande to get to the St. Mark's Basilica.


• Admire the basilica which is incredibly ornate, and is covered in mosaics, paintings, and sculptures.
• The basilica also houses a museum, which contains a collection of artwork from the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods.
• Head up to the rooftop for some stunning views of Venice!
• Admire its beautiful interior, which is full of mosaics, marble columns, and other stunning features.

How To Reach

By Cab - Piazzale Roma is the nearest airport from where one can get a regular cab and reach the Santa Lucia Train Station in 15 minutes. The total cost incurred, with the luggage fee, is a maximum of 50 Euros.

By Bus - Taking the bus from the airport to the destination. It costs around 8-9 Euros and the frequency of the buses is every 30 minutes

Via Ferry - One can take a direct ferry from the airport to Rialto ‘B’. It takes 53 minutes, and from there the destination is at a walking distance.

Check This Out: Things To Do In Florence

Best Time To Visit

St. Mark's Basilica is the spiritual center of Venice, which is why it is also a must-see attraction for the region. There’s no way to avoid bumping heads with other visitors on a visit to this beautiful place. There are, though, moments of the day when the lines in St. Mark's are thin out.

Try visiting this amazing cathedral at the time of mid-spring which falls in the month of May. In case you have a tight schedule in May, the other suitable months to visit are April, September, and October.

The second half of April isn’t much cold, and by the first half of May, winter is already over. The days are warm, which allows the sun to shine brightly over the church. Try visiting the cathedral in the morning hours so that you do not miss the shine that the mosaics reflect.

Suggested Read: Places To Visit In Florence

Other Essential Information


The Cathedral is located at a religious hub named Piazza San Marco. This area of the city of Venice, consists of many historical buildings such as St. Mark’s Cathedral, Doge’s Palace. Known to be the public square of the city, it looks like a beautiful drawing room in the middle of the city.

Entrance fee:

Entry to the Basilica is free of charge when it isn’t the holiday time. During the vacation months, the Cathedral charges a certain sum of money to various parts of the building from foreign tourists such as the museum, bell tower, etc.

The Opening Hour: 

The Basilica of Saint Mark is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. and on Sundays after 4:30 p.m. The last entry is usually 15 minutes before the closing date.


Photos and filming are forbidden inside the cathedral.

Distance From Nearest Airport: 

The distance between Venice Airport (VCE) and Piazza San Marco is around 8 km. The approx road distance is 14.3 km.

Recommended Read: Places To Visit In Rome

History of Basilica Di San Marco

The Basilica Di San Marco is located in Venice in Italy. In the nineteenth century, the church served as the chapel of the Doge. The body of St. Mark was found in a cathedral in Alexandria in the 9th century. The merchants of Venice had to carry it in complete isolation, without letting anyone know.

They did so in pots of pork fat. The Basilica that we get to see today, had to be reconstructed due to a fire that caused the entire cathedral to burn down. Due to the fact that the Venetians thought that the corpse of St. Mark was now lost, they built the bell tower in the memory of St. Mark. 

In the year 1094, the body of the saint was again found in one of the pillars of the cathedral. After that, the entire church was reconstructed as per the Italian architecture theme. It was also made fire-proof so that there was no possibility of the cathedral to be destroyed ever again.

History has it that the church replaced St. Theodore since the 19th century. Before that, St. Theodore used to serve as the patron saint of Venice. Since Basilica Di San Marco is close to the Doges' Palace, it used to serve as the Doge's chapel.

Although the church is a symbol of protection, unfortunately, it went up in flames in 976. The fire was due to a spat, revolution against doge Pietro Candiano IV. This occurrence resulted in the re-construction of a new Basilica that had completed in 1070.

When the church was reconstructed in 1063, the constructors chose to build it in the Greel form of architecture. For this reason, hundreds of Italian and Byzantine laborers got hired to help in the construction work.

The chapel's constructors used inlaid marble as well as glass to make the floor and decorations, such as mosaics, especially on the walls. Decorations of the Doge Domenico Selvo using mosaic decoration began in 1071 and went on up to 1084.

Know More: Things To Do In Rome

Facts About Basilica Di San Marco

  1. The Basilique began with the humpback tale of abduction. The very precious relics— relics that got taken— were found in the first Basilica of St. Mark in the ninth century! 
  2. There are plenty of mosaics here to cover 1 to 5 football fields.
  3. Due to the fact that the mosaics are made of gold, one should try visiting the church at different points in the day to see the different colors that the mosaics reflect. 
  4. The Basilica has above 500 columns. Maximum amongst these are Byzantine and are as old as the 3rd century.
  5. There are treasures hidden at various points in the cathedral, including the horses that stand at the entrance.
  6. Even after being rebuilt, the Bell Tower collapsed again in 1902 due to an earthquake. This is one of the most recent happenings that again caused the reconstruction of the Bell Tower inside the Basilica.

Recommended Read: Florence In January

Tips For Visiting Basilica Di San Marco

  1. Arriving early can make it easier for you to roam about the entire church peacefully, and without encountering much crowd.
  2. Put on boots, or at least other sea-worthy shoes because there is always water around the church, irrespective of the season.
  3. Spend time checking out each and every pillar, column, tomb, tower, etc. of the Basilica because that is the only way to know about the essence of the church.
  4. Do not miss out on seeing the hand of St. Mark that is placed in a jar at the museum of church.
  5. In case you want to see the real beauty of the Basilica, try visiting it at three different times of the day. It glows like gold in the sunlight, at dusk it looks like it is made of copper, and the night brings about an altogether different glow to the cathedral.

Read More: Florence In February

Read More
Day Wise Timings
Open Today
Normal Timings:
09:30 AM to 05:15 PM
Normal Timings:
09:30 AM to 05:15 PM
Normal Timings:
09:30 AM to 05:15 PM
Normal Timings:
09:30 AM to 05:15 PM
Normal Timings:
09:30 AM to 05:15 PM
Normal Timings:
09:30 AM to 05:15 PM
Normal Timings:
09:30 AM to 05:15 PM
Point of Interest for Basilica Di San Marco
The Horses of Saint Mark

The Horses of Saint Mark

As mentioned above, the remains of the horses of Saint Mark, were kept in the Basilica. It may interest you to know that the designers of these four horse sculptures used bronze to make them. Initially, these four horses depicted a quadriga and now millions of tourists, including architects and designers, visit Basilica with the primary aim of seeing the remains.

Recommended Read: Things To Do In Florence In Winter

The Campanile

The Campanile

The campanile is a tall square tower at Saint Mark. The tower has an approximate height of ninety-nine meters, and history has it that the famous square tower got first constructed back in the 12th century. Would you like to know the campanile's architect? Well, Pietro Tribuno designed this magnificent Saint Mark's campanile.

The incredibly magnificent square tower stands close to the front of the Basilica. The square attracts plenty of tourists owing to its unique design, as well as its height. You won't believe this; in 1609, Galileo used the tower to research the skies. What a spectacle to behold!

Suggested Read: Places To Visit In Florence In 1 Day

Saint Mark Museum

Saint Mark Museum

This large museum houses different exhibitions such as the ancient mosaics fragments, liturgies, the Persian carpets, illuminated manuscripts, to mention but just a few. Tourists will also enjoy the unbelievable splendor of the Doge's palace as well as antiques therein.

Know More: Florence Monuments



The first thing that comes to mind when the name St. Mark is mentioned is the Mosaics. The place is famous for over 7500 square meter mosaics, which covers the Basilica's walls. You may not believe this, but some of the mosaics are over seven centuries old but still look attractive.

Check This Out: Day Trips From Florence

 The Clock Tower

The Clock Tower

Does the name Torre dell' Orologio ring a bell? Well, this is a Venetian icon located at Piazza San Marco. Mauro Codussi is the person behind this amazing icon. The management allows tourists to climb this tall tower if they please, to get a better look at the figures. This clock does not just show hours but it equally shows moon phases as well as Zodiac signs.

Know More: Unusual Things To Do In Florence

Tourism Board Alliances

Basilica Di San Marco FAQs

What time does San Marco Basilica open?

The Basilica is available from Monday to Saturday at 9:30 a.m. After 5:00 p.m. And on Sundays after 4:30 p.m. (5 p.m. in the season of summer). The last entry usually is 15 minutes until closing time.

Recommended Read: Rome Walking Tour

Is San Marco Basilica free?

Entry to the Basilica is free, although it is respectful to contribute. One who wants to visit the place must buy tickets if one wants to visit the Museum, the Mint, and the Golden Altarpiece.

When was Basilica built?

St. Mark's Basilica, the Italian Basilica of St. Mark's, the English Basilica of St. Mark's, the Church of Venice, which initially opened in 829 (consecrated in 832) as an ecclesiastical institution to contain and commemorate the relics of St. Mark got taken from Egypt. St. Mark then succeeded St.

Theodore, patron saint of Venice, and his iconic winged lion, gradually became the typical image of the Venetian Republic. The Basilica of San Marco, founded next to the Palazzo Ducale, or the Palace of Doges, also acted as the chapel of the Doge. It was not until 1807 that it became the Venice Cathedral Church.

Suggested Read: Rome Monuments

Can you take photos inside St Mark's Basilica?

It is forbidden to take photos inside the cathedral.

Why is The Basilica famous?

For its opulent architecture, the gold-earth tiles, and its reputation as an emblem of Venetian wealth and power.

How long did St Mark's Basilica take to build?

The chapel of the Ducal Palace was built in the 9th century to contain the body of San Marcos. The two towers are the emblem of Venice and its millennial past.

How big is St Mark's Basilica?

It is around 85,000 square feet of mosaic in St. Mark's Basilica. Mosaics had been produced over eight years, mostly in gold, and the effect is impressive.

Which are the other attraction tickets and activities of Italy I can book via Thrillophilia?

Why Choose Thrillophilia