Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Basilica with Terrace Access Tour
- Small group
- 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.
Excellent excursion. The guide showed us central Venice district, answered all the questions we had about a life a Venetian and gave some tips. This tour was the first thing we did after the arrival so it gave us a nice introduction to the city, where everything is and it’s history.
Francesca was knowledgable and fun. Tour just the right length with enough detail. A bit pricey but worth it. Still queued about 60 minutes partly due to COVID checks. Remember to take your vaccination certificate as well as ID! Should be highlighted when booking.
We had Marina as Guide and she was just brillant! She was easy to listen to and was able to answer every question. We could really hear her passion for the history and Venice. Can only recommend!
What an awesome experience. No time wasted standing in lines. Very knowledgeable guide who loved her job. Would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to visit Venice.
Superb. Very knowledgeable guide. Entertaining and I got so much more out of my tour than the last time I went.