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.
It was fabulous! Our guide Andrea was very knowledgeable, patient, easy to understand, and entertaining. We thoroughly enjoyed finding out all about the history of Venice and how it relates to the Doge’s palace, it’s artwork, and rooms. Beautiful and fascinating. St Mark’s basilica was no less interesting and was incredible to see up close. Loved all the amazing things Andrea knew about the palace and basilica. Well worth the money.
The guide (Lorenzo) was very knowledgeable and friendly. I really enjoyed learning from him all the interesting things about Venice and he customized the tour to what I was interested in (lucky for me I was the only guest). And he even helped make a reservation at an excellent restaurant. I learned a lot about Venice and had amazing food.
Our guide Silvia was excellent! We had very interesting guide tour in San Marko Basiliq and Dodge house, 3 hours together with Silvia passed as few minutes! Guide lines were personalised for us, presented in very interesting way and paid attention to everyone interest! Highly appreciate guide Silvia profesionality and the way of guiding!
Great tour! Loved it but it needs to be more clear on how to get to the meeting point or the best way from your location. We missed our morning tour but found it and we’re able to reschedule and catch the next one.
Our guide Silvia was knowledgeable, genuine, and very engaging. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour and learned a lot about Venice. It was really a wonderful experience and would recommend it in a heartbeat.