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Venice: St. Mark’s Basilica

The central attraction of Venice is St. Mark’s Square (or Piazza San Marco as it’s called there). Before the cruise, we made free online reservations for entry to St. Mark’s Basilica at 9:45. This means once we arrived, we showed our confirmation and skipped the long line of tourists waiting for entry. Here’s a photo we took of the front of the Basilica, which shows the ornate Byzantine style of architecture:

Front of St. Mark’s Basilica

The basilica, built about 1,000 years ago, is awe-inspiring both on the inside and outside. The Venetian mosaic artists really went all out for the interior of the church, the scenes depicted are quite amazing. Most reference Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, but other moments in Christianity are also covered. There are a few rooms inside which require small fees to see. We saw the treasury, a collection of Byzantine treasures. Some of these treasures are amazingly detailed and intricate, lined with semi-precious and precious stones with lots of gold coverings. It’s difficult to imagine these treasures were designed by hand so long ago. We also saw the golden altarpiece, also known as Pala d’Oro. According to a 1796 inventory, its decorations include 1,300 pearls, 400 garnets, 300 sapphires, 300 emeralds, 90 amethysts, 75 balases, 15 rubies, 4 topazaes, and 2 cameos. With these types of treasures various churches owned, it’s no wonder so many church clergy became corrupt. No photography is permitted inside the Basilica, but the photo below from Wikipedia gives you an idea what the inside looks like:

Wikipedia photo of a small part of the interior of St. Mark’s Basilica

Here are some more photos we took outside the Basilica:

Entrance to St. Mark’s with intricate carvings and tile mosaics

A side view of St. Mark’s

1 Comment

  1. Cindy and Gray
    June 29, 2007

    When we visited in 2002, the floor of the basilica was flooded, to a depth of a foot or so in some places. People had to traverse the interior on a temporary raised boardwalk. Was there anything like that when you were there?