Basilica of San Marco

In this chapter we are dealing with one of the most important buildings in Venice and one of the most beautiful in the world, the unmissable Basilica of San Marco.

"Unreal, fantastic, solemn, incredible from top to bottom" (this was written by Charles Dickens). Generations of writers have searched for the right words to describe this extraordinary creation that represents a millennium of artistic genius, political power and religious faith. The Basilica of San Marco has the form of a Greek cross, is covered by five large domes and other smaller dome-shaped domes and is characterized by a facade covered with precious oriental marbles, Romanesque bas-reliefs and a Gothic crowning.

We can say that it is the third church to be erected in this place: the first was built in 829 to preserve the remains of St. Mark stolen in Alexandria of Egypt by two sailors the previous year. Unfortunately it was destroyed by a fire in 976, the second, instead, rebuilt on the remains of the previous one but it was demolished in the eleventh century to make room for a building more spectacular and more suited to the growing power of the Republic. The best way to visit the Basilica of San Marco is to attend mass.

The internal and external surfaces of the basilica are covered by about 8000 square meters of mosaics ranging from the Byzantine era to the Renaissance. The bright color of the tiles is not only a golden effect, it is due to true gold leaves applied on an infinite number of glass tesserae. On this shimmering background there are 181 figures among saints, prophets, virtues and numerous characters of the Bible, made over the course of eight centuries of work. It is also here that the doge was presented to the city after the election, here that were received heads of state, popes, princes and ambassadors, it is here that the captains of the ships came to invoke protection before embarking on epic trips.

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