• The burning question isn`t if you should see Venice`s jewel of a cathedral, but when. Morning mystics insist you must arrive when millions of sunlit tesserae emit an otherworldly glow, causing jaws to drop to the semiprecious - stone floors. Sunset romantics lobby you to linger in the Piazza San Marco, waiting for the fading sun to shatter portal mosaics into golden shards as the Caffe Florian house band strikes up the tango. Our advice? Go now, and go often. With millennium - old special - effects wizardry that puts modern Hollywood to shame, the basilica is set to dazzle morning to night, inside and out.
  • This landmark was inspired by religious larceny in 828, when Venetian merchants smuggled the corpse of St Matthew out of Egypt. Venice already had all the makings of a global trading centre - plenty of ports, a defendable position against Charlemagne and the Huns, a patron saint to oversee transactions - but there was no glorious landmark to fix Venice`s place on the world map. And so the city summoned the best artisans from Byzantium and beyond to enshrine both the relic and Venice`s trading prowess in one unmistakable monument.

                                             BASILICA DI SAN MARCO

  • But there remained the small matter of construction. The usual medieval setbacks of riots and fires thrice destroyed exterior mosaics and weakened the underlying structure. As ceilings drooped and tastes changed, Jacopo Sansovino and other church architects grafed on supports, Gothic arches and every type of polychrome marble available for purchase or pillage. Occasionally higher purpose got clouded over by construction dust: St Mark`s bones were misplaced twice.
  • Give or take a holy tibia, Venice`s transition from backwater upstart to sophisticated cosmopolitan capital was successfully completed by the 18th century. Today, even during the high tides that wash over the sinking piazza, San Marco still sets the high - water mark for architectural amazement. ALISON BING

Basilica di San Marco

  1. Cupola of the Ascension - the golden central dome is truly uplifting, with angels swirling overhead and a dreamy - eyed St. Mark on the pendentive (dome support).  
  2. Pala d`Oro - minutely worked enamel portraits of apostles in superhero capes outshine the 2000 gemstones on this priceless altarpiece.
  3. Dome of Genesis - created 650 years before abstract art and hip hop, these medieval mosaics show the separation of sky and water, and angels busting dance moves.
  4. Pavimenti - prepare to be floored by the dizzying optical effects of polychrome stone mosaics.
  5. Loggia dei Cavalli - bronze horses leap off the balcony over Piazza San Marco. ALISON BING
    • literature: Bing Alison. Venice Encounter: Highlights - Basilica di San Marco. ISBN 9781741049978. London: Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd ABN36005607983, 2009., 10. -   
    • This great Basilica, with ground plan of a Greek cross and crowned with five domes, the third church on this site. The first, built to guard the body of St.. Mark in 9th century, was gutted by fire.                                             

    Basilica di San Marco

    • The second was destroyed in the 11th c. It would be room for a spectacular building designed by an unknown architect (1063 - 1094), which reflects the growing power of the Republic. The Basilica was rebuilt and continued over the next century, and the 1807th Mr. inherited the church of San Pietro in Sestiere Castello as a Venetian cathedral, until then used as the Doge's private chapel for the official ceremony.
    Basilica di San Marco

    • literature: Žderić D., Glamuzina D., Karabatić I., Žderić I., Kozole L., Baniček M., i Šarić I. Venecija i Veneto - Eyewitness travel guide: Venecija dio po dio - San Marco. ISBN/EAN: 9789531200479.  Zagreb: Profil International, 2005.,
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