Venice / Attractions / San Marco Basilica

St. Mark's Basilica Venice

Tips, tours and tickets for visiting Basilica di San Marco

St Mark's Basilica

The San Marco Basilica is the famous and very beautifully decorated church on Saint Mark's Square in Venice. How to visit and how to book St. Mark's Basilica tickets?

Info & Tickets Saint Mark's Basilica

Location Piazza San Marco
  • Entrance to the basilica is 3 €; free for children up to 6 years
  • The basilica has very long queues in high season. It is now possible to book special skip-the-line tickets with access to the terrace, the museum and Pala D'Oro (book your St. Mark's Basilica tickets here)
  • Recommended: The basilica is included in the popular Venice Pass, which also includes the Doge's Palace and a gondola ride.
    Opening hours
  • Monday to Saturday 9:30 am - 5:15 pm (last entry 5:00 pm)
  • Sundays and holidays 2:00 pm - 5:15 pm
  • Official website for the most up-to-date opening hours
Museum To visit the Museum - Loggia dei Cavalli of the basilica including access to the church treasures, the balcony and terrace with a view of St. Mark's Square, you need to buy tickets.
  • Tickets 7 €
  • Under 6 years free
  • 9:45 am - 5:45 pm (last entry 5:00 pm)
Campanile You can also climb the large bell tower ('campanile') in front of the basilica (more info 'campanile')
  • Tickets for the tower climb 15 € (book your tickets)
  • Children under 6 years free
  • Open daily from 9:30 am - 5:15 pm (last admission 4:45 pm)
You can also choose to visit the basilica with a guided tour to hear all stories about this beautiful landmark. Sometimes the tours are combined with the Doge's Palace. An overview of the best San Marco tours:

Visit the imposing Basilica of San Marco in Venice

The Saint Mark's basilica – which in Italian is called the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco – is the largest church in Venice. However, the church you see toay is not the first building of the church. The current building is now the third church that was built on this site. The Basilica of San Marco is located on the square (Piazza San Marco) and was built around the year 1060.

Decorative exterior San Marco Basilica

The basilica is known for its unusual and colorful decorations and embellishments. There are exuberant images of animals (lion, horses) and figures such as angels and of course San Marco (Saint Mark) himself, but then you have to zoom in on the details. From the outside you will be impressed by the many arches and turrets that adorn the church. It doesn't matter whether you are standing in the square looking at the church with looming gray clouds or a bright blue sky, or whether you are in the bustle around lunchtime or with only a few people at sunset. The basilica will leave an unforgettable impression.

San Marco BasilicaThe Basilica on St. Mark's Square in Venice
Saint Mark's basilica VeniceThe beautiful interior of the Basilica San Marco

Impressive interior with mosaics

As soon as you enter the church, you will be amazed. There is so much to see that you would prefer to sit quietly in the benches for a few hours. The colors of the mosaic on the ceilings of the church – where the gold and clear blue in particular stand out sharply against the rest – allow the depictions of angels and Christian scenes to come into their own. The marble pillars and the marble on the floors are sober and at the same time they give all the splendor. Also pay attention to the small windows that allow a little daylight to enter. They give this basilica its own unique appearance.

History of Saint Mark's Basilica

The construction of the first church on this same spot was commissioned in 828. This was done by the doge (the then head of state of the republic), who had his palace next door, the Palazzo Ducale. During an uprising in 976, the church burned down completely, after which they started rebuilding the remains of the church in 978. About the current structure of the basilica – whose construction dates back to 1063 – it is impossible to tell whether it still resembles the original forms. Known is that the church has been extended on almost all sides. Many square meters have been added to the church, especially on the north and south sides. During the extensions and renovations in the next centuries, stone was chosen to replace wooden beams. This could stand the test of time better. It is known that the stones are covered with marble and sculptures, so you will find a different appearance and no longer be able to see the rough, underlying constructions.

Basilica di San MarcoThe beauty is in the details of the basilica
Basilica di San Marco Venice

Location of St. Mark's Basilica

The church is located in the east of the San Marco district, close to the Rio del Palazzo and the Canal Grande. Nearby are other places of interest worth visiting, such as the beautiful Palazzo Ducale, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Venezia, the Campanile di San Marco and the Museo Correr.

Walk towards the Canal Grande and take a lovely stroll through the gardens of the Giardini Reali di Venezia. Bring a picnic basket and relax on the benches in this park, or walk along the souvenir stalls to the pier and take a boat to one of the many islands in Venice, such as Lido, San Giorgio Maggiore or Murano. However, the ferry as a means of public transport, can also bring you back to the only parking lot in Venice or to the airport. Finally, as a tourist you can also opt for an authentic boat trip with a gondola from the various piers. Venice looks different from the water.

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