St. Mark's Basilica stands near the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Square, the hub of the city's social and religious life. With more than 4,000 square meters of golden mosaics, marble floors and 500 columns dating back to the 3rd century, it is a unique temple in Italy.
Being one of the most visited attractions in Venice, getting quick access to avoid queues or booking a guided tour of the Basilica can be a great idea. Access to the most important jewels of St. Mark's, the Museum, the Treasury and the Golden Spade, is paid.
The most complete option to discover the best of Venice
The perfect choice to discover not only St. Mark's Basilica but also the Doge's Palace and the essential places of Venice with an expert guide.
This group tour of St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace is the most economical considering all that it includes, as in addition to admission to St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace, it includes a guided tour of the interior and a tour of Venice with an expert local guide.
During the 4 hours duration of this Venice Walking Tour and Quick Entrance with visit to the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's Basilica, your guide will show you the most beautiful, unknown and important corners of Venice while explaining the history of this 'city of canals'.
He will guide you on your tour of St. Mark's Basilica, erected in 828 to house the body of St. Mark brought from Alexandria, and filled with golden mosaics, some dating back to the early 13th century, such as those in the dome of the Ascension, depicting scenes from the New Testament.
You will discover how the Ducal Palace, which combines Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance architectural elements, began as a fortified castle in the 9th century and was converted into a prison after a great fire. It was also the center of political power as the seat of up to 120 doges who controlled the destiny of Venice for almost a century.
Why I like this option: this seemed to me the most dynamic and complete way to have an introduction to the best of the city and also to know its two most emblematic monuments with a professional.
Recommended if... you are planning to visit both St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace and want to save by joining a guided tour.
Access to St. Mark's Basilica at the lowest prices
If you don't want to spend too much of your budget to visit the Basilica of San Marco, with this ticket you can skip the ticket office queues and visit it at your own pace.
If you are not a fan of guided tours but do not want to give up touring the Basilica of San Marco inside, do not worry. With this ticket, if you buy it online and in advance, you can avoid the long lines that form at the ticket office at the entrance.
Once inside, you will have as much time as you want to enjoy its architecture, the details of its altar, the spectacular mosaics on its floor and of course, the views of St. Mark's Square from its terrace. Take your time and enjoy the visit (if you need to, I will tell you later what you should not miss if you want to visit it on your own).
Why I like this option: in addition to being the most economical, it allows you greater flexibility of schedule to organize the visit at your own pace.
Recommended if... you want to visit the interior of the Basilica without wasting time at the ticket office and at the best price.
What not to miss on your visit to St. Mark's Basilica
Once you have chosen your type of tour and in addition to exploring this masterpiece of Byzantine art that is St. Mark's Basilica, there are four points of special interest that you cannot miss on your visit and that are payable on site, except in the case of some of the excursions that include your entrance fee:
The most relevant artistic work of St. Mark's Basilica, a large altarpiece set with enamels and precious stones.
Treasury of St. Mark's Basilica
It is a Byzantine treasure of gold and silver from the sacking of Constantinople.
The Museum and the Horses of St. Mark
This museum is full of works, including the original sculptures of the Horses of St. Mark. Made of gold-plated bronze, these sculptures were found in the hippodrome of Constantinople and were part of the booty stolen during the Fourth Crusade. In addition, the ceilings and mosaics of the basilica can be seen up close from the museum.
Balcony of the Basilica
From the terrace of St. Mark's Basilica, which you will access through the staircase Loggia del Cavalli, you will get a unique view of the majestic St. Mark's Square. This was the royal balcony from which the Doge of Venice witnessed the ceremonies held in the square and from it you will see the arcaded facades of the square, the Bell Tower, the Torre dell Oroglio and the facade of the Doge's Palace.
In the background, you can see the columns of San Marco and San Teodoro and in the distance you can see the island of San Giorgio Maggiore overlooking the lagoon with its imposing church.
Vicky's Traveller Tip
Remember that as it is a religious temple, you will have to cover your shoulders and knees to enter the Basilica.
St. Mark's Basilica opening hours
- St. Mark's Basilica in Venice can be visited every day of the year from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a last access 15 minutes before closing time.
- On Sundays and public holidays the opening hours are restricted from 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm and from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm from November until Easter of the following year.
How to get to St. Mark's Basilica
St. Mark's Basilica is a must see as it is located in the center of the city, in St. Mark's Square, so getting there on foot or by vaporetto is very easy. If you are traveling to Venice, but not staying in the city, you can reach the basilica from the train station in half an hour walk.
Other interesting activities
If you are interested in visiting St. Mark's Basilica, perhaps you should also consider visiting the Doge's Palace (see my article on Doge's Palace Tickets in Venice: how to buy, prices and schedules here). I also recommend that you complete your trip to Venice with a gondola ride. So that you have no doubts when booking your itinerary, I leave you here the best options: Gondola Rides Tickets in Venice.
Frequently asked questions
Is it worth entering St. Mark's Basilica?
If the outside looks spectacular, its interior will not leave you indifferent. In addition to all the art you will see in the temple, the views of the square from its rooftop are a must to complete your trip to Venice.
Is there a specific dress code for entering the Basilica?
Yes, as it is a religious temple you should avoid short pants or skirts and shoulders should be covered.
Is it possible to take pictures inside the temple?
There are areas where photography is not allowed, but you will enjoy taking pictures of St. Mark's Square from the viewpoint of the Basilica.
What am I going to see in St. Mark's Basilica?
The Palo de Oro, the Museum and the Horses of St. Mark and the Balcony of the Basilica, from where you will have the best view of St. Mark's Square.