guided tour vivovenetiaGuided tours

St Mark’s Basilica Venice guided visit

Among all the amazing things to see in Venice, here’s the one you should not miss !  A masterpiece of Byzantine art and the symbol of the republic of Venice, the Basilica of San Marco dazzles visitors with its sparkling beauty.

You can’t visit Venice without passing by the piazza San Marco, the bell tower, the doge’s palace, and of course its majestic cathedral! And therefore, be prepared to face a crowd of visitors.

Avoid the queues and get discounted rates and discover the history of Venice with our guided tour proposals!

WHY DID WE LIKE THIS EXPERIENCE SO MUCH?

  • Pick you favorite option : join an existing tour or create your own !
  • Discover all the secrets of the golden basilica with our expert guide
  • The skip the line access is included ! Great value for money!

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Avoid the crowds with skip the line access and visit st mark ‘s basilica with an expert guide! You will be told the extraordinary story of this cathedral, its influences and see the richness of its decorations.

In order to enjoy it without unpleasant surprises and avoid long lines, it is advised to make an online reservation. To help you plan your visit, we offer you 2 options to skip the line at st mark’s cathedral:

– a shared group tour with other visitors of the basilica

– a private guided tour of st mark ‘s basilica

Click on the BOOKING button at the top right to choose your preferred option.

You will also be able to make a mock reservation to see the price according to your preferences.

Please feel free to contact us for more information!

Do you need tickets for St Mark’s basilica?

The answer is yes and no. You can actually get in line and wait for your turn. Keep in mind that most of the tickets are being sold online, and it can happen that a time slot is fully booked, and you end up not being able to enter, or stay in line for quite a long time.

The price of admission to the basilica does not include access to certain areas, and some visitors are surprised to have to pay an additional fee on the spot. We explain what this is!

Basilica of San Marco – Opening hours and days of visit

The Basilica is open daily from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm except on Sundays from 2 to 4:30 pm. If you wish to visit the Basilica without a guide, you can reserve a ticket on the Basilica website. You can come without a ticket and wait in line, but availability is not guaranteed.

The different areas –  Saint Mark’s Basilica

Inspired by the Byzantine style, the basilica follows a Greek cross plan, topped by five domes (a central dome and four branches). Located on piazza San Marco, the basilica was built on the ruins of a church built around the year 830. Its purpose was to collect the relics of Saint Mark, brought back by Venetian merchants.

The majestic facade

Its spectacular facade (completely restored) is dominated by the copy of the famous horses of Saint Mark, bronze horses stolen in the thirteenth century by the Venetians in Constantinople. The main facade of the basilica has four large portals, from the 12th century and, on the right, the window of the Zen chapel. These portals are decorated with mosaics, numerous ancient columns and sculptures from different periods.

The golden mosaics

The interior of the basilica is sublimated with gold. The ceilings and upper walls are covered with golden mosaics (hence its nickname “Golden Basilica”) and the lower walls covered with marble.

The pala d’oro

It is a rectangular goldsmith’s panel (altarpiece) decorated with enamels and precious stones, located behind the high altar. Dedicated to the evangelist Mark, its purpose was to protect the relics of the saint. The relics (the body of Saint Mark) were previously kept in a sarcophagus under the high altar.

The Museum

Here you will find many exhibits that belong to the history of the basilica itself, such as the original bronze horses of St. Mark. You will also have access to the terrace that overlooks the famous St. Mark’s Square and enjoy a magnificent view of Venice.

The crypt of the Basilica of San Marco

The crypt of the basilica is obviously under the building. It would be the resting place of the relics of Saint Mark. This area is not accessible during the “normal” guided tours. However, if you are interested, it is possible to organize an “exclusive” visit of the basilica that includes access to the crypt. Contact us if you are interested in this option!

St Mark’s Basilica tour

Join a group guided tour of the Basilica

Join a small group of visitors and enjoy all the explanations provided by our guide to discover the symbolism of the various works you will have the chance to see.  You will be able to sit back while our guide explains the biblical scenes depicted, the history and the particularities related to this thousand-year-old basilica.

Included in the tour:

  • Entrance ticket to the Terrace and the Museum
  • Guided tour of the upper level of St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Headphones
  • Skip the line ticket

Meeting point:

  • The meeting point is located in Calle Larga Ascensione
  • Be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before the tour begins
  • Provide a printed/mobile copy of your ticket to the guide

The private tour

If you wish to have a guide just for you, we suggest you book a private guided tour. If you are traveling in a small group, it is sometimes more advantageous and pleasant to turn to this solution. You can even pick which areas you would like to see:

  • Only the Basilica of San Marco
  • The Basilica and the Pala d’oro
  • The basilica and the museum of the basilica
  • The basilica, the pala d’oro and the museum

Saint Mark’s Basilica clothing and practical information

  • Wear appropriate clothing to enter the Basilica (no bare knees or shoulders)
  • For security reasons, backpacks are not allowed (free deposit available in Via San Basso)
  • No refunds will be given for no-shows or late arrivals
  • The tour will take place even in case of rain. In case of exceptional high tide, it can be canceled and refunded.

Want to know more about the Basilica of San Marco?

For the more curious, here are some anecdotes about the Basilica while waiting for the visit…

The relics of Saint Mark

The remains of Saint Mark were brought back to Venice by two supposed merchants. They would have stolen it from his tomb in Alexandria in 828, and would have hidden it in a basket containing pork to avoid excavations.

In June 1968, Pope Paul VI returned the relics of Saint Mark to the Coptic Church. These relics are deposited in the new cathedral of Cairo.

According to the chief curator of the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice, no part of the relics of St. Mark is found there. There is only a cloth that was put in contact with the tomb in Venice. This is called a contact relic.

The horses of Saint Mark

The horses of St. Mark once adorned the hippodrome of Constantinople. In 1204, the Venetians stole them to place them above the main door of the Basilica of Saint Mark in Venice. They are now replaced by replicas, the originals being kept inside the basilica.

In 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte, then general-in-chief of the Italian army of the Directory, took Venice during the first Italian Campaign (1796-1797) and took the horses. Once he became emperor, he had them installed on the triumphal arch of the Carrousel, built in Paris as a tribute to the Grande Armée.

In 1815, after the fall of Napoleon, the horses were returned to Venice by the Austrians. They are then replaced on the triumphal arch by copies.

The Treasury of the Basilica of Venice

The Treasure is composed of a set of 283 objects made of precious materials. It consists of chalices, various religious objects, relics… This treasure would be composed mainly of the remains of the booty stolen by the Venetians in Constantinople between 1204 and 1261.

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Find out more about the must-see sites in Venice :

FEATURES

  • Child Friendly
  • Accessible with public transport

EXPERIENCE DETAILS

Price

Visita guidata di gruppo:

Prezzo: 39€ / persona.
Gratis per i bambini fino da 0 a 5 anni.

Visita privata:

Si prega di fare una simulazione di prenotazione per definire il prezzo, secondo il numero di persone e le zone della basilica.

Duration

1 hour

Availability

Daily except Sundays and bank holidays

Spoken Languages

  • English

Included / Excluded

Included :

Group tour:

  • Skip the line access
  • Guided tour with a specialist guide
  • Headphones

Private tour: 

Depends on the option selected.

Excluded :

Anything not listed in the Included section

Sales Conditions

Group Tour :

For cancellations up to 48 hours before the experience, a cancellation charge of 20% will be applied.

No refund will be made in case of no show or cancellation within 48 hours before the experience.

Private tour :

For cancellations up to 48 hours before the experience, a cancellation charge 50% will be applied.

No refund will be made in case of no show or cancellation within 48 hours before the experience.

THOSE WHO HAVE ALREADY PURCHASED A TICKET AND ARE NOT IN POSSESSION OF A GREEN PASS CANNOT ENTER THE BASILICA NOR CANNOT REQUEST A REFUND.

Other practical information

  • For security reasons backpacks are not allowed inside the Basilica of San Marco and you can leave them at the free luggage room, which is located a few meters to the left, Calle San Basso. Also for this reason, we recommend you to arrive at least 15 minutes before the visit!
  • Think about your dress code! In Italy, shoulders and knees must be covered in religious buildings.
  • We remind you that on Sundays, for the presence of the mass, the visit is modified: it is done from the terrace.
  • The super green pass will be asked at the entrance of the basilica

 

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