Saint Mark's Basilica
Gildings, murals, domes, mixing of styles: a paradise for any art historian.
For several reasons, this building is a great place to start any tour. St Mark’s Square, where it is located, is the religious and social centre of the city and a place from which to walk to any point reasonably quickly. On the other hand, a visit to the basilica can become quite lengthy because it contains several interesting details that make it a real historical and artistic map of Venice. Work on it began in the ninth century as an extension of the Doge’s Palace, but its purpose quickly changed into that of serving as a mausoleum for the body of St Mark, who became the protector of the city. Just look at its exterior to appreciate the mix of styles that constitute it because, over the years, the building has not been immune to the different artistic trends developed in the city, which was one of the cultural centres of the Middle Ages. On entering, the first thing that strikes you is the predominance of gold colouring in its decoration. The multitude of murals that occupy its walls and domes illustrate religious passages and are an inescapable visit for any student. But the most remarkable parts, which are the treasure taken from Constantinople, the Pala d’Oro (Golden Pall) and, above all, the museum that houses the sculptures of horses of St Mark, require an entry fee.