"Basilica di San Marco: "Pirate Cathedral"" Basilica di San Marco Tip by deecat

Basilica di San Marco, Venice: 249 reviews and 465 photos

  Silhouette Against Basilica di San Marco
by deecat

Basilica di San Marco has been called the Pirate Cathedral because so many of the valuable artifacts were stolen from Constantinople.

This Basilica was once the doge's chapel and did not become the city's cathedral until 1807. The literature indicates that the basilica is the embodiment of Venice's unique position which links East and West, both in war and peace.

For instance, its [Greek cross form] echoes the Byzantine grandeur of Constantinople's Church of the twelve Apostles, but Venice was Latin, not Greek.

Two sailors went to Alexandria, Egypt, to steal the body of St. Mark, the Evangelist and were able to succeed because they hid it on a wagon under a layer of pork.

The church was destroyed by fire and twice replaced. This version is from 1094. The mosaics within the arches depict the stealing of St. Mark's bones.

Like the rest of Venice, San Marco's creation copied many styles but then adapted them into something original.

One of the most interesting treasures, I feel, is the four Horses of San Marco on the loggia outside the basilica (they are only copies of the originals). To see the originals, you have to pay and go inside. These horses were also stolen from Constantinople.

The walls of the Basilica are covered with mosaics. The reading says that there are 2 acres of mosaics dating from Byazntine to Renaissance. It's quite a sight.

Address: Dominates St Marks
othercontact: Just go there; can't miss it.
Phone: +39 041 2708311
Website: http://www.basilicasanmarco.it/eng/basilica_tesoro/tesorosanmarco_appr.bsm?cat=1&subcat=4

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 26, 2005
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