While getting lost and wandering around the beautiful streets of Venice was one of my favorite things we did, Saint Mark’s Basilica is definitely a main attraction to this seaside city. Located in Saint Mark’s Square, and also known as Basilica San Marco in Italian, the Basilica is a beautiful piece of architecture on the outside and full of beautiful details on the inside.
How to Get There:
Getting to Saint Mark’s Basilica is pretty easy because it is one of the main features of Venice. There is lots of signage pointing you towards the basilica if you choose to walk. Or you can get off at either of the San Marco stops on a vaporetto. Saint Mark’s Basilica is located at the East end of Saint Mark’s Square, right next to Doge’s Palace.
To get inside the building, you will need to stand in line. The line starts at the front of the building and heads towards the Doge’s Palace. They do not allow large bags to be brought into the basilica but they do have a bag check. To get there, head north of the basilica, past the lion statues into a little alley way between the yellow and white buildings. If you get lost or confused, just ask someone near-by and they can tell you where to go. There is also a map of where to check your bag near the entrance to the basilica. The bag check is free, but lasts only an hour.
Also to get inside the building, you will need to be covered. They do not allow bare shoulders or knees inside of the basilica. If you do come with bare shoulders or knees, they do have these plastic table cloths that you can wrap around yourself to cover the bare skin.
What You Will See:
To get inside of the church is free, and within the church there are areas that you can pay to go see. We only did the free things and it was still a beautiful experience. We suggest listening to Rick Steves Audio Europe app and following along on the St. Mark’s Basilica track (the track starts with the outside of the church). It took us about 30 minutes to see the free parts of the church and this included listening to Rick.
Inside the basilica you will see lots and lots of mosaics. They are all over the place! The floors, the ceilings, the walls, everywhere. The mosaics were my favorite part of the church. They were so detailed and so beautiful! Because Saint Mark’s Basilica is an active, working church, they do not allow pictures inside.
Saint Mark’s Basilica is a beautiful place and is a nice way to take a little bit of a break. It is dark and cool and a nice place to relax for a bit before heading back into Venice. The lines to get into Saint Mark’s can often be quite long and get especially long during the afternoon. The best time to go is first thing in the morning when they open. But be aware that the line starts forming at least 30 minutes prior to them opening the doors.
Saint Mark’s Basilica is one of the main attractions to see in Venice. Located in Saint Mark’s Square, it is a free site to see with paid options inside. Without doing the paid options it takes about a half an hour. There is a Rick Steves Audio Europe track to listen to while you are visiting the basilica that gives you lots of information and neat history about this beautiful church.