During a night tour of the St. Mark’s Cathedral, we will be able to submerge ourselves in a breathtaking atmosphere, admiring the illuminated mosaics and their golden backgrounds.
The tour starts at St. Mark’s Square, where your guide meets you, kicking off your adventure with thrilling anecdotes and stories. Learn about the history of Venice and St. Mark’s Basilica—like how it received its precious relics via a 9th-century kidnapping! Then comes the real treat.
All of the passersby will wonder where you’re going as a custodian unlocks the basilica’s doors for you and walks you right in. Inside, take a deep breath. You’re experiencing St. Mark’s Basilica as almost nobody else does, or ever has ever been able to (aside from the Doge himself) – empty! So you can experience the basilica as it should be experienced: in tranquillity and peace.
The first St. Mark Basilica was built on this spot in the 9th century to house very sacred relics—relics that had been stolen! In 828, merchants from Venice stole the body of St. Mark the Evangelist, one of the four Apostles, from Alexandria, Egypt. According to the legend, they snuck them past the (Muslim) guards by hiding them under layers of pork in barrels!
While at sea, a storm almost drowned the graverobbers and their precious cargo, it’s said that St. Mark himself appeared to the captain and told him to lower the sails. The ship was saved, and the merchants said they owed their safety to the miracle.
The entire story is pictured on the 13th-century mosaic above the left door as you enter the basilica.
There are more than 85,000 square feet (or 8,000 square meters) of mosaic in St. Mark’s Basilica… or enough mosaic to cover over 1.5 American football fields! The mosaics were done over 8 centuries, mostly in gold, and the result is astonishing. Enter the basilica at different times of day to see how the light makes the colours, and scenes, look different…
- Language: English