A Byzantine jewel in a Roman Catholic country, San Marco is in several respects a special place. The water that runs around Venice and threatens its future, often also comes right on the doorstep of the San Marco basilica. Walking along the waterfront of Venice, the bell tower of San Marco rises up from a distance, a clear marker for the Venetian skyline. The crowds increase rapidly the closer you get to the famous square - a map is not needed here. There were still provisory and movable walkways on the streets as the square had been inundated days before.
And then, the square opens itself up to you, with the bell tower on your left and the basilica on the right. As the sun goes down, the light on the basilica grows more intense and warmer, giving it a fabulous glow. This certainly looks different from most other churches in Italy, this is a Byzantine church, reminder of the close ties Venice had with the East Roman Empire. Destroyed twice before, the church as it is now was started in 1063 and serves as Venice's cathedral since the 12th century.
Inside, the rich mosaics with clearly recognizable Byzantine images, with both Latin and Greek inscriptions, impress any visitor, especially since they have been renovated. The light enters from all sides through windows at the base of all five cupolas. The basilica is constructed as a Greek Byzantine cross, with a cupola on each arm of the cross and one, larger cupola in the middle. Unfortunately, I was too late to go up, but I will do this when I return.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from San Marco basilica (Italy). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to San Marco basilica. Read more about this site.