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Popular and perpetually busy, St. Mark’s Basilica is the most famous monument in Venice. You can reserve skip-the-line tickets in advance, or book an after-hours tour for private evening access. While the exterior is visited on just about every city sightseeing tour, a guided tour is the best way to experience the interior, given the complexity of its art and architecture.
The basilica anchors St. Mark’s Square, so you can easily combine a tour of the church with a gondola ride and a Doge’s Palace tour.
The church has been rebuilt, expanded, and delicately restored over the centuries.
Like most churches in Italy, St. Mark’s Basilica requires visitors to wear appropriate clothing—no exposed shoulders, knees, or midriffs.
Large bags are not permitted in the basilica. Deposit any luggage at Ateneo di San Basso (in Piazzetta dei Leoncini).
Both St. Mark's Basilica and the nearby Doge's Palace are wheelchair accessible.
The cathedral is on the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent to the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) along the Grand Canal. The nearest vaporetto (ferry) stop is San Marco–San Zaccaria.
The basilica is most crowded at midday, so aim for a morning or late-afternoon visit. Summer is the busiest time, while Venice is relatively quiet from November through February (aside from the Christmas and New Year holidays, and during Carnival).
St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is famous for Michelangelo's Pietà and Florence’s Duomo is known for Brunelleschi’s dome, but St. Mark’s Basilica’s greatest treasure—the stunning Pala d'Oro—is older than even those masterpieces. This glittering gold and enamel altarpiece from 976 AD is considered one of the most important, refined examples of Byzantine enamel in the world.