PIAZZA SAN MARCO is one of the most precious architectural jewels and has been defined as the world’s most beautiful square. It is the largest square in Venice and the only one known as a "Piazza". The others are all "campi" or "campielli".
Majestic and imposing, it is surrounded by architectural works of astounding beauty and elegance. These include the clock tower with two "Moors" who beat out the time at the top, the Procuratie Vecchie, former seat first of the Doge, then the highest Magistracy of the Republic, the Ala Napoleonica, the San Marco bell tower once a lighthouse for sailors and known to Venetians as "el paron de casa" (the landlord), the majestic San Marco basilica and the Doge’s palace, obligatory destination for all tourists visiting Venice.
The SAN MARCO BASILICA is Venice's cathedral and the city's most representative monument. Built on the remains of a former church, also dedicated to St. Mark, it is the third after the 9th century basilica commissioned by Giustiniano Partecipazio to mark the arrival in Venice of the Saint's body in 828 and the 10th century basilica reconstructed by Pietro Orseolo I after the fire of 976.
It was completely reworked in the 10th century under Doge Domenico Contarini and the place became consecrated to the Doges.
Clad in dazzling mosaics with a gold background, the work of Byzantine and Venetian masters, decorated with oriental and Greek marbles and enriched over the years by the works of the greatest artists from all over the world, it is the sublime result of the meeting between Eastern and Western art.
The ALTAR PANEL behind the high altar is a masterpiece of Byzantine and Venetian gold working.
Finely embroidered and decorated with gold and silver, as well as Christ and the Doge who commissioned it (Ordelaffo Falier) it also depicts numerous scenes from the Old and New Testaments.