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More Top Hotels Venice
Basilica di San Marco
St Mark's basilica is the most famous of Venice's many churches and together with its campanile forms an iconic image of the city. Standing in the square of the same name, it is linked to the Doge's Palace and was originally the Palace chapel although it is now the city cathedral. It is one of the classics of Byzantine architecture with its domes, mosaics, marble floors and Greek cross shape. Founded in the 9th century when the relics of St Mark were brought here, it has been much altered and embellished since and artists from all over Europe worked on it. It is especially noted for the artefacts added to it, brought back by Venetian sailors from all over the world. The most famous of these are the St Mark's horses which may have started out on the Arch of Trajan in Rome and ended up here by way of Constantinople. The ones on display on the façade are replicas. By contrast the campanile is a simple square brick structure which first acquired this design in the 16th century. When it collapsed in 1902 it was rebuilt in exactly the same style. For details of visits, including opening times, restrictions and guided tours see the website.
The tower can be accessed only by prior arrangement for a tour guide, but is not recommended for persons with mobility problems due to its narrow and steep stairs. There are a number of buses and other public transport to the area, details of which are available at the website. The entrance fee of 12 Euro includes free admission to the Museo Correr, the National Archaelogical Museum and the State Rooms of the Biblioteca Marciana.