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“Beautiful Space, but Be Prepared for the Rules!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Saint Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)

Saint Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)
San Marco 328, 30124 Venice, Italy (San Marco)
39-041-5225205
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Ranked #10 of 214 attractions in Venice
Type: Religious Sites, Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Historic Sites, Architectural Buildings, Churches/ Cathedrals
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Attraction Details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Blending the architectural styles of East and West, Venice's magnificent basilica was consecrated in 832 AD as an ecclesiastical building to house the remains of St. Mark.
New Jersey
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
57 attraction reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Beautiful Space, but Be Prepared for the Rules!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

On the outside, this basilica is breathtaking. The architecture and artwork are just marvelous. Now try to get inside- it is easier said than done.

The regular queue that is the free admission is usually no shorter than 45 minutes. We learned of this and went on the internet to pay 3 Euros for a timed entry into a different door, which meant we got a specific time to go back and upon arriving at that time we didn't have to wait at all. Definitely worth it. However, they have a lot of rules that are not enforced very evenly- either enforce them strictly for everyone, or don't have rules! It was very frustrating seeing women with huge, suitcase size purses waltz right in, while my boyfriend's sleek little backpack wasn't allowed. They have a free spot to check your bags, but it is down an alley and out of the way, we almost got lost looking for it. My advice would be to find this place first and check your bags no matter the size just in case before joining any queues to enter. Also, there seems to be a difference of opinion about what constitutes shorts/pants/knees/legs/etc. Just be as covered as possible to play it safe.

Once inside there are signs everywhere that say no photos allowed, but it seems everyone except me ignores this rule. It is really lovely inside, but so crowded you feel a bit like cattle being herded. And all of the interesting things- the altar, the museum upstairs... come at a cost. We thought that going upstairs to see the views and the museum exhibits was worth the extra cost. There are lots of interesting things back there and getting to see the open view of the inside of the church is great.

This is definitely a must see for a trip to Venice, however you really have to be prepared. It is frustrating to have to follow all these rules that may or may not matter, and super crowds are never fun. But I don't know if I'll ever be back to Venice in my lifetime, so I'm really glad I saw it. I could only give it an average rating because of all the craziness with the rules, but I promise you, it really is stunning.

Visited August 2013
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Lincolnshire, UK
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Stunning”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

What an absolutely stunning building inside and out! The artwork is breathtaking. Make sure your shoulders and legs are covered, charge 1 euro for a shroud to wrap round you. We went into the treasury room, cost 3 euros each, lovely artefacts. We also went on the terrace and to the museum at the top, costs 5 euros, but worth it for the views over Venice and across the water.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancashire
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
“Make sure to reserve a time for your visit on line”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

A must see if vising Venice and so glad we reserved a time on line costing 1.5 euros to avoid the queues. When we got there the queue was horrendous, but we just walked right past and straight in no problem. TIP .. take something to cover your shoulders, they charge 2 euros to give you some sort of paper cape to cover you otherwise, bit cheeky we thought. I'd taken a very tiny t-shirt which I could crush into my bag and just slipped this over my shoulders as we entered and no one bothered us. Also watch out for the shop as you leave - we bought a glass gondolla but found it was broken (in the box) when we got back to the hotel.

Visited August 2013
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Manchester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Absolutely breathtaking!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2013

Saint Mark's Basilica is a breathtaking example of Byzantine architecture at its most opulent, the Basilica is the most lavishly decadent piece of architecture I have ever seen and easily the most magnificent church. The inside of the Basilica has a dark, gothic feel, adorned with opulent gilded mosaics and beautiful paintings. Absolutely spectacular. A must-see in Venice.

Visited September 2013
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Palatine, Illinois
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31 reviews 31 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“The bells forever in my mind...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2013

There is nothing to dislike ... not even the crowds of tourists! On Sunday morning we walked into the square with the bells all ringing ... it was amazing & gives me chills! It will forever when I remember the sounds! We returned at night & when I close my eyes, I can see the lights of St. Mark's Square & the Basilica surrounding us ... and my husband's arms surrounding me!

Visited September 2013
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