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“Strangely dark but so beautiful” 5 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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Skip the Line
$73*
and up
Skip the Line: Venice in One Day Including Boat...
Ranked #9 of 222 Attractions in Venice
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Religious sites, Landmarks & points of interest, Historic sites, Architectural buildings, Churches & cathedrals, Sights & Landmarks
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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.
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Strangely dark but so beautiful”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2013

It has one real downside - the 3 hour lines for visiting it. Stay with these and the internals are stunning.

Visited September 2013
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Ashford, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Definitely worth a visit.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2013

We booked a skip the line walking tour with Viator and it was well worth it. We learned a lot about Venice on our 2 hour walk around the little streets and alleys and our guide was very knowledgeable. Being able to go straight into the Basilica without queueing was a bonus. Beautiful ceiling and artwork - must see.

Visited September 2013
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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18 reviews 18 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Go upstairs”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

Pay the extra €5 and go upstairs...loads to see. Not really worth the other extras. Queues adore big to get in, however...

Visited September 2013
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Aberdeen, Washington
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Impressive”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

Well worth the visit - especially if you leave your backpack at the Bag check and use your bag check ticket to walk to the front of the line and get in without waiting in line.

Visited September 2013
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New Jersey
Top Contributor
142 reviews 142 reviews
71 attraction reviews
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83 helpful votes 83 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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