Venice (Part I): St. Mark’s Square & Basilica

Venice, Italy

  • Part I: St. Mark’s Square & Basilica
  • Part II: Venetian cuisine
  • Part III: Murano glass-making
  • Part IV: Burano, “The Island of Painted Houses”
  • Part V: Carnival Weekend

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Four layers of clothing & ninja-style scarf-wearing, and we're ready for our boat ride across the lagoon to Venezia!

Introduction

My weekend in Venice (February 11-12th) will always remain one of my favorite memories.

Despite the unusually cold weather (we saw the lagoon freeze for the first time in ~50 years), Chelsea and I had an amazing time. We captured the picturesque sights of the islands and canals, visited churches and museums, learned how the artisans of Murano craft glass, tasted traditional Venetian dishes, and took part in the festivities of Carnevale.

While the pictures cannot possibly convey the true beauty and spirit of Venice, hopefully they can share a glimpse of this wonderful experience 🙂

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Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square)

St. Mark’s Square is the most stunning piazza I could imagine. When arriving to this main island of Venice, the dock area on the water is lined with adorable shops, restaurants and hotels. As you walk towards the Piazza San Marco, the buildings, statues, canal views and architecture suddenly surround you and can take your breath away. (I must admit, the sunlight–which we didn’t experience until the afternoon of Day 2–makes the views so much more beautiful than the gloomy sky backdrop in some of these photos).

St. Mark's Campanile - The bell tower is over 300 feet tall. In Part 4 of this Venice series, you'll see pictures of "the flight of the angel" Carnevale opening ceremony, when a woman took a "flight" from the balcony of the campanile!

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Ciao! The cold weather could not possibly dampen my mood for this trip 🙂

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Palazzo Ducale - It took over a century to construct the Doge's Palace (the Duke's Palace), which is a stunning example of Gothic architecture from the 14th century.

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Torre dell'Orologio - The Clock Tower of Venice is so magnificent that legends say the engineers and designers had their eyes gouged out afterwards to assure that no other city could possibly acquire such a wonder 😮

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Throughout Venice, the winged lion is the most prevalent animal symbol, representing St. Mark the Evangelist. Horses are another animal symbol, though, particularly found at the Church of St. Mark. They hold a symbolic history of Venetian independence and power, dating back to tales of war booty from Constantine's hippodrome during the fourth Crusade in 1204.

Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco (The Church of St. Mark)

St. Mark’s Basilica is absolutely unbelievable. It’s a Roman Catholic church of Byzantine and Gothic architecture built in the early 11th century, and “divine” is really the most appropriate adjective to describe it. The intricate structure and decorations of the exterior blew me away, and then the immense mosaic and details of the interior completely mesmerized me.

St. Mark's Basilica

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St. Mark's Basilica - Waiting in line to enter the cathedral was a pleasure, because even the exterior of the building is extraordinary. I couldn't believe the details in the columns and paintings.

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St. Mark's Basilica

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St. Mark's Basilica - An amazing gold mosaic decorates ~8,000 square-meters of the intricate ceilings and walls.

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St. Mark's Basilica - The horses of St. Mark

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St. Mark's Basilica - The downstairs level is covered in Gothic decorations. It's hauntingly beautiful, filling you with this reflective feeling of awe.

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From inside the Basilica, you can access the balcony to see beautiful views of St. Mark's Square.

Check back for Venice: Parts II, III, IV and V about 2) Venetian cuisine, 3) Murano glass-making, 4) Burano (“The Island of Painted Houses”), and 5) the Carnevale.

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10 comments on “Venice (Part I): St. Mark’s Square & Basilica

  1. Mom says:

    Ah, Elizabeth, this brings back so many memories of my trip to Venice with my school chorus and band when I was 18 years old. As a member of the front guard Color Guard, I had the honor of marching ahead of our band (which had at least 100 members on that trip) as we proudly carried the American Flag around St. Mark’s Square. Later, the members of the chorus sang a beautiful a capella version of an Alleluia in the back of St. Mark’s Cathedral (now a Basilica) which echoed throughout the cathedral. It’s an experience that I will never forget, just as you will never forget your snowy trip to Venice during Carneval.

  2. […] Part I: St. Mark’s Square & Basilica […]

  3. […] Part I: St. Mark’s Square & Basilica […]

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ran across your photos & text while looking for pictures of the Horses of St. Mark’s as I read Dan Brown’s latest, the Inferno. I’m sure you will enjoy it since his adventure takes place in Florence & Venice.
    RKT

  5. Anonymous says:

    VERY NICE PHOTOS

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