From Rome to Venice with two cards of the St. Mark's Basilica. The 1st was bought by me during a short stop in Venice a couple of years ago and the 2nd is from a tag in the PC forum.
St Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco in Italian) is the most famous of the many churches of Venice and one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture in the world. Located just off the Grand Canal, the gleaming basilica overlooks the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) and adjoins the Doge's Palace. San Marco is a cathedral, but has not always been so: it was the Doge's chapel until it became the seat of the Archbishop of Venice in 1807.
© Copyright 2006 by Mazzega Art & Design s. r. l - Venezia * Foto: archivo Mazzega Art & Design
In 828, Venetian merchants stole the relics of Saint Mark the Evangelist from their original resting place in Alexandria, Egypt. It is said the Venetians hid the relics in a barrel under layers of pork to get them past Muslim guards. The adventure is depicted in the 13th-century mosaic above the door farthest left of the front entrance of the Basilica.
The relics were initially housed in a temporary chapel within the Doge's Palace, but a more substantial church was built to shelter the valuable relics in 829-32. This burned in a rebellion against Doge Pietro Candiano IV in 976, but was restored by Doge Domenico Contarini (d. 1070). The present basilica, which incorporates the earlier buildings, was completed around 1071.
© Copyright 2003-2013 by Storti Edizioni srl * Foto: Archivio Storti
While the basic structure of the building has changed very little over the last millennium, its decoration was regularly modified after its completion. The succeeding centuries, especially the 14th, all contributed to its adornment, and Venetian vessels from the Orient brought a virtually continous supply of columns, capitals, or friezes from ancient buildings to adorn the basilica.
The exterior brickwork was gradually covered with various marbles and carvings, some much older than the building itself. A new frontage was constructed and the domes were covered with higher wooden domes in order to blend in with the Gothic architecture of the redesigned Doge's Palace.
The Basilica di San Marco was the chapel of the Doges for most of its history, but in 1807, it became the cathedral of Venice. - in: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/venice-san-marco