Piazza San Marco

May 9th, 2005
Photos by Gertrude Meyer

Basilica San Marco

This exquisite basilica is tucked behind the Doges Palace. Only the south façade is visible from the water. The brick construction of the building was originally designed to remain exposed, then was subsequently marble-clad along the sides where the three façades open in a very unitary design. The idea of covering the three façades with marble occurred to the Venetians after the conquest of Constantinople in 1204, when a large amount of precious oriental marble, columns and capitals belonging to sacred and profane buildings in the capital of the Roman Empire of the East became available. The main façade is divided into two orders by the terrace.

Basilica San Marco - 050905-1150a
Detail of the facade
Torre Dell Orologio
Left: The statue in the cupola is one of four evangelists on the façade.
Right: The Torre dell'Orologio (Clock Tower) at the Piazza San Marco was built between 1496 and 1506. The clock, that it indicates the hours, is made lunar and those of the zodiaco, allowed the sailors to know the favorable movements of the tides and best months to sail. In 2005 the tower was being restored and shrouded in scaffolds. This picture was from a previous visit.

Detail Above the Entry

St. Mark the Evangelist or San Marco tops the center arch above the gold winged lion over the main entrance. Paintings were added to the arches of the façade in the 17th century. On the left is The Descent into Limbo and The Resurrection is on the right. The four horses that stand on the terrace have triumphal significance. These horses were also brought from Constantinople. These are copies of the originals which are housed in the St. Mark's Museum.

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