September 28 – 8.30 pm
Meeting point: Piazzetta dei Leoncini, a square located next to the basilica, known for its lion statues
Saint Mark’s Basilica represents one of the most famous Italian cathedrals and enshrines an extraordinary artistic and cultural heritage, which attracts four to five million visitors per year.
The night visit to Saint Mark’s basilica is a unique opportunity to admire this magnificent artistic and architectural masterpiece, surrounded by the very evocative and enchanting night atmosphere!
It was first built in 829 with the function of ecclesiastical structure to house and honor the relics of Saint Mark, smuggled by the Venetians from Alexandria. For about one thousand years this structure served as personal Doge’s chapel and as State Church under the supervision of Saint Mark’s Procurators. In 1807 it became the seat of the Patriarch of Venice and the city cathedral, closing its thousand years of ducal history.
As remarked by the French writer Stendhal, “Saint Mark’s is the first mosque one encounters when traveling eastwards”.
As a matter of fact, thanks to its elaborate five domed roof, to the nearly two acres of mosaics with gold backgrounds covering the walls, the arches, cupolas and the fascinating inlaid marble floors, Saint Mark’s Basilica is regarded as one of the finest examples of Byzantine art.
The unknown architect, probably Greek, who first planned the basilica’s actual shape in 1063 , drew inspiration from the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople: both of the churches have in common a typical Greek cross plan. Moreover, many sculptures and mosaics were stolen directly from Constantinople during the Crusades and it is thought that the artists who created the floor, as well as those who did the mosaics, came from Constantinople or Greece.
Students and Professors wishing to take part in the visit are kindly asked to sign in within Tuesday, September 27 (Front Office).
The visit is offered by VIU.