Opened in the 19th century, St Mark’s Museum houses a splendid collection of artistic and spiritual testimonies that portray the true-meaning of St Mark’s Basilica. Indeed, all the objects shown are part of the history of the cathedral and represent a unique collection of objects, carefully gathered throughout the years with devotion, talent and determination. They give a representation of the identity of this church, one of the most beautiful and peculiar churches in the world. After years of planning spent to redesign the exhibition area, St Mark’s Museum has been recently renovated so that the rooms atop the entrance of the Basilica are now joined with the Room of the “Banchetti Dogale” and further space has been made available. There are now three sections in the museum: Mosaics, Textiles, Quadriga and Antics.
Amongst the pieces on show, a special mention is deserved by the famous four-horse carriage or “quadriga”, originally erected on the roof of the hippodrome of Constantinople until 1204 when it was looted together with many other items by Venetian Crusaders. In 1982 it was retired into the rooms of the museum from its former position in the centre of St Mark’s Cathedral facade, where a replica is now on show. The unknown origin of these splendid bronze horses, Greek or possibly Roman, adds an element of mystery to the cultural heritage of the Basilica. The Banchetti room houses a 14th century wooden alterpiece by Paolo Veneziano, representing the life of St Mark and originally positioned over the “Pala d’Oro” (Italian, “Golden Pall” or “Golden Cloth”). There are also Persian rugs, liturgical vestments, manuscripts with liturgical texts, precious musical instruments, portions of mosaics and woollen tapestry depicting stories from the Passion of Christ and other silk and silver ones with stories of St Marks. A journey through a huge heritage of faith, art and culture, the museum accompanies visitors in the discovery and understanding of St Mark’s Basilica and its immense legacy related to the history of Venice and humankind. The visit to St Mark’s Museum should be ended with a foray onto its terrace from which sensational views towards the square, the Doge’s Palace, the pier and the Isle of San Marco, almost mirroring the main St Mark’s square and once the hub of the city and its ancient state, can be enjoyed.
Saint Mark's Museum
Venice - St. Mark's Square 30124
Opening Time 9.45 - 16.45
St Mark's Museum and Cathedral from above