St Mark’s Treasure is kept in the ancient rooms adjacent to the Doge’s Palace, which can be accessed through a lateral nave in the right transept of the Basilica. What unfolds in front of the visitor’s eyes is a spectacle of unique beauty that contains 283 precious objects, most of them originating from the looting of Costantinople in 1204 during the 4th crusade. The treasure is made up of a substantial collection of sacred art, with oriental objects and jewels dating from the 6th to the 12th century (chalices, cups, plates, enamled godl and silver objects), and also amazing jewellery pieces from the Western world and Venice with magnificent filigree decorations. Gold, silver, glass and valuable materials are still glaring luxuriously despite the depletion experienced by the treasure. The treasure received substantial damage in 1231 because of a fire, but was later replenished. In 1797 it was depleted to cover the cost incurred with the Napoleon’s invasion and between 1815 and 1819 part of it was used to fund renovations in the basilica. What is left today is nonetheless substantial and perfectly conveys the image of the opulence that the Serenissima Republic once enjoyed.
The access hallway leads, on one side, to the sanctuary, where precious objects from Constantinople, the Holy Land and other places in the Mediterranean area are kept, and on the other side, to St Mark’s treasure. There are four main sections: the first contains remains from the classic world and the upper Middle Ages, one has byzantine jewels, another Islamic art objects and the last one pieces originating or prepared in the Western world.
Also splendid are the two small altar palls from the 13th and 15th centuries exposed on the south side and the throne which contains St Mark’s relics dating from the 6th century.
St Mark’s Golden Pall is the other treasure of the Basilica, which, with its arts and the many precious materials used, leaves visitors dazzled. It contains 250 squares decorated with precious stones and cloisonné enamels inlaid in a gold silver sheet. The Golden Pall was commissioned in the 12th century in Constantinople by the doge Ordelaffo Falier and was enriched throughout the years until it became with its luxury and value the astonishing masterpiece it is today. Unfortunately, as was the case with St Mark’s Treasure, several stones were removed during Napoleon’s invasion. Despite this, the dazzling lights still radiating from St Mark’s Golden Pall have not been matched yet in the history of medieval jewellery. Symbolically, it represents the uplifting of man towards God solemn is the figure of blessing Christ and the ensuing surrounding iconography.
St. Mark's Basilica
Venice - St. Mark's Square 30124
Opening Time 9.45 - 16.00
St. Mark's Museum and Cathedral from above
St. Mark's Cathedral and its treasures