Hidden treasures

The Griffins of the St Mark's Basilica Flooring in Venice

Unknown places & works
grifoni-san-marco

The Griffins of the St Mark's Basilica Flooring in Venice

When you enter St. Mark's Basilica in Venice for the first time you cannot help but look up and admire the 4000 square meters of sparkling mosaics that cover the domes and arches of the ceiling. A careful observer will also note that is like walking on an amazing work of art, made with fantastic polychrome marble.

In the floor of the St. Mark's Basilica Basilica there are many geometric plots and animals, which have mostly a symbolic function, such as eagles (= divine wisdom), Peacocks (= rebirth) and herons (sacrifice of Jesus Christ).

There are also some fantastic animals, griffins, who have the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. According to mythology, griffins built their nests close to treasures and their eggs were made of gold.

We find the griffin in many ancient cultures, such as the Babylonians, Assyrians and Persians. In the Middle Ages the griffin is present in several coats of arms of noble families, since they were attributed many virtues, especially courage, and without defects; in churches instead it symbolizes the courage of Faith.

Even in modern culture the Griffin is back in the limelight. In the books of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter, the little wizard who attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, is a member of the house of Gryffindor, considered the bravest of all wizards!

 

St Mark's Basilica in Venice is open daily at the following times:

From 1 November to Easter Sunday

weekdays: 9:45am to 5pm - Sundays and holidays: 2pm to 4pm

From Easter Monday to 31 October

weekdays: 9:45am to 5pm - Sundays and holidays: 2pm to 5pm

From 1 April 1st to 31 October we remind you that it is possible to book the skip-the-line entrance and avoid the long queue at the entrance that is generally to be expected!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: The Italia Theatre in Cannaregio

teatro_Italia_venezia
Unknown places & works

Along the busy road linking Santa Lucia train station to the Rialto Bridge in Venice there stands a peculiar neo-Gothic building with t...

View

Treviso: Villa Condulmer in Mogliano Veneto and Giuseppe Verdi

villa-condulmer
Big Names

Giuseppe Verdi is one of the most famous musicians of the 19th century... Even those who are not Opera experts recognise the arias of h...

View

Padua: The Anatomical Theatre at the University of Padua

teatro-anatomico-padova
Unknown places & works

The University of Padua, founded in 1222, is one of the most important symbols of culture in Italy... There are lots of places to disco...

View

Venice: The underwater Nativity set in the Venice lagoon

presepe-sommerso
Unknown places & works

On 26 January 1961 the Croatian Wrmac merchant ship sank off the island of Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, about 3 miles outside the harbo...

View

Top posts

Vicenza: The scenography of the Teatro Olimpico (‘Olympic theatre’)

olimpico-scenografia
Historical Curiosities

Vicenza is the city of Andrea Palladio (1508- 1580), one of the greatest architects of all time, especially as his classicism influence...

View

Padua: The ghosts in the Castle of Monselice

castello-monselice
Mysteries & Legends

Monselice is a splendid medieval town located on the hills south of Padova, offering stunning views on the surrounding landscape. The m...

View

Venice: The Othello by Orson Welles and the Bovolo stairs in Venice

Otello
Film Locations

Since the beginning of the seventh art, Venice has been chosen by many directors as a backdrop for movies, some have even made the hist...

View

Venice: The Garden of Eden on the Giudecca Island in Venice

giardino-eden-venezia
Unknown places & works

Behind the male prison on the Giudecca Island, there is a secret hidden garden, concealed from sight and with an intriguing name: the G...

View