St Mark's Basilica is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. It is the most famous city's temple and one of the best-known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. It lies at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace. For its opulent design, gold ground mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (Golden Church).
With an abundance of domes and over 8000 sq meters of luminous mosaics, Venice's cathedral is an unforgettable spectacle; founded in the 9th century to house the corpse of St Mark after sneaky Venetian merchants smuggled it out of Egypt in a barrel of pork fat. When the original building burnt down in 932 Venice rebuilt the basilica in its cosmopolitan image, with Byzantine domes, a Greek cross design and walls clad in marbles from Syria, Egypt, and Palestine. Blinking is to be expected upon your first sight of the basilica's shining ceiling mosaics, made with 24-carat gold leaf blended onto the back of the glass to represent divine light.