Pick up: Audioguide Desk Campanile di San Marco (Piazza San Marco) in the following hours:
- from middle March to the end of October: 09:30 - 16:30
- from November to middle March: 10:00 - 15:00
- closed on January
Closure without previous notice for masses, concerts and extraordinary events.
Available in 6 languages: English, Italian, French, German, Spanish and Russian.
Duration: 1 day rental.
Audioguide 2 sites: Saint Mark's Basilica and Bell Tower
The ancient meeting point between East and West, Saint Mark's Basilica is Venice's crown jewel. History, mysticism, and faith converge in the great monument. The architectural ground plan is based on the Greek cross, with each of the arms topped by a dome, and a fifth one above the central crossing point. It is a prime example of Byzantine style, and the gold, bronze, and stone mosaics are truly spectacular.
Today's edifice represents the third version of the church, built to house the remains of Saint Mark, which were cleverly stolen from Alexandria. The Basilica stands in the Saint Mark’s square next to the Doge's Palace.
Originally the private chapel of the Doge, it replaced the Cathedral of San Pietro in Castello at the eastern end of Venice as the seat for Venice's Patriarch and the city's main church in 1807. It is home to treasures from many different and distant places brought by Venetian merchants as a tribute to the patron saint of the city.
Saint Mark's Bell Tower is nearly 100 meters (323 feet) high and topped with a unique weathervane – the gilded statue of the Archangel Gabriel whose large wings are pushed by the winds. The Venetians say that when the angel is facing the Basilica it is a sign that there will be high water (acqua alta).
The original tower collapsed suddenly in 1902, leaving the city without its dearest symbol. The Venetians decided to rebuild it immediately, "as it was and where it was", completing the work in 1912.
The Bell Tower of San Marco is one of the very best spots to see Venice from above. On a clear day you will see the many islands of the lagoon, and even the Alps in the distance!