Of course history aside, the basilica itself is truly a sight to behold both inside and out, with its trademark domes and golden mosaics dominating the eastern edge of its namesake square. Dating from the end of the 11th century, its current form follows the layout of a Greek cross and is based on the Church of the Holy Apostle in Istanbul. The ceilings are covered with an astonishing 8000 square metres of gold mosaics, while the most impressive single work is the high altarpiece (the so-called Pala d'Oro or Golden Cloth), which depicts the story of St Mark and is encrusted with nearly 2000 precious gems. All things considered, it's not hard to see why it's nickname is the Church of Gold.
Open 09:45-17:00, Sun and holidays 14:00-16:00, Bell Tower open 09:00-15:45 in winter, 09:00-19:00 in Oct and spring, 09:00-21:00 in summer.