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Basilica of San Marco

Basilica of San Marco (53)

It was Pope Mark who founded this basilica in 336 AD and dedicated it to Saint Mark the Evangelist. The relics of Pope Mark are, in fact, buried under the church’s altar.

Much of the material used to build it comes from the Colosseum and the theatre of Marcellus. The basilica was, however, renovated and rebuilt on several occasions, although its Baroque interior has always been respected. The apse and the mosaics of Gregory IV were added in its first reconstruction, and the tomb of Leonardo Pesaro in the right nave is the work of Antonio Canova. 

The mosaic in the apse features an image of Jesus, escorted by angels, with his hand raised in a sign of blessing. To his left, Pope Gregory IV is holding a replica of the basilica.

From 1455 to 1471 Paul II made San Marcos the church of the Venetian community in Rome and carried out some significant renovation work. If you look at the gold-covered ceiling, you will see the image of a rampant lion, which was the Pope’s emblem.

The facade is believed to be the work of Leon Battista Alberti, although this is not certain, while the interiors were mainly by Filippo Barigioni.  

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