St Mark’s Museum
The Museo di San Marco reopened to the public in 2003. It has been modified by enlarging museum space in the atrium above St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s former dining room.
The museum centres on three large aspects of St. Mark’s Patrimony: mosaics, fabrics, the four bronze horses and ancient relics.
The four horses, once displayed on the outside balcony on the façade of St Mark’s basilica were moved into the Marciano Museum in 1982. Other objects of art went under restoration during the 80s and 90s. Both these things made a revision of exhibition space a necessity and was begun in 1986.
The Museum of St Mark’s became the new display space but not only. It is designed also to be an instructive display to understand the spiritual, cultural and material patrimony that the Basilica holds. The museum is divided into the themes above descrive. The ancient relics are, in more detail, the symbols of power held by the Doges and a synthesis of the ideology held by the forces that ruled the Serenissima.
The mosaics are displayed and explained from the techniques employed in creating them to fragments left over from a few scenes from the Baptistry. Included is a display on St. Mark’s ancient mosaics.
The exhibition space spreads above the atrium. The structure is in brick with arches that support the domes following the lines of the Basilica. An accurate research has permitted the individuation of closed spaces through which a passage can be traced between the rooms.
The latter are placed above the atrium and the so-called Sala dei Banchetti (Banqueting Hall), which was once linked to the Doge’s private apartments through an aerial passage hidden behind the church’s apses.
This room was successively englobed into the new patriarchal palace and in 1991 given to the so-called Museo Marciano by patriarch Marco Cè.
This space preserves all the works which need to be kept in conditioned places. The core is made up of a precious collection of ancient soft goods from the church.
At the centre, we find Paolo Veneziano’s altar piece, masterpiece from the XIV century, besides to a board representing Our Lady ‘of the Milk’ (XIII-XIV century) and that one of Maffeo Verona (XVII century), which is the covering of the Pala d’oro and one amongst the rare examples of painting which are to be found in the basilica.
Here, coral books can also be found, from the V and VI century, decorated with miniatures, and standing as documents of the ancient liturgical and musical tradition of the basilica, notwithstanding their use as liturgical decoration objects.
The route is concluded by the 1700’s decoration of the Banqueting Hall, which displays frescoes by Jacopo Guarana, rococo style arrangements by Francesco Zanchi, and Bernardino Maccaruzzi’s plasters, which were actually manufactured by Francesco Re.
The room is dominated by the big winged lion which symbolizes St. Mark. This was done to seal the saint’s belonging to the dogal tradition.
The Ongania room is where Ferdinando Ongania’s original water-colour paintings, executed for the realization of the basilica are. The painter was also one of the most famous editors of his time i.e. the end of the eighties of the XIX century.
From the terrace, one can admire the Piazza, the Palazzo Ducale, the dock and, on the other side of the lagoon, Saint George’s Island, ancient heart of the city and state.
Museo di San Marco (Museum of St Mark)
Address: San Marco 328
Entrance: full price 4 € , reduced 2 € only for groups over 15 people
Opening times: every day 9.45-4.45
Facilities: dress must be suitable for entrance to a religious building, visitors are obliged to leave bags and voluminous objects in the Ateneo San Basso (Piazzetta dei Leoncini – in front of the Porta dei Fiori, northern façade of the Basilica); photographs and videos are not allowed, voice over explanations are only allowed with the use of ear phones.
Disabled visitors: can phone 041 2708311 to organise entrance to the museum.
Telephone: 041 2708311
Fax: 041 2708334