The centerpiece of all Venice is, undoubtedly, St Mark’s Basilica. It almost feels like a crime against humanity that before becoming open to the people, it served only as a private church for the Doge of Venice. After the end of the Venice Republic in 1807, the basilica became city’s Cathedral. Now though, the opulence of the Basilica’s Byzantine domes, gilded mosaic portals, and colored columns is out of this world. Inside awaits you a true feast for your eyes, a treasure trove of sparkling artistic treats. However, it’s not the only crafty creation. The floating city is also known for its crafty glass creation. So, when visiting Venice, a glass blowing demonstration is in order.
This delightful St Mark’s Basilica tour will allow you to skip the long line of tourists that forms outside the church on a daily basis. Once in, an expert guide will lead you through the cathedral, describing its history and artworks that decorate it. Furthermore, you will get to marvel the legendary jeweled altarpiece as well as access the basilica’s terrace. Here you will have the privilege to examine the four horses of Saint Mark also known as the Triumphal Quadriga. Most tours end here, but this adventure is not over yet!
After you have enjoyed the spectacular view, you will be escorted outside the church to a local Venetian glass workshop just stone’s throw away from St Mark’s Basilica. An experienced glass maker will take over and lead you on an excursion, explaining the intricate process of creating the famously colorful and elaborate Venetian glass. Better yet, you will get to observe a live glass-blowing demonstration. That’s not all. After the demonstration, you will get to enjoy a presentation of lucrative glass art in the factory showroom.
Though the admission to the St Mark’s Basilica is free, long lines of eager travelers hinder the experience with long queuing times. Plus, the free entry doesn’t include the visit to the magnificent altarpiece peppered with the most exquisite jewels nor the entry to the terrace.
Though the imposing gilded mosaics inside the basilica are breathtaking in themselves, the terrace area includes a museum with the four horses of Saint Mark.
The horses are Roman bronze statues originally part of a monument that depicted a quadriga - a four-horse carriage used in chariot racing. The horses decorated the facade of the Venetian basilica until Napoleon looted them in 1797. Today, the statues on the facade are just a faithful replica, the original resides in the rooftop museum.
After you get to see the architectural and artistic highlight of Venice that is St Mark’s Basilica, you will get to witness the highlight of all its crafts, the creation of Venetian glass. You will learn how it’s made and handled to create the stunning designs as well watch a glass blowing demonstration.
Venice boasts many stories and many such stories circle St Mark’s Basilica as well as the winding history of glassmaking. For instance, St Mark’s Basilica is rooted in an exciting tale of theft and smuggling. It was built to honor and protect the relics of Saint Mark. However, his original resting place was Alexandria. That is until two Venetian merchants smuggled it to Venice to protect it from whims of Muslim rulers.
Venetian glassmaking is also closely tied to the Venice’s trading with far Orient. As the trade grew, the skills these exotic lands started to flow to the floating city. Since glass-blowing was more an Oriental skill than a European, Venice gained a huge advantage against its biggest trading rival Genoa which focused on trading with European countries!
Interesting right? Do you want to know more? Book your St Mark’s Basilica Tour with Glass Blowing Demonstration today and make your visit to Venice memorable.