The Basilica of St. Mark (San Marco) in Venice, Italy has stood since 829 in the time of Doge Giustiniano Partecipazio who had it built to hold the remains of the Evangelist St. Mark who became the one patron of the city. It became the Basilica of St. Mark with its shape derived from the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles in Constantinople – one of the wonders of Byzantine architecture. It was destroyed by fire in 927 and rebuilt in the same architectural form that it has today by Doge Domenico Contarini between 1043-1071.
The Baptistery has stood since 1350 from the time of Doge Andrea Dandolo. In the middle is the great baptismal pool by Tiziano Minio, Desiderio da Firenze and Francesco Segala (1545); the latter made the statue of St. John the Baptist which was cast in 1575. On the right is the Venetian Gothic Art tomb of Andrea Dandolo.
The mosaic work on the walls, vaults and domes was by Venetian workmen in the 14th C and portrays episodes from the life of St. John the Baptist and the infant Jesus. On the end wall is the great Crucifixion with the portrait of Andrea Dandolo in the dome; and above the baptismal font is Jesus Christ who invites the Apostles to preach the glad tidings; and below; all around is the Apostles in the act of baptising people from various countries.
Due to its opulent design, gold ground mosaics, and status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, the Basilica has been known by the nickname Chiesa d’Oro (Church of gold).