Publication date : Nov 2012 (version 1.0)
Length : 77 pages
Travel guidebooks for the ultra curious, Approach Guides reveal a destination’s essence by exploring a compelling aspect of its cultural heritage: art, architecture, history, food, or wine.
Before Venice could establish itself as a maritime trading power, it had to find a way to preserve its independence in a world dominated by two massive empires: the Holy Roman Empire in the West and the Byzantine Empire in East. The capture of St. Mark’s relics — and the subsequent construction of a grand basilica to house them — was a brilliant solution given the tight linkage between religion and politics in the Middle Ages. With one bold move, Venice had acquired the prestige it required to prosper without interference.
As the source of the Venetian Republic’s legitimacy, St. Mark’s Basilica increasingly became the symbol of its accrued economic, political, and military strength. Perhaps no other single monument better embodies the city in which it stands.
In this guidebook, we explore this iconic church — Venice in a microcosm — from a number of perspectives.
- History. We explain why the securing of St. Mark’s relics was of fundamental importance to Venice’s political independence and how it influenced the design of the basilica.
- Architectural evolution. The current church is the third to sit on the site. We cover how the church’s architectural arrangement — based on the 6th century Byzantine Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople — evolved over the ages and review its distinctive features.
- Mosaics. The church’s Byzantine-inspired mosaics are unrivaled. We discuss their history, their organization in the church, the message they were intended to communicate to the faithful, and the defining characteristics of the prevailing styles.
- Tour of the highlights. Finally, we take you on a tour of the church, walking step-by-step through architectural and artistic highlights. All of our descriptions reference high quality images.
- Tips. And along the way, this guide provides tips — based on our personal experiences — and links to critical online information.
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