The Basilica di San Marco, known also as the Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, or simply Saint Mark's Basilica, is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture.
The basilica was such a symbol of opulence and power that it was often referred to as the Chiesa d'Oro, "Church of Gold".
Saint Mark's Basilica was first built in 828 to house supposed relics from St. Mark stolen from Alexandria. The present Byzantine-style basilica was constructed in 1063.
Many of the decorations were brought back from the Crusades or given as gifts from wealthy merchants. The church was considered the Doge's personal chapel; a passageway inside connects to the Palazzo Ducale next door.
During the Renaissance, public executions were carried out in the Piazza San Marco.