San Marco’s basement stands on the mud of Rivoalto’s island and the legends about Venice history.
While the resizing of eastern Roman’s Empire at the beginning of IX century, the Dodge Giustiniano Partcipazio thought necessary to update those traditions acquired from that culture, in order to build up the people spirit of belonging to the Republic of Venice.
The sunset of Byzantine influence, pushed Venice on the search for Its identity, starting from the patron of the city.
St.Mark, already venerated by the population, perfectly matched this role, mirroring Venecian’s values and devotion.
Sounds like a legend, for some aspects, the story about the smuggle of San Marco’s body by Bruno Malamocco and his partner Rustico in Alexandria.
It seems the two, during the 828, disobeying the rule imposing a trade embargo against Saracens, landed with their ships in Alexandria and, with the complicity of the greek guardians, wrapped San Marco’s dead body in a pig skin hiding It from the islamic guards surveilling the harbor.
Despite of the storms hitting the ships on the way back, St.Mark protected the sailors who landed triumphally in Venice where the Dodge and the population were waiting to start the celebrations.
Looking at San Marco basilica facade, you will easily find the 9 mosaics devided into two levels.
The lower, in correspondance of the doors, shows from the right side the smuggle of San Marco’s body (the first two mosaics); the Universal Judgement (the central mosaic), San Marco’s veneration and the Basilica (the last two mosaics on the left side).
The higher level hosts four more mosaics representing scenes of Jesus life: the cross deposition, the descent to limbo, the resurrection and ascension.
Together with the sacred elements, San Marco’s facade reminds us that the temple wasn’t exclusively a church; Justice and Prudence frequently apperar sculpted, could you find them?
The inside of San Marco, hosts an immeasurable heritage of Art made of sculpture, paintings and wood-crafts harmoniously completing the incredible structure projected more than one thousand years.