This spectacular Venice landmark glimmers inside and out.
St Mark’s basilica (basilica di San Marco) was built in the 11th century and embellished constantly until the 16th. With its exotic domes and its interiors covered with acres – quite literally – of glimmering mosaics, it is one of the world’s most breathtaking churches.
A visit during the day allows you to appreciate the size and splendour of the church. But for the full-on spiritual experience of St Mark's as a place of worship, I occasionally drag myself out of bed to attend 7am or 8am mass (daily; entrance from Piazzetta dei Leoni). Best of all are the sung masses (check the website for times) which fill the basilica's mosaic-covered domes with heavenly sounds.
Though the basilica is free, entry fees are charged for various side-bar attractions such as the Chancel and Treasury. My favourite St Mark's 'extra' is the Museo marciano (www.museosanmarco.it) which gives access to the upper loggia with its magnificent view over the piazza; inside are the original four bronze horses (the ones outside are modern copies).