St. Mark’s Basilica, known to locals as the Basilica di San Marco, is the crowning jewel of the Piazza San Marco in Venice. The enormous church was completed in the 11th century, and it boasts more than 500 columns, several stunning domes and countless Byzantine mosaics that use gold extensively. Also of note are the bronze Horses of Saint Mark, which date back to antiquity and watch over the basilica’s entrances.
The exterior of the basilica is quite ornate and has been added to over the centuries. Historians note that whenever Venetian vessels returned from the Orient, they brought something for the basilica, be it a frieze, column, or something else from an ancient building elsewhere in the world.