St. Mark's Basilica

Old Sep 16th, 2002, 12:11 AM
  #1  
Heather
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St. Mark's Basilica

Hi! I would like to reserve a time to visit the basilica but noticed that the reservation site provides only 10 minutes per visit! Sure they jest? Do they hold you to this? What have others experienced? Thanks for taking the time to answer.
 
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 02:31 AM
  #2  
Kay
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If you can only get 10 minutes I'd grab it! We were there in March and the queue to get into the Basilica stretched almost the entire length of the piazza (hundreds of people). We stood at the front just to see how quickly it was moving before we joined the end of the queue and it wasn't moving at all. In the end we gave up (it was our second trip to Venice so I wasn't too upset). 10 mins is better than nothing.
Kay
 
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 05:08 AM
  #3  
Jim
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Unless you are totally adverse to attending a Catholic service, I suggest going to Sunday morning Mass at San Marco. My wife and I (both Catholic) went to mass at 9AM on the Sunday that we were there. We entered through a door beneath the scaffolding on the left side of the basilica, told the doorman that we were there for mass (in Italian)and he welcomed us in. The mass was only partially full and we got to wander around for a little while before the 10AM mass started.
 
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 06:33 AM
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Sally
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Actually, I think there is a Mass there every morning. Check the times with your hotel. It is lovely to see a mass celebrated there, and as Jim said very easy to enter by the side door with no line or waiting. Just tell the guard that you are going to Mass and quietly go in and sit down. If you are familar with an English Mass or Communion service, it will be easy to follow the service in Italian using the bulletin.

One year on November 1, we went to the All Saints service, and the Palo Doro screen was turned around so we could see the gold jeweled side while we were seated in the cathedral, and all the candles and red lights were lighted. It was a memorable sight along with all the beautiful music.
 
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 09:52 AM
  #5  
Anne
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Heather, I would assume that the 10 minute time frame is the time you can get in the door, not the entire time they allow you to visit. That is the way reservation systems usually works. It keeps the flow of people moving, so that not everyone is trying to get in the door at the same time.

I leave for Venice in a few weeks... could you post that website? I was not aware that you could get reservations (although I don't anticipate long lines in October).

Thanks,
Anne
 
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 10:15 AM
  #6  
Kathleen
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I agree with the previous poster on the 10 minute time frame. I have visited the basilica several times and have never felt particularly hurried, although I'd love to be there sometime without the crowds. And I have stood in the lines reaching across the piazza - doesn't move too slowly.

A suggestion. Once inside the door look to your right and note the small stone staircase (with an illustrated poster) leading up to gallery with the original horses from the facade. Don't miss this. You will pay a small fee but you'll see the magnificent horses up close, as well as some other artifacts, get a close-up view of some of the mosaics, a broad view of the basilica interior, and a chance to go out on the balcony overlooking St. Marks.

You can go up to the gallery before or after you walk through the basilica.
 
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 09:09 PM
  #7  
Heather
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Thanks for the feedback. Here's the website for making reservations: www.alata.it. Click bookings and you'll find it -- you'll also notice that they specifically say that visits are to last 10 minutes only!
 
Old Sep 17th, 2002, 10:07 AM
  #8  
Pam
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Hi! I tried to book a time for October, but it appeared to all be blocked out for that month. Has anyone else successfully booked a time in October? Could it be that the booking calenadar hasn't been updated to October yet? September did provide open times.
Heather, were you booking October? Thanks all, Pam
 
Old Sep 17th, 2002, 10:25 AM
  #9  
Anne
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Heather, thanks for the site. You are right! Amazingly enough, this site says that you can only visit the basilica for 10 minutes...that's just plain crazy!

From everything else I have read, you can just go stand in line and get in. Take the time you need. They have audio guides available for rent.

At least this site doesn't charge for booking, but I have to wonder if the "reservations" are worth anything!

Thanks for the info, and I'll post my experience when I get back!

Anne
 
Old Sep 17th, 2002, 01:34 PM
  #10  
elaine
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The place is huge, ten minutes won't really accomplish anything except a "seen it,done it."
The Pala d'Oro and the upstairs loggia mentioned above are two more reasons why you'll need more time. The ten minutes can't possibly include that.

To avoid the line, I strongly agree with the suggestion above to attend early morning mass. I am not Catholic, but the chanting was beautiful, you can gaze at your gorgeous surroundings while you are in the chapel area, and when it is over you are already inside to walk around before the tourists come in. Remember that you have to be dressed "modestly."
 
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