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It’s impossible not to feel awe-struck as you stand beneath the glowing, golden mosaics on the ceilings and walls of St Mark’s Basilica. For many tourists, seeing St Mark’s mosaics in-person is the highlight of their Venetian journey. Below are a few fascinating facts to help you better appreciate your time with these masterful mosaics.

1. One of the most impressive features of St. Mark’s mosaics is their massive size. It’s estimated these mosaics take up about 8,000 square meters of space. To help give you perspective, that’s equivalent to almost 2 US football fields.

2. When you enter the basilica, take a look at the mosaic directly over the left door. This mosaic, which dates back to the 13th century, depicts the adventures of a group of Venetians who stole St. Mark’s body from Egypt in the 9th century. Do you know how these Venetians got St. Mark’s body past the Muslim guards? They hid the body under pork!

3. Due to restoration work throughout the centuries, there are mosaics in St. Mark’s Basilica that date as far back as the 11th century and as recent as the 19th century. Today, a group called the Procuratoria of St. Mark continues to oversee all restoration projects on these mosaics.

4. A constant concern for preservationists working at St. Mark’s Basilica is the threat of flooding. Indeed, in October of 2018 the city suffered a major flood that covered St. Mark’s floor mosaics with three feet of seawater. Venetian officials are worried about the corrosive effect of the salt water could seriously alter the precious art in St. Mark’s over time.

5. Staff at the Basilica San Marco turn on interior lighting late in the day to help visitors appreciate the superb artistry of these mosaics. Tourists who want to avoid the crowds and enjoy these illumined mosaics should plan on visiting St. Mark’s at nighttime.

6. In the 16th and 17th centuries, many of Italy’s finest painters were asked to create cartoon designs for mosaic restoration work. A few of the most famous artists who worked on this project include Veronese, Tintoretto, and Titian. Indeed, you can find mosaics based on the cartoons of Titian in the sacristy area.

7. All of the cupola mosaics in the atrium were completed in the 13th century and depict different scenes from the Old Testament. As you look up at these mosaics, check out the depictions of the story of Creation, Abraham, Joseph, and Moses.

8. Sorry, you aren’t allowed to snap selfies with the mosaics of St. Mark’s Cathedral behind you. The Basilica San Marco forbids the use of photography inside the church.

9. Tourists looking for one of the oldest mosaics in St. Mark’s Basilica should walk around the entrance at the narthex and look for a large image of St. Mark with his hands outstretched. This St. Mark is from the 16th century, but the depiction of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus and surrounding Apostles dates to the 11th century.

10. The techniques used to make Basilica San Marco’s oldest mosaics come from the 5th century BC in Ancient Greece. Interestingly, a few historians believe some of the earliest mosaics might have been completed in Constantinople before they were shipped to Venice.

Once you see the Basilica San Marco’s mosaics for yourself, you’ll understand why this church is called “The Golden Basilica.” Seeing St Mark s mosaics, as well as the many other treasures inside St. Mark’s Basilica, is an essential stop on any tour of Venice.

Small Group | max 6 people

St Mark’s Basilica Night Tour – Small Group | Access After Hours

Seeing the charming city of Venice by day is unforgettable; seeing it by night on LivItaly's Inside St Mark's at Night Tour is a once in a lifetime experience. On this tour you will learn who Saint Mark was, what historians know about him and how he came to be the patron saint of Venice. But most importantly, you will get to access to the inside o...

... 109€ 130.80$ 98.10£ 174.40$

For 1 adult all inclusive

Small Group | max 6 people

Various dates 90 mins

... 109€ 130.80$ 98.10£ 174.40$

For 1 adult all inclusive

The post Fun Facts About St Mark’s Mosaics in Venice appeared first on LivItaly Tours.

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Venice Carnival is a one of the biggest celebrations in Italy. Here are some fun facts that people might not know about Venice Carnival.

1. Venice Carnival lasts about two to three weeks long and is a final party before Ash Wednesday and Lent. It was first originated in the 11th century being celebrated 40 days before Easter.

2. The wearing of the Venetian mask was a way for people to hide their social status and identity and socialize with whoever they wanted to freely. It allowed people to interact with other people from different social standings without being judged.

3. The main events of the carnival are held at Piazza San Marco. The best carnival costume and the best carnival mask contests are taken place on a stage in this piazza. This is the best place to enjoy the festivities and see the most action of the people partaking in dressing up during the celebration.

4. Carnival means “farewell to meat” which is in relation to Catholics eating all the meat they could before the start of Lent. Partaking in the last days of eating meat is part of the celebration of the Venice Carnival. A famous Venice Carnival food tradition is the fritole which are sweet fritters that can be stuffed with cream and have powder sugar on top.

5. There are about 10 different types of Venetian masks. The most traditional mask is the Bauta style. Bauta appears in white and is a mask that was used throughout the whole year by people who wished to continue to hide their identity.

If these facts are not enough to fulfill your Venice Carnival needs attend the Carnival yourself one day. Fulfill your bucket list goals and take a trip to Venice during the month of February and take advantage of this fascinating celebration.

The post Five Venice Carnival Facts You Should Know appeared first on LivItaly Tours.

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Most people only envision Venice bathed in brilliant sunlight, but this city is equally stunning after the sun goes down, and there are plenty of things to do in Venice at night. Visitors who tour this magical city under the moon enjoy cooler weather, lovely lighting, and fewer crowds than during the day. Do yourself a favor and go on a tour of Venice after dark.

1. Experience St. Mark’s Basilica Alone at Night

Since St. Mark’s Basilica is the most popular attraction in Venice, it should come as no surprise that it’s also the most difficult building to get inside. It’s not uncommon for there to be an hour’s long wait outside St. Mark’s, especially in the spring and summer. If you want to have a more intimate experience of this beautiful basilica, then you should consider visiting later in the day.

On a night tour of St. Mark’s Basilica you’ll have the opportunity to see all the major artifacts without bumping into crowds of tourists. One special feature of visiting St. Mark’s at night is that you’ll see the chruch’s famous Byzantine mosaics illumined by interior lights. People who go on a nighttime tour of St. Mark’s Basilica also enjoy easy access to the bejeweled Pala d’Doro altarpiece and the burial crypt.

Small Group | max 6 people

St Mark’s Basilica Night Tour – Small Group | Access After Hours

Seeing the charming city of Venice by day is unforgettable; seeing it by night on LivItaly's Inside St Mark's at Night Tour is a once in a lifetime experience. On this tour you will learn who Saint Mark was, what historians know about him and how he came to be the patron saint of Venice. But most importantly, you will get to access to the inside o...

... 109€ 130.80$ 98.10£ 174.40$

For 1 adult all inclusive

Small Group | max 6 people

Various dates 90 mins

... 109€ 130.80$ 98.10£ 174.40$

For 1 adult all inclusive

2. Tour Venice’s Ghostly Haunts After Dark

One of the more popular things to do in Venice at night is to take a ghost tour…that is, unless you’re afraid. You’ll be shocked by all the spooky stories of haunted palaces, murders, and ghost sightings throughout this city. A popular stop on ghost tours is the Casino degli Spiriti, which is a building in the Cannaregio area. Many locals claim they’ve heard the cries of a 16th century painter named Luzzo from this building. It’s believed Luzzo committed suicide in the Casino due to an unrequited love.

Another location with history of paranormal activity is the Palazzo Grassi on the Grand Canal. According to legend, a girl jumped from this residence into the Grand Canal many years ago. Ever since that day, people who visit this home claim to hear voices calling out their names. These are just a few of the spine-tingling tales you’ll hear and experience first-hand on a nighttime tour of Venice.

Private

Venice Private Ghost Tour with Gondola

A Ghost Tour through Venice is an intriguing and spooky way to explore the city! Hear the stories by foot and in a gondola. This is your chance to follow this tour and learn about the darkest sides of the city of bridges. We will begin from the Erberie and scare you with a man’s story involving her wife’s head, to then continue on the Rialto ...

... 369€ 442.80$ 332.10£ 590.40$

Up to 2 adults all inclusive

Private

Every day at 7pm (5pm in low season) 2 hrs

... 369€ 442.80$ 332.10£ 590.40$

Up to 2 adults all inclusive

3. A Gondola Ride Under The Stars

For those more interested in a relaxing nighttime tour of Venice, why not take a gondola ride? Everyone who visits the “City of Canals” must take one gondola tour at some point, and there’s no more romantic way to explore this city than under moonlight. Definitely consider going on a nighttime gondola ride if you’re in Venice on honeymoon.

Private

Venice Private Evening Stroll with Gondola

The Venice Private Evening Stroll starts from the small, picturesque and intimate square of Campo San Giacometto. Here we will find the of the most ancient Churches of Venetian history, dating back to 421 AD, the Church of San Giacometto. Venetians, to this day, come to this area to buy fresh groceries at the nearby daily market, loc...

... 369€ 442.80$ 332.10£ 590.40$

Up to 2 adults all inclusive

Private

Every day at 7pm 2.5 hrs

... 369€ 442.80$ 332.10£ 590.40$

Up to 2 adults all inclusive

4. Explore the Beauty of Doge’s Palace at Night

Like nearby St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace is an extremely popular tourist draw in Venice. Once the residence of the most powerful man in the city, the Doge’s Palace is now a museum open to the public. Also like St. Mark’s Basilica, it’s a great idea to visit the Doge’s Palace at night and imagine. The ambiance is something so extraordinary that you may feel the presence of Casanova roaming the Venetian porticos.

Venice is magical any time of day, but there’s something extra special about this city at night. These are just a few of the many things to do in Venice at night that will take your breath away.

The post 4 Unique Things to do in Venice at Night appeared first on LivItaly Tours.

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As one of the countries with the most active volcanoes in Europe, Italy boasts many beautiful black sand beaches throughout the country. We have compiled a list of 5 black sand beaches in Italy that you didn’t know existed!

#1 Spiaggia Nere on Vulcano Island
This island just north of Sicily is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The beach is full of lively restaurants, bars, and activities with something for everyone. The black sand only adds to the beauty of this Italian beach.

#2 Spiaggia Lunga Beach on the Island of Stromboli
This gorgeous black beach on the Island of Stromboli is also located just north of Sicily. This island contains one of the three active volcanoes in Italy!

#3 Spiaggia Grande in Positano
This jaw-dropping view is of Spiaggia Grande in the village of Positano. It is nestled along the Amalfi Coast and is often renowned as one of the most beautiful towns to visit in Italy. With the panoramic views of the colorful buildings and cliffs, you can’t go wrong visiting this gem of a beach.

#4 Salina Isola, Sicily

Due to the island’s volcanic origins, most of the beaches on the island of Salina are covered in beautiful black sand. Salina is a great place to escape the large crowds of the more popular tourist beaches and enjoy a nice beach day in the Mediterranean sun.

#5 Ladispoli
Located 35 km west of Rome, Ladispoli is a beautiful region on the Mediterranean Sea with gorgeous black sand beaches. There are multiple black sand beaches in this area, such as Papeete and Marina di San Nicola. This area is one of the most popular beaches in the Lazio region for locals and tourists alike.

Private

Amalfi Coast Private Boat Excursion

Visit the Amalfi Coast in style with our Amalfi Coast Private Boat Excursion. Designed for families, group of friends, or romantic couples, our gorgeous private boats will take you on a cruise down one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. This all inclusive experience lets you lay back and relax in the sun while your...

... 949€ 1138.80$ 854.10£ 1518.40$

Up to 6 adults all inclusive

Private

Every day at 9am 7 hrs

... 949€ 1138.80$ 854.10£ 1518.40$

Up to 6 adults all inclusive

The post 5 Italian Black Sand Beaches in Italy You Didn’t Know Existed appeared first on LivItaly Tours.

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