San Marco Evangelista al Campidoglio, Rome

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Basilica of St. Marco
Basilica di San Marco Evangelista al Campidoglio
Basilica di San Marco (Roma) - facciata.jpg
Façade of the basilica. To the right, Palazzo Venezia, the former embassy of the Republic of Venice, whose protector was St. Mark
Basic information
Location  Italy Rome, Italy
Geographic coordinates Coordinates: 41°53′45″N 12°28′53″E / 41.895724°N 12.481448°E / 41.895724; 12.481448
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Year consecrated 324
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Minor basilica Titular, National church in Rome of Venice
Website Official Website
Architectural description
Architect(s) Leon Battista Alberti (façade)
Architectural type Basilica
Architectural style Renaissance, Baroque
Groundbreaking 4th century
Completed 1470

San Marco is a minor basilica in Rome dedicated to St. Mark the Evangelist located in the small Piazza di San Marco adjoining Piazza Venezia. It was first built in 336 by Pope Mark, whose remains are in an urn located below the main altar. The basilica is the national church of Venice in Rome.


In 336, Pope Mark built a church devoted to one of the Evangelists, his name bearer St. Mark, in a place called ad Pallacinas. The church is thus recorded as Titulus Marci in the 499 synod of Pope Symmachus. [At that time it became one of the stational churches of the city (Monday of the third week in Lent)].

After a restoration in 792 by Pope Adrian I, the church was rebuilt by Pope Gregory IV in 833. Besides the addition of a Romanesque bell tower in 1154, the major change in the architecture of the church was ordered by Pope Paul II in 1465-70, when the façade of the church was restyled according to the Renaissance taste with a portico and loggia, using marbles taken from the Colosseum and the Theatre of Marcellus. The façade is attributed to Leon Battista Alberti. Paul II being a Venetian by birth, assigned the church to the Venetian people living in Rome.

The last major reworking of the basilica was started in 1654-57 and completed by Cardinal Angelo Maria Quirini in 1735-50. With these restorations, the church received its current Baroque decoration.

Madama Lucrezia is one of the "talking statues" of Rome, and is located next to the basilica entrance. It was once the bust of a statue of the goddess Isis, to whom a temple was dedicated in Rome not far from its current location.


The floor of the church is below the Renaissance period ground level, and steps lead down to the interior, which retains its ancient basilica format, with a raised sanctuary. The inside of the church is clearly Baroque. However, the basilica shows noteworthy elements of all her millenary history:

In the portico are several early Christian grave stones, as well as the gravestone of Vannozza dei Cattanei, the mistress of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia.

Cardinal priests since 1846[edit]


  • Roma, collection "L'Italia", Touring Editore, 2004, Milano.
  • Macadam, Alta. Blue Guide Rome. A & C Black, London (1994), ISBN 07136-3939-3

See also[edit]