In the heart of Venice lies an architectural gem of unparalleled beauty: the Byzantine Basilica di San Marco, and one of the most spellbinding experiences that you can have in Venice is a private night-time visit to the basilica behind closed doors, when it enjoys a respite from the hordes of tourists. As you are accompanied by the single voice of your guide while they narrate its history, for a brief moment it is transformed back into a magical stage that straddles East and West.
The Basilica provides a stunning insight into the 1000-year history of the Republic of Venice, known as the Serenissima. The visit begins with a walk outside, before you enter through the atrium that leads to the imposing central nave where visitors are welcomed by complete darkness. It is here that the real magic begins as, all of a sudden, the lights start winking on, one by one, slowly, starting from the high altar, with the orchestrated rhythm of scene from a theatre performance, ultimately revealing over 8000 square metres of golden mosaics that bathe the spectator in a golden glow which quite literally takes your breath away. Reservations can be made through private agencies.