San Marco Evangelista al Campidoglio, Rome

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.

San Marco Evangelista Basilica
Basilica di San Marco Evangelista al Campidoglio  (Italian)
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
41°53′44.6″N 12°28′53.2″E / 41.895722°N 12.481444°E / 41.895722; 12.481444Coordinates: 41°53′44.6″N 12°28′53.2″E / 41.895722°N 12.481444°E / 41.895722; 12.481444
LocationRome, Italy
DenominationRoman Catholic
ConsecratedAD 324
Architect(s)Leon Battista Alberti (façade)
Architectural typeBasilica
StyleRenaissance, Baroque
Groundbreaking4th century
Cardinal protectorAngelo De Donatis


In 336, Pope Mark built a church devoted to one of the Evangelists, his patron saint, 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 ground level of the Renaissance period, and therefore steps lead down to the interior. The church 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 earlier history:

  • the apse mosaics, dating to Pope Gregory IV (827-844), show the Pope, with the squared halo of a living person, offering a model of the church to Christ, in the presence of Mark the Evangelist, Pope Saint Mark and other saints;
  • the wooden ceiling, with the emblem of Pope Paul II (1464-1471), is one of only two original 15th-century wooden ceilings in Rome, together with the one at Santa Maria Maggiore;
  • Cardinal Angelo Maria Quirini (Cardinal Priest of S. Marco 1728–1743) restored the Choir, renewed the pavement of the Chapel of the Sacrament, and rebuilt the high altar.[1]
  • the tomb of Leonardo Pesaro of Venice, aged 16, by Antonio Canova (1796).[2]

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 of S. MarcoEdit

11th-12th centuriesEdit

13th-14th centuriesEdit

15th centuryEdit

16th centuryEdit

17th centuryEdit

18th centuryEdit

19th centuryEdit

20th centuryEdit

Cardinal ProtectorsEdit


  1. ^ Forcella, p. 343.
  2. ^ Forcella, p. 368, no. 877.
  3. ^ He was a cardinal-deacon, and S. Marco was a deaconry pro hac vice.


  • Darko Senekovic, S. Marco, in: D. Mondini, C. Jäggi, P. C. Claussen, Die Kirchen der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter 1050–1300, Band 4 (M-O), Stuttgart 2020, pp. 47–68.
  • Roma, collection "L'Italia", Touring Editore, 2004, Milano.
  • Macadam, Alta. Blue Guide Rome. A & C Black, London (1994), ISBN 07136-3939-3
  • Domenico Bartolini, La sotterranea confessione della romana basilica di S. Marco (Roma: Crispino Peccinelli 1844).
  • Vincenzo Forcella, Le inscrizioni delle chiese e d' altri edifice di Roma Volume IV. (Roma: Fratelli Bencini 1874), pp. 341–376.
  • Mariano Armellini, Le chiese di Roma, dalle loro origine sino al secolo XVI (Roma: Editrice Romana 1887), pp. 327–329.
  • Barbara Zenker, Die Mitglieder des Kardinalkollegiums von 1130 bis 1159 (Wurzburg 1964), pp. 82–88.
  • Rudolf Hüls, Kardinäle, Klerus und Kirchen Roms, 1049-1130 (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer 1977), pp. 185–187.
  • Werner Malaczek, Papst und Kardinalskolleg von 1191 bis 1216 (Vienna: Österreichische Kulturinstitut im Rom, 1984) [Abhandlungen, 6].

See alsoEdit