The church of San Marco Evangelista al Campidoglio was first built in 336 by Pope Mark (r. 336), making it the first place of public Christian worship in the heart of Rome.
San Marco, which is the national church of Venice, has been subsequently restored and rebuilt on several occasions. The last major reworking was completed by Cardinal Angelo Maria Quirini between 1735 and 1750.
The beautiful mosaics in the apse were added by Gregory IV (r. 827-44) and depict the pope, sporting the rectangular halo of a living person and holding a model of the church, in the presence of St Mark the Evangelist, St Pope Mark and other saints.
The wooden ceiling, bearing the coat of arms of Pope Paul II (r. 1464-1471), is one of only two 15th century wooden ceilings in a Roman church (the other is at Santa Maria Maggiore).
Embedded into the right wall of the portico of the church is the tomb slab of Vanozza Cattanei, mistress of Cardinal Borgia, later Pope Alexander VI, to whom she bore four children, including Cesare and Lucrezia.
The charming image (1464) of St Mark (and lion), above the entrance to San Marco, is the work of the sculptor Isaia da Pisa (1410-64).
Blogging about Rome:
its art, history and culture.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
small-group walking tours
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