San Marco is a minor basilica in Rome dedicated to St. Mark the Evangelist. 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.
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.
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.
In the portico are several early Christian grave stones, as well as the gravestone of Vannozza dei Cattanei, the mistress of Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia.References:
Claude Monet lived for forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926, in Giverny. With a passion for gardening as well as for colours, he conceived both his flower garden and water garden as true works of art. Walking through his house and gardens, visitors can still feel the atmosphere which reigned at the home of the Master of Impressionnism and marvel at the floral compositions and nymphéas, his greatest sources of inspiration.
In 1890 Monet had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, famous for its rectangular Clos normand, with archways of climbing plants entwined around colored shrubs, and the water garden, formed by a tributary to the Epte, with the Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias and the azaleas.
Today the Monet's Garden is open to the public.