No one shows off quite like Venice does. Just look at that ceiling in the Basilica of San Marco, the Byzantine church originally the chapel of the Doge and begun in the year 832. Layer upon layer of rich detail. All that glitter is mosaic tile, much of it glass backed by gold. But then again, they had a lot to prove. Not only was the city one of the wealthiest in the world, but the Church had to impress all those followers who couldn’t read and relied on the narratives to instruct them in the stories of the bible. Could they really see them that far up on the ceiling?