Piazza San Marco or St. Mark’s Square is the main square in the city of Venice. It is probably one of the most photographed squares in Europe, and it is easy to see why. Here are some of our top facts about Piazza San Marco.
Piazza San Marco or St. Mark’s Square is in the heart of Venice. You will regularly find signs pointing you in its direction all over the city. If you are in Venice, the easiest way to get there is to hop on the Vaporetto as the square is very close to the waterfront.
Piazza San Marco is next to the waterfront of the lagoon. Right in the centre of Venice, you can’t miss it!
The square is beautiful. It is one of the most magnificent public squares in the world. Everyone usually agrees on that. Day or night, summer or winter, it is an enchanting space. Even better, there are no cars, so it is a wonderful place to enjoy.
You can often hear orchestras playing on the square in the evenings. The ambience is wonderful.
Allegedly, Napoleon once referred to it as ‘The Drawing Room of Europe’. During his time he contributed to the square by building the final part to it – the ‘final wing’ opposite the Basilica. We think that Napoleon used this phrase because it was a wonderful place to sit and enjoy.
The original square dates back to 900AD, although the present version is much larger than the original.
St Mark’s Square is usually close to the top of visitors’ itineraries because of the glorious architecture on every side.
The wonderful buildings that surround the square may have influenced Napoleon’s infamous drawing room comment. For instance, there’s the Basilica San Marco, the Campanile (bell tower), Doges Palace, which was once the administrative centre of the city. The square is also lined with arcades of shops and cafes – including the Caffè Florian, which has been serving drinks since the 1720s.
St Mark’s Square is only slightly above sea level so it can flood. This is quite normal and the city is accustomed to it. When this happens it is called Aqua Alta, which means ‘high water’ and usually means there’s been a high tide, or the wind is blowing in from the Adriatic. Temporary walkways are put in place to make sure you aren’t hindered.
There is so much to see in St Park’s Square. I’d recommend you give yourself enough time to really take it all in. Perhaps do a tour so that you can get a local expert’s help to learn about the square and investigate the buildings that line it. Then, perhaps come back later in the day to be present at a quieter time – that way you can spend time marvelling at what you’ve just seen.
St Mark’s Square is flanked by two columns (pictured), representing the patron saints of Venice – St Mark (his symbol was the winged lion) and St Theodore.
For more information on tours of St Mark’s Square - including a gondola ride and visit to Saint Mark's Basilica - visit www.veniceincoming.com We are experts in tours of Venice and offer a number of tours that show the best of our wonderful city – including St Mark’s Square. We would love to show you around.
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