Piazzas in Italy: Piazza san Marco, Venice

2 minutes to read

Along with the baroque beauty of the Piazza del Duomo in Lecce, the scandalous Piazza Pretoria in Palermo, the hidden Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano, and the renaissance one called Piazza Del Popolo, Ascoli Piceno, I would like to present to you, probably one of the most famous piazzas in Italy, the Piazza San Marco in Venice.

Napoleon said that this spot was the "painter’s atelier of Europe" and today it’s one of the most crowded city spots and the only piazza in Venice - since in this case, the other public spaces are called Campos. Besides the tourists, the piazza is a very frequently visited place by the pigeons, and in fact a common/representative scene is a guy in the middle of it feeding the birds. The square dates back to the 9th century, when it was formed as a small area around the Basilica San Marco. It was expanded during the year 1177 and nowadays it forms an area with a length of 176 m and a width between 62 m and 82 m.

© Photo: Ingo Mehling

The most dominant buildings that surround the square are the Palazzo ducale, the church of San Marco, the Torre dell'orologio, the St Mark's Campanile and the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.

© Photo:Jakub Hałun

The Palazzo Ducale's row of columns that is facing the library has two different pink-colored columns among all the whites. This was the place from where the doge used to announce the death sentences. It is believed that walking between these two columns can bring you bad luck.

The first “version” of the church of San Marco was neither decorated, nor painted. Today's look was reached at the early 17th century and it took less than two centuries for this object to be used as a cathedral church. The object has been also often referred to as a "golden church".

In 2017, you could get something like a limited edition of the 2 euro coin with the San Marco basilica on it. This was in the name of the 400th anniversary of the completion of the church. 1,5 million coins have been distributed.

Even if you are trying to avoid highly touristic places, -as this one is one of those- don't miss out on visiting one of the most beautiful places on earth. Think..there is obviously a reason why it is so popular.

Cover picture: Canaletto's painting of 1723

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The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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