St. Mark’s Square is so famous that it does not need yet another presentation. A collection of religious, cultural, historical symbols, and a symbol in itself, this square is the dream of millions of tourists who are preparing for the road. Whoever you ask about Venice, or even better about the most important place in Venice, well, that person would give you one answer: Piazza San Marco.
By the 9th century, St. Mark’s Square was just a small free area in front of the St. Mark’s Basilica. It was to be enlarged to the present form only in 1177, when the two canals that interrupted it were filled. This change was made with the occasion of the visit of Pope Alexander III and Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, who met in Venice to sign a truce.
In 1797, Venice was under French occupation, and the Procuratie Nuove building in San Marco Square became the residence of the Emperor Napoleon and his stepfather, Eugene de Beauharnais. Napoleon built a new wing, called Ala Napoleonica, facing towards Basilica di San Marco.
The square was paved for the first time in the second part of the 12th century, and the pavements were changed six centuries later, in 1723. The design was the work of the architect Andrea Tirali. The pavement will be restored in 1890, keeping the model used by Tirali.
Piazza San Marco brings together invaluable buildings, such as the Doge’s Palace, the St Mark’s Basilica with its impressive architecture, the Clock Tower (Torre dell’Orologio), the Sansovino National Library, the Procuratie wings, home to the Correr Museum, and last but not least, the St. Mark’s Bell Tower (Campanile di San Marco), where Venice can be seen from above.
HOW TO GET THERE
If you want to get on foot from anywhere in the city to Piazza San Marco, watch the arrows marked on the walls with “per San Marco”.
To get to San Marco on water, with a vaporetto, use either ACTV Line 1 or ACTV Line 2 to San Marco Vallaresso, or any of ACTV Line 1, ACTV Line 2, ACTV Line 4.1, ACTV Line 4.2, ACTV Line 5.1, ACTV Line 5.2 to San Zaccaria Station.