Piazza San Marco, Venice

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  • antistar's Profile Photo

    Piazza San Marco

    by antistar Updated Nov 24, 2013

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    St Mark
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    This is the center piece of Venice. It is stunning, iconic and stacked high with history, art and architecture. Its delicately tiled surface is filled with as many pigeons as tourists, and they dive bomb you from the buildings that surround the square, encouraged by the idiots that feed them. I hope at the very least that feed they sell is dosed with a sterilizer to get those rats with wings under control.

    The square contains some of the world's most famous and recognisable buildings, including the Clock Tower which soars up over the square and offers outstanding views, if you are prepared to queue for hours to take a trip up in its curiously named SCAM lifts. The Basilica San Marco is even more impressive inside than it is outside, feeling like you've walked into a treasure trove rather than a church.

    The other great building is the Doge's Palace, home to the government of the republic and the duke himself. The tours of this extensive building are an absolute must for lovers of history, architecture or art. My personal favourite of the whole palace was the original maps painted in the time of Venice's great merchant past, showing a strange view of the world as it was seen back then.

    Attached to the palace are the tedious dungeons. These are worth a visit just so you can cross over the Bridge of Sighs, so named because the prisoners were said to sigh as they walked across it and viewed freedom for the last time. The bridge is a must see, but the dungeons are filled with artefacts like cat bones and tooth picks, and isn't really all that interesting.

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    Piazzetta San Marco, Part II

    by von.otter Written Nov 14, 2013
    Colonne di Piazzetta San Marco, Venice, May 2013
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    “So now, Heaven be praised, Venice is no longer to me a bare and a hollow name, which has so long tormented me, me, the mental enemy of mere verbal sounds.”
    — from a letter dated 17.September.1786, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

    Piazzetta San Marco is distinct from Piazza San Marco; but they border each other. The Piazzetta (little square) is smaller; it is bound by the piazza on the north, Bacino San Marco (the Bay of St. Mark) on the south, Palazzo Ducale on the east, and the Libreria which houses the Biblioteca Marciana, on the west. At the southern end of the Piazzetta, close to the water, are two, grey granite columns. Until 1281, when the Piazzetta was built out beyond the columns, they were even closer to the water.

    These two columns, Colonno di San Marco and Colonno di San Teodoro, were brought to Venice by Doge Michieli, in 1125 from the city of Tyre, in present-day Lebanon. They were set in place by Nicolo Barattieri, architect of the first Ponte Rialto, in 1172. As a sign of appreciation by the government of la Serenissima for what he had done, Barattieri was awarded the exclusive contract for gambling to be carried out at the foot of the two columns.

    Venetians believe it is bad luck to pass between the columns because, from the mid-18th century until the end of that same century, executions were carried out between the two columns. The space between the two columns was also the only place in the city where gambling was legal.

    The western column, Colonna di San Teodoro is devoted to Venice’s first Patron Saint, San Teodoro. The marble image of Our Saint was added the column in 1329. What we see today is a replica (the original being now showcased at the neighboring Doge’s Palace). St Theodore was a Greek warrior and the first patron saint of Venice. The sculptor depicts Our Saint hold a spear aside a crocodile, representing the dragon that he slew. When the body of San Marco were brought to Venice in AD 828 by two merchants from Alexandria, Egypt, the Evangelist and author of one of the Bible’s Gospels, bumped San Teodoro to second place Patron Saint.

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    Piazzetta San Marco, Part I

    by von.otter Written Nov 13, 2013
    Colonne di Piazzetta San Marco, Venice, May 2013
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    “And so the Winged Lion of St. Mark, with the open Bible under his paw, is a favorite emblem in the grand old city. It casts its shadow from the most ancient pillar in Venice, in the Grand Square of St. Mark, upon the throngs of free citizens below, and has so done for many a long century. The winged lion is found everywhere; and doubtless here where the winged lion is, no harm can come.”
    — from “Innocents Abroad” 1869 by Mark Twain (1835-1910)

    Piazzetta San Marco is distinct from Piazza San Marco; but they border each other. The Piazzetta (little square) is smaller; it is bound by the piazza on the north, Bacino San Marco (the Bay of St. Mark) on the south, Palazzo Ducale on the east, and the Libreria which houses the Biblioteca Marciana, on the west. At the southern end of the piazzetta, close to the water, are two, grey granite columns. Until 1281, when the Piazzetta was built out beyond the columns, they were even closer to the water.

    These two columns, Colonno di San Marco and Colonno di San Teodoro were brought to Venice by Doge Michieli, in 1125 from the city of Tyre, in present-day Lebanon. They were set in place by Nicolo Barattieri, architect of the first Ponte Rialto, in 1172. As a sign of appreciation by the government of la Serenissima for what he had done, Barattieri was awarded the exclusive contract for gambling to be carried out at the foot of the two columns.

    Venetians believe it is bad luck to pass between the columns because, from the mid-18th century until the end of that same century, executions were carried out between the two columns. The space between the two columns was also the only place in the city where gambling was legal.

    The eastern-most column, Colonna di San Marco is devoted to Venice’s most revered Patron Saint, San Marco. The attribute of Our Saint, the Winged Lion, was added in 1293. Saint Mark’s Lion is combination of sculptural elements. Made of bronze, the lion, initially gilded, was brought from Persia. Its wings were added by the Venetians, to give the figure the standard profile of the Saint Mark’s Winged Lion.

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    St. Mark's Square

    by shavy Updated Sep 7, 2013
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    The main square, the heart of the city, the square is named after the evangelist Mark, the patron saint of Venice. On the square you will find both the San Marco Basilica and the Doge's Palace, the Campanile, a brick bell tower of 98.5 meters is also be seen is apparently all-in one square, in day time the St. Mark's Square packed up with tourists, as dusk falls, is become quieter

    San Marco is where you'll find most of the luxury shops and hotels as well as most services geared to tourists. It can sometimes be difficult to find humbler shops selling things necessary for residents, which is another reason why Venetians like to grumble that tourists have ruined everything and that they city is declining before their eyes

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    Clock Tower

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Jan 22, 2013

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    Clock Tower

    The Clock Tower is an early renaissance building on the north side of the Piazza San Marco. It comprises a tower, which contains the clock, and lower buildings on each side. It adjoins the eastern end of the Procuratie Vecchie.
    Both the tower and the clock date from the last decade of the 15th century, though the mechanism of the clock has subsequently been much altered. It was placed where the clock would be visible from the waters of the lagoon and give notice to everyone of the wealth and glory of Venice.

    You can watch my 4 min 50 sec Video Venice in the evening out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

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    St Mark's Campanile

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jan 20, 2013

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    St Mark's Campanile

    St Mark's Campanile is the bell tower of St Mark's Basilica in the Piazza San Marco. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city.
    The tower is about 100 metres tall, and stands alone in a corner of St Mark's Square. It has a simple form, the bulk of which is a fluted brick square shaft, 12 metres wide on each side and 50 metres tall, above which is a loggia surrounding the belfry, housing five bells.
    The campanile reached its present form in 1514. The current tower was reconstructed in its present form in 1912 after the collapse of 1902.

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    Piazza San Marco

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jan 20, 2013

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    Piazza San Marco
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    Piazza San Marco is one of the most famous squares in the world.
    The Piazza is dominated at its eastern end by the great church of St Mark. Beyond that is the Clock Tower (Torre dell'Orologio). To the left is the long arcade along the north side of the Piazza, the buildings on this side are known as the Procuratie Vecchie, the old procuracies, formerly the homes and offices of the Procurators of St. Mark.

    Turning left at the end, the arcade continues along the west end of the Piazza. Turning left again, the arcade continues down the south side of the Piazza. The buildings on this side are known as the Procuratie Nuove (new procuracies). Opposite to this, standing free in the Piazza, is the Campanile of St Mark's church.

    You can watch my 5 min 03 sec Video San Marco and Palazzo Ducale out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.

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    Piazzetta di San Marco

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Jan 20, 2013

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    Piazzetta di San Marco
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    The boat trip usually finishes at the Piazzetta di San Marco.
    The Piazzetta di San Marco is an adjoining open space connecting the south side of the Piazza di San Marco to the waterway of the lagoon. The Piazzetta lies between the Doge's Palace on the east and Jacopo Sansovino's Libreria which holds the Biblioteca Marciana on the west.

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    The Attraction in Venice

    by Africancrab Written Dec 30, 2012
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    This is the place to be in Venice. To see the Basilica of St. Mark, the Grand canal, go on a gondola ride, eat at the many restaurants, see the many monuments, people watch, meet other travelers, dine with the locals and quite simply enjoy the work of art that the entire Square is made of.

    There are thousands of pigeons to see, you can not feed them though, we found out feeding them was outlawed only the year before we were there (1997)

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    Campagnile di San Marco

    by GentleSpirit Updated Dec 1, 2012

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    Campagnile di San Marco

    The Bell tower in Piazza San Marco stands by the front of the basilica.
    The present structure reached its look in 1514 though it was reconstructed in 1912 following the earlier collapse. The problem is that the tower, like all the other old buildings in Venice, is built on soft ground on wooden foundations. Over time, the structure becomes unstable because of this and starts to lean. So renovation becomes a constant need.

    There are five bells, each with a special purpose.
    "The Renghiera (or the Maleficio) announced executions; the Mezza Terza proclaimed a session of the Senate; the Nona sounded midday; the Trottiera called the members of the Maggior Consiglio to council meetings and the Marangona, the biggest, rang to mark the beginning and ending of working day. They are tuned in the scale of A." (source wikipedia)

    More than anything else, the belltower is one of the landmarks of Venice, known throughout the world.

    At the top of the 97 meter belltower is a golden statue of the Archangel Gabriel. This statue is 3 meters, and when the wind is blowing it rotates the statue. Venetians say that when the statue of the Archangel is facing the Basilica, there will be high water.

    dimensions:
    height- 98 meters (323 feet)
    width- 12 meters (39 feet)

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    Splurge and Drink At The Cafe Florian

    by RoscoeGregg Written Apr 28, 2012

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    Barbara and Elaine Enjoy a nice drink
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    Wait for a nice evening and go to San Marco and take a seat at the Cafe Florian and have a drink.

    It will be more expensive than a small osteria but the experience is grand and worth it as a life experience.

    It will cost a few euros just to sit down so do not freak out. The quality of the drinks we had was excellent and the service has to be seen to be believed. It is like being waited on by models with excellent training.

    I loved how well ALL the patrons were treated. It did not matter if you were a tourist on their only trip to Venice or a well heeled "jetset" type. The staff treated everyone very well.

    Sitting at a table sipping a drink in San Marco while listening to the orchestra is an experience that should not be missed. Scrimp and save on other things but not this.

    Do It!

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    All the ways lead to S. Marco

    by solopes Updated Apr 1, 2012

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    Venice - Italy
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    Summer or winter, under the sun or heavy rain, even when flooded by "aqua alta", this splendid square is always filled with people and pigeons.

    The harmony of the buildings give intimacy to the large square, and the monuments share the space with heavy commerce.

    It allows a strong sensation of dipping in history, only broke by the noise and movements of the crowds.

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    Piazzetta dei Leoncini

    by zadunajska8 Written Feb 12, 2012

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    Piazzetta dei Leoncini
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    Found in the North East corner of Piazza San Marco by the North wall of Basilica San Marco is the Piazzetta dei Leoncini although now officially called the Piazzetta Giovanni XXIII. Clearly the more well known name refers to the two marble lions here which I've discovered were presented by Doge Alvise Mocenigo in 1722 but I haven't discovered what, if any, purpose this little area once served. These little felines are quite charming though.

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    Columns of San Marco & San Teodoro

    by zadunajska8 Written Feb 12, 2012

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    Columns of San Marco & San Teodoro
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    St Mark's Basilica is full of stuff which Venice plundered from Constantinople and along with all this swag came these two massive granite columns. It is said that they were erected here in Venice in 1172 by the engineer Nicolo Barattieri who was also the architect of the very first Rialto Bridge. As a reward he was given the right to set up gambling tables between the two columns.

    A somewhat more grizzly aspect of the history is that criminals used to be executed here until the mid 18th century and even today some superstitious locals won't walk between the columns.

    The Western column (furthest from the Doge's Palace) is topped with a statue of St Theodore who was the original patron saint of Venice before the Venetian's pinched the remains alledged to be of St Mark from Alexandria and whisked them back here in 828.

    The other column is topped by the Lion of St Mark which will become a familiar sight in Venice as it is the symbol of the city used for centuries.

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    Life in the Piazza

    by Callavetta Updated Nov 21, 2011

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    St. Mark's Square
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    St. Mark's square is probably one of the most touristed areas (maybe next to the Realto Bridge) in all of Venice. Life swells in this square. Languages from all over the world can be heard as tourists check out what there is to see; glass shops, tourist stands, cafes and restaurants, shops with fabulous (and expensive) Italian shoes....

    In olden times you may have spotted a procession as the Doge and his team march through the piazza. Today you're likely to spot tourists and pigeons. Take a seat at one of the tables in the square for the costliest beverages anywhere in Venice. But it's worth it at least once. Watch the pigeons light on tourists while they capture the photos to amaze their friends back home.

    At times, mostly in early winter, Aqua Alta finds tourists in hip boots walking on raised planks when the canals flood and the St. Mark's square becomes a lake.

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