Piazza San Marco, Venice

4.5 out of 5 stars 307 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Piazza San Marco
    by Linse
  • Piazza San Marco
    Piazza San Marco
    by MichaelFalk1969
  • Piazza San Marco
    Piazza San Marco
    by croisbeauty
  • zadunajska8's Profile Photo

    Columns of San Marco & San Teodoro

    by zadunajska8 Written Feb 12, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Google map

    Columns of San Marco & San Teodoro Column of St Mark Column of St Theodore Columns of San Marco & San Teodoro

    Was this review helpful?

  • Callavetta's Profile Photo

    Life in the Piazza

    by Callavetta Updated Nov 21, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    St. Mark's Square Shopping! Dining Post-Acqua Alta, puddles and platforms Campanile

    Was this review helpful?

  • spidermiss's Profile Photo

    Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square)

    by spidermiss Updated Aug 10, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    St Mark's Square is the main public square and the most well known in Venice. It is reached from Canale Di San Marco (lagoon) via the piazzetta. Both squares had shaped the social and political centre of the Venetian Empire over the many centuries and nowadays it's crowded with tourists and pigeons!

    The buildings to note at St Mark's Square are Basilica di San Marco, Doges Palace and the Campanile with its equisite architectural designs. There are also musuems (Museos Correr and Archeological) and expensive cafes in the square. Do look out for the 15th Century Clock Tower that stands out in the square.

    There are three large mast-like flagpoles designed by Alessandro Leopardi in the early 16th Century. The flagpoles were used in the past to fly the Venetian flag.

    Basilica di San Marco and the Campanile Flagpole and Doges Palace,Piazza San Marco, Venice Flagpole and Campanile, Piazza San Marco, Venice Piazzo San Marco, Venice
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • starship's Profile Photo

    Piazza San Marco

    by starship Updated Jun 23, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    What can one say about their first sight of the "Piazza San Marco"? It is magnificent, and overwhelming---am I really here? Turning 360 degrees to take in the panorama, I can only compare it to pictures and movies I have seen and though the piazza was somewhat smaller than I had previously imagined, it was everything I expected!!

    Because there are any number of special places to visit in Piazza San Marco, planning is the key to enjoying all of the Piazza San Marco's key attractions: Basilica of San Marco, Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), Bridge of Sighs, Campanile of San Marco, Florian Cafe, San Marco Clock Tower,
    Columns of the Lion of Venice and San Teodoro, and THE PIGEONS!!

    To this end, we found that the guide books were not as helpful as expected with the most hassle-free way to purchase tickets and avoid crowds. However, since we visited in late May, neither the crowds nor the temperature were as great as they would be a month later had we waited. Simply, it was a matter of just getting into a line---we waited in line to visit the Campanile, and the Basilica of San Marco (see more below) approximately 30 minutes each.
    When we we visited the Doge's Palace (14 Euro each) the following day, there was no line at all at mid-afternoon.

    We were very disappointed when we attempted to visit the Basilica of San Marco because an over-zealous clothes inspector denied entrance to our daughter so we did not visit it either!! Our daughter was dressed modestly in our eyes with her shoulders covered but the dress police determined her skirt length was not acceptable!! This was all the more disappointing because there were many women, as well as men, who were dressed improperly in my opinion. My advise, therefore, is for women to think seriously about what they wear if you desire to visit the basilica.

    At San Marco's the saving grace, while in line for these attractions, was that we met and talked to some very nice people along the way, especially a couple from New Zealand, which made the 30 minute wait a very easy one.

    Consider visiting the Piazza San Marco very early in the morning or in late afternoon, unless being in a long line does not bother you. If you can purchase tickets (such as the Doge's Palace Secret Itinerary) online prior to visiting, you may avoid the lines to some extent. We also found that it was more enjoyable to walk to the Piazza San Marco rather than riding a crowded vaporetto! There was so much to see along the way that we had no idea we had walked so far!!

    Piazzo San Marco ~ Feed the pigeons! The Doges Palace (Palazzo Ducale) The Lion of Venice Column Basilica San Marco Campanile of San Marco

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    DISAPPOINTING LOOK OF THE PIAZZA SAN MARCO.

    by breughel Updated Jan 31, 2011

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If I had not visited Venice before this summer 2010 I would have been very disappointed by the way this famous Piazza looked in July.

    First the part of the Piazza near the Campanile is occupied by works. The clients of the famous and most expensive café Florian have their view cut off by the works palisade. Furthermore the left side of the Basilica is covered with a sheet (photo 1 & 2).

    On the opposite side there was a large podium hiding the façade of the Fabricca Nuova with the Museo Correr. This podium, used for I don't know what event, completely destroyed the perspective of the Piazza towards the West (photo 3 & 4).

    If you add to this the most miserable view on the Sights Bridge (see my tip and photo), the fact that the right side of the Palazzo Ducale is covered with a blue publicity sheet to hide the restoration works and that the façade of the Biblioteca Marciano on the Piazzetta is also covered with a sheet you might be tempted to postpone your visit to better times. However keep in mind that there are always restoration works going on in Venice. But this is the worst I saw.

    Piazza San Marco summer 2010 Piazza San Marco summer 2010 Piazza San Marco summer 2010 Piazza San Marco summer 2010 Piazza San Marco summer 2010
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Strolling around Piazza San Marco

    by Jefie Updated Jan 5, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Piazza San Marco is the touristic heart of the city and as such is does get quite crowded (both with visitors and pigeons!), but with so much beautiful architecture I think it would be a shame to let that fact stop someone from visiting it. The piazza was designed at the same time as the Basilica di San Marco and it's surrounded by the "Procuratie", a group of buildings that were originally built to house the Procurator's offices. In the Republic of Venice, the Procurator was in charge of the city's religious and social issues, and it was considered the second highest ranked position after the doge. The Procuratie are now home to several (very expensive) shops, cafes and restaurants, including the famous Caffe Florian, once a favourite of Goethe, Lord Byron, Marcel Proust and Charles Dickens.

    Piazza San Marco is also home to the "Torre dell'Orologio" (St. Mark's Clocktower), a beautiful 15th century building home to one of the world's largest astronomical clocks. The clock was designed by Paulo Rainieri and it's lavishly covered with gold leafs and ultramarine. Also, on the adjoining Piazzetta San Marco (the space that stretches in front of the Palazzo Ducale), it's possible to see St. Mark's and St. Theodore's columns. Before St. Mark's relics were brought to the basilica, St. Theodore was the patron saint of Venice and in the sculpture that stands on top of the column he is pictured with a dragon. On the top of the other column, St. Mark is represented by a winged lion. The space between the two columns was once used for public executions and to this day, some people (especially locals) still refuse to walk between the two columns. I guess my Italian teacher was right when he warned me that Italians tend to be a bit superstitious!

    View of the Piazzetta San Marco Torre dell'Orologio on Piazza San Marco Tourists and pigeons on Piazza San Marco At Caffe Florian on Piazza San Marco St. Mark's and St. Theodore's columns
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Piazzetta Dei Leoncini

    by suvanki Updated Oct 7, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    SAN MARCO
    VAPORETTO - SAN ZACCARIA or SAN MARCO (VALLARESSO)

    Crossing over the Ponte della Canonica, proceeding forward, and turning left you enter into the Piazzetta dei Leoncini.

    This small square is named after the pair of porphyry lions that reside here. They were a gift presented to the city by the Doge Alvise Mocenigo 111 in 1722 to commemorate his accession. Giovanni Bonazza was the sculpter.

    You can see one of the lions in my picture, which was taken on Christmas Eve. The Nativity Scene (presepio) is popular with visitors and locals having their photos taken in front of it.

    The well here, is supposed to be the deepest in Venice. It was sited on a raised platform to avoid contamination by the floods

    At one time, a vegetable market was held in this piazzetta.

    Also in the Piazzetta is the Palazzo Patriarcale, (No 318) which joins St Marks Basilica, and closes off the east end of the Piazzetta. It was rebuilt in 1837, by the architect Lorenzo Santi. His mission was to forward 24 designs. The cheapest was chosen!

    This building has housed the Venetian patriarchs since Napolean turned St Marks into a Cathedral.
    A narrow passage led to the Doges Palace, but this has since been demolished. At one time, the large dining room of the Palace was used by the Doges for entertaining nobility and Official Guests. These banquets were held 5 times per year.

    From the Piazzetta there is an entrance into St Marks Basillica, which was open during Christmas for those attending services.

    UPDATE 1 - My June 07 visit, I saw a wedding party leaving from this doorway, plus I found that You are not allowed to sit on the wall of this Piazzetta - please see my Warning and Dangers tip for more info
    UPDATE 2 Christmas 07 The Nativity Scene was replaced by a modern glass tubular Christmas Tree
    Christmas 08 & 09 - There was no Tree or Nativity Scene in the Piazetta - presumably due to the recent floods, that deluged the area.

    Porphry Lion and Nativity Scene, St Marks, Venice Virgin Mary, Presepio, San Marco Venice 2006 Presepio/ Nativity Scene, San Marco, Venice, 2006 Porphyry lion Piezzetta dei Leoncini  Venice Wedding party Piezzetti dei Leoncini Venice
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    The Molo

    by suvanki Updated Oct 7, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    SAN MARCO
    VAPORETTO - SAN ZACCARIA or SAN MARCO (VALLARESSO)

    The Molo is the area of waterfront of the Pizzetta San Marco , here is one of the places where excursion boats to Murano (and its glass factories) depart and arrive, water taxis and gondolas await to empty your purse!!! You can haggle for a fairer price, but I've been told that you might get a better deal for a gondola ride at one of the 'off the beaten track' gondola stops. (Be aware that some of the 'cheaper rides' may be with unlicensed gondoliers though!)

    (To visit Murano independently, you can get a vaporetto No 41 or 42 from nearby San Zaccaria - check the route before you board. Otherwise, head for Fondamente Nuova, where vaporettos including the 41/42 head for Murano and the other lagoon islands)

    I'm afraid that I have no idea of the starting price for gondola rides- my 'out of date' guidebook mentions an official price of 62 euros for 50 min ride which rises to 77.50 euros after 20.00hrs plus 31 euros for each extra 25 minutes- in high season a premium 'unofficial' rate may be negotiated.

    Some official guided tours include a gondola ride as part of their tour price. Please read my local customs tips for lots more info on gondolas and gondoliers and for the reasons why the cost of riding in one of these vessels is so expensive.
    A cheap alternative, is to do as the locals do, and take a 50 cent crossing by traghetto - not as romantic, but quite fun as you stand up all the way - see my transport tips for pics and info

    It's a pleasant area to wander, lots of photo opps for Gondola shots, water reflections etc, especially early morning or at sunset.

    Gondolas on The Molo, Venice
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Budget Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Piazzetta San Marco

    by suvanki Updated Oct 7, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    SAN MARCO
    VAPORETTO-SAN MARCO VALLARESSO/ SAN ZACCARIA

    Piazzetta San Marco is the 'doorway' onto San Marco Piazza, where years ago, seafaring visitors and traders would arrive into the city.

    It is hard to imagine that at one time, part of this terrace was a garden, where turnips etc were grown to feed the nuns of nearby San Zaccaria. Later, its name of Broglia (kitchen garden), became well known as the area where deals were made, and politicians ensured that they would be favoured by gaining votes at election time.

    2 granite Columns of San Marco and San Teodoro - dominate the Piazzetta - these are one of Venices oldest symbols and were 'acquired' as loot in 1170- A 3rd column sunk into the waters of the Bacino di San Marco while it was being unloaded.
    Public executions were often held between the columns, the last recorded being Domenico Storti in 1752, who murdered his brother. Superstitious Venetians avoid walking between the 2 columns.

    To the left of the Piazetta, is La Zecca (The Mint) , which is part of its neighbouring building The Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana or Libreria Sansoviniana.

    Opposite, on the right hand side of the Piazzetta is The Doges Palace or Palazzo Ducal , which is next door to St. Marks Basillica.

    I'll return to these sights soon in more detail, (page 2 of my tips) but first I'll continue along the waterfront-

    Two Columns and Doges Palace Venice
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    SAN MARCO - Giardinetti Reali

    by suvanki Updated Oct 7, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    SAN MARCO
    VAPORETTO- SAN MARCO VALLARESSO

    Turning right from the San Marco Vaporetta stop, you will soon come across this small garden on your left hand side. Originally the site of the state granary (Fontegheto della Farina), but the gardens creator (Eugene de Beauharnais) decided to demolish it to enable visitors to the ballroom of the Ala Napoleonica in St Marks Square to have a view of the lagoon.

    Entering through cast iron gates, the park has a few seats scattered amongst its' shrubs and grassed areas which offer a place to rest your feet after all the walking around Venices sights.

    It's also one of the few areas around San Marco that You're allowed to eat ' Al Fresco' - (Please see my Warning and Dangers tip for more info)

    Next to the garden is a pavillion of a neoclassical style called the Casino da Caffe , also designed by Beauharnais. This is now a Tourist Information office and gift shop. You can buy concert tickets here.
    The door can be quite difficult to push, I walked away, thinking it was locked, then went back for another try- saw many others do the same - also each time I've visited there has been a long queue for info - 1 person manning the desk, and lots of people wanting info/ tickets etc.

    Also next to the gardens is one of the few Public toilets in Venice- from my guide book I understand public WC's are open 0700 or 0800 to 2100hrs and are all wheelchair accessable.
    I'm not sure if you have to pay, or if there is an attendant expecting a tip.

    In front of the garden are a few kiosks selling souvenirs including masks, postcards, films etc. (Don't worry there are loads more further on!)

    Giardinetti Reali, Venice Bridge to Tourist Info and Giardinetti Realo
    Related to:
    • Disabilities
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    San Marco Vallaresso- Arriving from airport.

    by suvanki Updated Oct 7, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    SAN MARCO
    VAPORETTO SAN MARCO VALLARESSO
    This is the start of my mini tour of San Marco to the Rialto Bridge

    Alighting at the Alilaguna water bus stop, from Marco Polo airport you are within a few minutes of some of Venices' most famous and historic sights situated in and around St Marks Piazzo.

    However, there are a few things to see on the short walk to the Piazzo

    In front of you is the legendary Harrys Bar , famed for its invention of the Bellini cocktail- made with the juice of fresh white peaches, and Prosecco - the sparkling wine of the Veneto region.

    Behind you, is the landmark church of San Maria della Salute, with its' domed roof, and the Dogana di Mare (Customs House) - a golden ball supported by a pair of Atlases sits on its rooftop. These are situated in Dorsoduro , and is the point where the Bacino di San Marco waterway becomes The Grand Canal.

    After admiring the view, and enjoying those first few minutes of arriving for the first time, or re-visiting for the umpteenth time, we head along to our next attraction

    Santa Maria della Salute and Dogana di Mare Santa Maria della Salute and gondolas
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Budget Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    For a nice view of San Giorgio Maggiore

    by Jefie Updated Aug 28, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Piazza San Marco offers great views of the small island of San Giorgio Maggiore and its 16th century church built by Andrea Palladio, the famous Venitian Renaissance architect. Although it's possible to take a vaporetto to the island and visit the church, what I mostly wanted to do was to admire San Giorgio Maggiore from Piazza San Marco, like so many painters have done before. "San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk" (1908) is one of my favourite paintings by Monet, and although my little camera couldn't quite reproduce the same effect, I'm very happy with my "San Giorgio Maggiore at Sunset" picture!

    San Giorgio Maggiore at sunset San Giorgio Maggiore seen from Piazza San Marco View of San Giorgio Maggiore from the Campanile
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • uglyscot's Profile Photo

    St Mark's Square

    by uglyscot Updated Aug 21, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    No matter how often you see pictures of famous buildings, the reality is always best.
    When I entered the square of St Mark's ,I was amazed at how big it was, and all the pigeons! The guide talked about the campanile which was destroyed in an earthquake, and about the four horses of St Mark's. Two of them had been taken for cleaning at the time we were there..
    But inside was a real eye-opener. The gold mosaic held me spellbound. The interior is huge anyway, but to be surrounded with all that 'gold' was something indescribable.
    Around the square are colonnades and these shelter those having a rest drinking coffee or whatever. And the Doge's Palace with its wonderful tracery is another amazing building.
    Off the square are little alleys which make interesting exploration. We watched women making lace in one shop.

    St Marks The Camponile general view of the piaza Pigeons
    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • viddra's Profile Photo

    The Largest Stage In The World

    by viddra Updated Aug 4, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    '...the landing place without equal,
    the incredible composition
    of fantastic architecture...'

    Thomas Mann, Death in Venice

    Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) is undoubtedly the most famous landmark of Venice. Once it was the symbol of religious, political and cultural powers.

    Here, you can see:
    - St. Mark's Basilica, the church that preserves the remains of the patron saint, the Evangelist St. Mark
    - the Doges' Palace, the seat of government
    - the Library that contains priceless manuscripts
    - the Bell Tower
    - the Clock Tower
    - the Procuratie Vecchie and Nuove, the apartments of the Procurators of St. Mark
    - the 2 columns of Mark and Theodore guarding the city

    a view April 2004 April 2004
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    SAN MARCO MUSEUM PLUS CARD.

    by breughel Updated Jul 20, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a quite interesting initiative from the Musei Civici Veneziani association.
    With one single ticket you can visit:

    1° THE MUSEUMS OF ST MARK'S SQUARE: Doge's Palace, Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Monumental Rooms of Biblioteca Marciana

    2° ONE OTHER OF THE MUSEUMS RUN BY MUSEI CIVICI VENEZIANI from among:
    Ca' Rezzonico, Museum of 18th-Century Art, Palazzo Mocenigo, Carlo Goldoni's house, Ca' Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art + Oriental Art Museum, Glass Museum – Murano, Lace Museum- Burano (Closed until October 2010 for requalification and restoration works)

    This Ticket is valid for 3 months and grants only one admission to each Museum.

    Full price 13,00 euro (from 1/11 - 31/03 price is 12,00 €)
    Reduced 7,50 euro. This is for children aged 6 to 14; students aged 15 to 25, citizens over 65.

    Best is to start your visit with Museo Correr (north of Piazza San Marco) where there is no queuing and then visit the Palazzo Ducale by the entrance for those who have already a ticket-biglietto.
    From the other museums I do recommend the Ca' Rezzonico (Decorative Venetian Arts).

    Just note, for those visiting Venice when it is very hot, that there is no air conditioning (at least efficient AC) in Museo Correr or Palazzo Ducale.
    There is efficient AC at Ca' Rezzonico (as it was about 40°C outside, we did appreciate).

    Entry for ticket holders on the right.
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Venice

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

32 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Piazza San Marco
Show Prices
5.0 out of 5 stars
0 miles away
Show Prices
Show Prices

View all Venice hotels