Point of interest

Piazza San Marco

Sestiere San Marco, 312, Venezia

St. Mark's Square, also known as "Drawing room of Europe", is one of the most important Italian squares, the largest of Venice. It has a trapezoidal plan and it's 170 meters long, to allow the high tides. It consists of three areas: the Square itself, the area enclosed between the Old and New Procuratie and those "Brand new"; the "Little Square", the southern offshoot front of the Ducal Palace and the Library, and the "Square of Little Lions", narrow north-eastern outcrop next to the Basilica, overlooking the Patriarchal Palace. In 826, with the arrival in Venice of the body of St. Mark, was built the Basilica (1050-1094) and this area began to be the monumental center of the city. The Square presents an architectural development of rare beauty: the St. Mark's Basilica overlooks the Square with a marble facade of the thirteenth century, rich in mosaics and bas-reliefs; the Clock Tower, completed in 1499, marks the beginning of Haberdashery, which houses the main shopping street of the city and is the land access to the Square by a portico; continuing towards the west, the Old Procuratie, offices of the Procurators of St. Mark during the "Serenissima", now house shops and restaurants (including the famous Quadri Cafe, founded in 1755 and opposed to the Florian Cafe, on the other side); closes, the so-called Napoleonic Wing, joining the Old Procuratie to the New (designed by Jacopo Sansovino in the sixteenth century), now home to the Correr Museum. At the point of contact between these buildings there is the St. Mark's Bell Tower, built between 1156 and 1173 in an early form, rebuilt in 1902 after a collapse without alteration. The "Little Square" is the monumental entrance to the Square, through the two columns facing each in the Bacino of St. Mark, for those who coming from the sea. On it facing the Sansovinian Marciana Library, the Archaeological Museum, the National Library and the Mint. The facade of the Ducal Palace, faces the Little Square, was built from 1424 by Francesco Foscari; the balcony in the center of the upper part, with the Lion of St. Mark, dates back to 1536 and was designed by Sansovino. The statue of Justice, crowning, and Mercury are works by Alessandro Vittoria; the sculpture with the Doge Andrea Gritti and the Lion was rebuilt in the nineteenth century. The "Square of Little Lions" named for the two statues of lions crouching delimiting the central area overhead.