Venice / Points of interest

St. Mark's Square

St. Mark's Square

St Mark's Square, Venice

Always included on the front pages of any guide on Venice as the first stage for 'Must see in Venice', St Mark’s Square and its buildings are the best way to start a visit of this enchanting city...

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A witness and protagonist of the millennial history of the city on water, St Mark’s Square in Venice is as breath-taking today as it was in the past.

St Mark’s Square was the headquarters of the Government and prisons, executions, edicts, fairs and tournaments... The centre of religious life and the perfect setting to celebrate major festivals. Saint Mark’s Square history follows hand in hand the epic story of Venice, from the dawn of the Serenissima until the present day. Not to mention the elegant buildings of St Mark’s Square in Venice: from prestigious museums, the Campanile of St Mark’s Church in Venice, historic cafés, shops, monuments and the splendid St Mark’s Square Basilica, a visit to this immortal open place will leave you breathless.

Located in the district of St Mark, Piazza San Marco in Venice is the only open area of Venice called Piazza, unlike the others which take the name of Campi.

The elegant present conformation of the St Mark’s Square is the result of numerous interventions that have taken place during Piazza San Marco history since the ninth century and which have transformed the primitive settlement - an area used as a vegetable garden and crossed by a canal – to Venice’s top attraction.

Today St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy is a collection of places, both indoors and outdoors, expertly connected and in perfect harmony with each other, the result of a sophisticated fusion between buildings – with different functions and architectural features - and a delicate balance between numerous styles – from the Gothic-Byzantine of St Mark’s Basilica to the neoclassical style of the Napoleonic Wing.

The numerous St Mark’s Square buildings are a valuable record of the cultural and artistic richness of this extraordinary city, a little taste of the endless attractions to see in Venice. From the centre of Venice San Marco Square, looking towards the Basilica, you can admire anti-clockwise:

  • Clock Tower
  • Procuratie Vecchie
  • Napoleonic Wing
  • Procuratie Nuove
  • St Mark’s Bell Tower
  • St Mark’s Basilica

In the magnificent setting of Saint Mark’s Square in Venice, the Clock Tower is one of the most special buildings. Built at the end of the fifteenth century by the architect Mauro Codussi, the Clock Tower in Saint Mark's Square is famous for its bronze statues of the 'Moors of Venice' - striking the hours on the bell with a unique sequence - and for the beautiful dial that indicates the hours and signs of the zodiac with the lunar phases. The entrance of St Mark’s Clock Tower in Venice begins at the Mercerie, the impressive set of streets that leads to Rialto.

St. Mark's Square Procurators are the impressive buildings that surround the square in front of the Basilica. Under the elegant arcades of the Saint Mark’s Square Procuration there are many shops, the historic St Mark’s Square Florian Cafè and Quadri café, Venice, Italy and entrances to the square.

After the beautiful Clock Tower in Venice, Italy the Procuratie Vecchie open up. Intended for the most senior judges of the Venetian Republic, the Procuratie Vecchie of Venice were built in the twelfth century and were completed only in the sixteenth century in Renaissance style by the great Jacopo Sansovino.

In front of the Procuratie Vecchie San Marco Piazza in Venice is bordered by Procuratie Nuove. Designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi and completed by Baldassarre Longhena in the seventeenth century, the Procuratie Nuove are home to some rooms of the Correr Museum and the National Archaeological Museum. The Procuratie Vecchie and Nuove are joined in the Napoleonic Wing, the elegant structure built by Napoleon Bonaparte to accommodate the ballroom of his royal palace.

At the end of the Procuratie Nuove, one can admire St Mark's Square Bell Tower, 98.60 metres and the highest of the entire city.

Positioned beside the Campanile of St Mark’s Square, the majestic St Mark’s Square Basilica encircles a part of the square and is its undisputed highlight. Inside it boasts golden mosaics, impressive architectural structures and precious relics - preserved in the St Mark’s Museum or a part of St Mark’s Treasury – demonstrate the deep spirituality of Venice and the immense power achieved in the past by the Venetian Republic.

Saint Mark’s Square in Venice does not only include the area in front of the Basilica but also the Piazzetta San Marco - the area between the imposing Doge’s Palace and National Library of St Mark’s in Venice – which affords a splendid view of St Mark’s Basin from the pier in the Doge’s Palace, and the Piazzetta dei Leoncini, next to St Mark’s Basilica overlooking the Patriarchal Palace.