Piazza San Marco

Established during the 9th century, but adopted to its current size in 1177, Piazza San Marco, or St. Mark’s Square, was once the political and religious center of the Republic of Venice. Today, it is the principal public square and one of the most famous sights in Venice. The square is home to four of the most important buildings in Venice: 

1. St. Mark’s Basilica: Located on the eastern end of St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica was originally the Doge (Duke) of Venice’s private chapel. Although construction began in 828, the current structure dates back to the 11th century. The Basilica is built in the shape of a Latin cross, with five domes, and its interior walls are covered with over 4,000 square meters of gold-ground mosaics depicting saints, prophets, and biblical scenes. There is also a magnificent golden altarpiece, the Pala d’Oro, which is adorned with nearly 2,000 gems and precious stones.

2. The Palazzo Ducale: A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the Palazzo Ducale was the Doge of Venice’s palace since the old castle was built in 810. Over nearly a 1,000 years, 120 doges ruled over Venice from this palace. Inside the palace, visitors can see the impressive golden staircase called the Scala d’Oro, the Maggior Consiglio hall, which contains the world’s largest painting called “Paradise” by Tintoretto, the armoury which contains an assortment of weapons, and the Doge’s apartments, which are are beautifully decorated with works of art.

3. The Campanile: The tallest building in Venice at a height of 323 feet (99 meters), the Campanile di San Marco is the bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica. The tower collapsed in 1902, and was rebuilt ten years later in the same form as it was in 1515. Visitors can get spectacular views from the top of the tower of St. Mark’s square, the lagoon of Venice, and even some of the surrounding islands like Murano.

4. Torre dell’Oroglio: An early renaissance building on the north side of the Piazza San Marco, the Torre dell’Oroglio is a clock tower which displays the time of day, the dominant sign of Zodiac and the current phase of the moon on it’s extraordinarily elaborate timepiece.


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