San Marco

St Mark's Square

St Mark's Square, Venice

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The core of the sestiere is Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square), which is the main square of Venice and one of its best known symbols. The french poet Alfred de Musset once called it "the most beautiful drawing room of the world".

Ever since the times of the glorious Republic of Venice, the square has always been the political, religious and cultural centre of the city: it was the seat of the Venetian Doge, important religious ceremonies were carried out in the large basilica and the square often held markets, public feasts and cafes.

Today, thanks to its architectural beauty, St Mark's Square has become one of the strongest symbols of the city and it's always crowded with tourists and visitors.

The Square has a trapezoidal shape, established in the XII° century, upon the meeting between Pope Alexander III and the Emperor Barbarossa. The whole square is surrounded by the Procuratie, palaces sustained by porches. On one of the short sides is the St. Mark's Basilica, the focus of the whole space.

In the north part of the square are the "Procuratie Vecchie", a long palace built in the 16th century, which once was the residence of the highest magistrates. Opposite this,  we can find the "Procuratie Nuove", built in 1582 by Scamozzi next to the Sansoviniana Library. This was the royal palace when the city was ruled by the Doge.

The Napoleonic wing closes the smallest side of the Square, adjoining the two Procuratie.

Our Suggestion

Skip the Line: Venice Walking Tour with St Mark's Basilica

Venice Walking TourThis two-hour walking tour is an absolute must if you're a first–time visitor to Venice! You'll visit St. Mark's Basilica and other famous highlights, and discover the 'real Venice' as you enter a labyrinth of narrow passageways and alleys. Plus, you'll skip the long lines at St. Mark's Basilica! Don't waste time waiting in lines when you're on vacation!

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Book your guided tour in Venice with us!Duration: 2 hours
Price: Starting from EUR €22 per person
Venice Walking Tour with St Mark's Basilica based on traveler feedback

But there's much more to this sestiere: wandering around San Marco you will find lots of beautiful buildings and fascinating views.

For example there is the Gran Teatro La Fenice, an historic theatre, the main one in Venice and among the most famous ones in Europe. As its name ("The Phoenix") suggests, it was built in the 18th century and it has repeatedly burned down and been rebuilt, just like a phoenix rising again from its own ashes.

Another fascinating and not-to-miss landmark is Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of sighs). Today it is regarded as one of the most romantic places in the world by couples who, riding a gondola through this narrow canal, pass under this lovely little bridge. However, the origin of its name (Italian for "Bridge of Sighs") is not romantic at all: the sighs are from prisoners who, crossing the bridge while being taken from the courthouse to the New Prisons, saw the outside world for the last time.

However, art and history are not the only attractions here: if you love shopping, don't miss the Mercerie! The Mercerie are a collection of streets which for centuries have been the centre of business of the Venetian Republic. Today they are entirely dedicated to shops and stores. Here you can buy high fashion clothing and footwear, jewellery, leather items and typical glass handcraft from the island of Murano.

Visit the Doge's Palace. Buy a ticket and visit it witout queuing up! VISIT THE DOGE'S PALACE – BOOK YOUR TICKET

Skip the line and avoid the crowds and be the first to get into the Doges Palace by yourself or with your expert local guide.

Enter the Doge's Palace, visit the most secret and fascinating rooms in the Palaceor and discover where some of the most important decisions for Venice's, and even Europe's destiny were taken.

You can choose between 3 different types of visit. Look here!

Reserve in advanced your ticket for the Doge's Palace Museum in VeniceDuration: 2 hours
Price: € 62 per person
Doge's Palace entrances

Click here for Booking the Ticket Museum >>


Our Suggestion

Visit the Clock Tower. Buy a ticket and visit it witout queuing up!VISIT THE CLOCK TOWER – BOOK YOUR TICKET!

The Moors' Clock Tower is one of the most famous architectural landmarks in Venice, standing over an arch that leads into what is the main shopping street of the city, the old Merceria. The Tower and its large Astronomical Clock, a masterpiece of technology and engineering, form an essential part of the very image of Venice. For more than five hundred years, they have measured out the flow of life and history within the city.

Holders of the ticket for the Clock Tower get free admission to the Museo Correr, the National Archaelogical Museum and the State Rooms of the Biblioteca Marciana.

Book your ticket to visit the Museum without queuing up!
Price: From €3,30 per person


Click here for Booking the Ticket Museum >>
Click here for more information about the museum >>


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