Piazza San Marco (Venice)

FROM The man in the front seat / July 26, 2013

Italy is known for its beautiful piazzas (squares) but there are several that are more well known than the others. Piazza San Marco (St. Marks Square) in Venice certainly falls in that category. The square is surrounded on all four sides of which one of those is the western facade of the Basilica San Marco (St. Marks Basilica).

The Offices of the Procurators extend for the entire length of the northside, the Procurators were officers of state during the time of the republic and responsible for protecting the body of St. Mark. One of the cities most well known cafés, Café Quadri, is located there. The western end is dominated by the Napoleonic Wing, re-built in 1810 by Napoleon and was originally a Royal Palace but today holds the Correr Museum.

By the mid 15th century the Procurators needed more space so the New Procurators Offices were built on the southern side of the square. Café Quadri, on the opposite side was a regular haunt for the Austrians when they occupied the city after the defeat of Napoleon, so Floriano Francesconi, in 1720, opened Café Florian on the southern side so Venetians could have a quiet coffee and not be annoyed by those invading Austrians

Standing on the south-eastern corner is the Campanile of St. Mark, rebuilt in 1912 after falling down in 1902 but originally constructed in 1156.

Napoleon described St. Marks Square as “the finest drawing room in Europe”, and for anyone who has visited Venice would surely agree.


St. Marks 06.
St. Marks 01.
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