Venice’s St Mark’s Square is a vast open space surrounded by stunning buildings, none more so than the breath-taking St Mark’s Basilica.
Construction of the ornate Basilica di San Marco started in the 800s, although fires and continuous additions mean it is difficult to give a precise date to the basilica.
There is also the bell tower, Campanile di San Marco, that has been built several times over after having collapsed a couple of times.
On ground level, St Mark’s Square offers a great range of cafés where it is tradition to sit and enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail, preferably a Spritz.
The most famous coffee shop in St Mark’s Square is arguably the Florian, located under the portico. Dating back to 1720, it was originally named the ‘Venezia Trionfante’. However its owner was so personable that eventually the locals began referring to the coffee shop by his name – Florian.
By night, the square is often filled with the sound of live music being played in one of the coffee stores. In one of Italy’s most costly cities, you will pay somewhat dearly for the privilege of sitting in Piazza San Marco to enjoy a beverage, but enjoy it you will.
Also under the portico, on the opposite edge of the square to that of the St Mark’s Basilica, is the Correr Museum with a display reflecting the history and artistic development of Venice.
Whilst St Mark’s is also known for its pigeons flocking to the piazza, it is now illegal to feed them. If you’re game though, you can try holding out your arms in a T and seeing if they will perch on your outstretched limbs (and likely also on your head). In the worst case scenario, it’s considered good luck if a bird does its business on you.
Just off the Piazza San Marco is the Piazzetta (little square) where is located the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), leading to the water’s edge and even more stunning vistas in Venice.