Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco" is the not principal public square of Venice, it's the only one!
All the others squares are called "campi", who means fields and, indeed, most of these were vegetable gardens...
We love this place, and usually offer to guide our students during the visit of the Basilica and the square!
Piazza San Marco, the breathtaking square...
Historic & Beautiful
Basilica di San Marco:
Venice's most famous and ornate church (but not the only one... The city counts 118 churches). From the bones of St. Mark to many of the precious 8000 m2 of mosaics that cover the opulent Byzantine façade and interior, the gold glass mosaics alone make a visit worthwhile.
Hours: 9:45 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 2 - 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Admission: Free. (Donation welcome.)
The Palazzo Ducale was the Venetian Republic's seat of government, and parts of the building date back to 1340. Allow plenty of time for a visit.
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. (April-October), 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (November-March). Last admission one hour before closing.
More information: Click here.
Campanile di San Marco:
The campanile of St. Mark’s is an imposing square plan tower about 99 metres high, crowned by a spire that was once a lighthouse for shipping. It is the prototype of all the campaniles of the lagoon area. It was first built in the 12th century on the site of what was probably a watchtower and rebuilt in its current form early in the 16th centurywith the addition of a belfry and with the spire faced in copper and topped by a sort of rotating platform with a statue of the Archangel Gabriel which functioned as a weathercock.
Of the five original bells only the largest remains. The others, now replaced, were destroyed when the tower collapsed in 1902. From the belfry loggia there is a spectacular bird’s eye view of the city and the lagoon.
Against the base of the campanile is the balcony built by Jacopo Sansovino between 1537 and 1549 and decorated with marbles and bronzes .
On 14th July 1902 the campanile suddenly collapsed as a result of imprudent constructional work. The damage was not irreparable: the “proclamation stone” at the corner of the church prevented collapse of the corner column, thus saving the church. The Balcony however was buried under the rubble. News of the collapse spread throughout the world and the Municipal Administration resolved that the Campanile should be rebuilt exactly as it had been.The first stone was laid on 25th April 1903 and nine years later, in 1912, on St. Mark’s day, the new campanile was inaugurated. Externally the building was a faithful copy but was built, for greater safety and static stability, in accordance with the more rigorous laws on construction technique.
This history of the campanile is linked to the memory of the traditional flight of the Angel celebration that took place on the last Thursday before Lent, a balancing act in which an acrobat descended a tightrope from the belfry to a boat in the Basin or to the loggia of the Ducal Palace where the Doge and Lords observed the spectacle.
Galileo used the campanile as an observatory and it was there in1609 that he demonstrated his telescope to the Doge.
The Campanile has an elevator and offers great views of the Piazza and Venice.
Hours: Officially 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. in summer, 9:30 a.m. - 5:45 p.m. in winter, and 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. in shoulder season. (Opening hours often vary.) Tickets are sold until one hour before closing.
More information: Campanile di San Marco
Guided tours of the historic Clock Tower are available in Italian, English, and French.
You'll get to see the clock's internal workings unless you're bothered by steep steps or claustrophobia.
Hours: See "Orari" on the official Torre dell'Orologio Web site.
Admission: €12 standard adult ticket, or €7 reduced.
More information: Click here.
LOVE VENICE, RESPECT VENICE!
- Don't picnic in Venice. It is not allowed.
- Don't feed the pigeons. (That's illegal, too.)
- Don't be alarmed if you see water oozing out of the drains. (Parts of the Venice often get wet during high tide, usually during winter.)
- Walk on the right side of the streets, always! The locals are not in holidays...
- Don't stop on the bridges, they important part of the circulation and it's illegal. Well, if you see you are not preventing the traffic, stay the time to admire the view and make some photos. Then, leave the bridge free. The locals will thank you!