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Piazza San Marco, Venice

#1 of 187 in Historic Sites in Venice
Must see · Historic Walking Area · Landmark
Venice's principal public space, Piazza San Marco has served as the city's social, religious, and political center for centuries. In fact, Napoleon called the square "the drawing room of Europe." It's the largest square in the city and the only one given the designation of "piazza" (the others are all called "campi"). Originally constructed in the ninth century as a small public space dotted with trees, the square was substantially enlarged in the 12th century and was paved with bricks in the 13th. Several major architectural sites surround the area. The most notable is an imposing church dedicated to St. Mark. Don't feed the pigeons--city law forbids feeding the birds in the square. To visit Piazza San Marco on your trip to Venice, use our Venice trip planner.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
37,078 reviews
  • A great place to wander, people watch, and stare at the basilica. It can get crowded, but you can always grab a seat at the timeless Caffe Florian to listen to music and enjoy a cocktail.  more »
  • Gold medal of people watching spots. The background, pigeons and people. Treat yourself to a ridiculously overpriced coffee or wine and enjoy every second of pure eye candy pleasure.  more »
  • Venice is an incredible city to explore. As a wedding photographer I found it intriguing. The presence of large crowds in most areas required patience and seizing opportunity from moment to moment to get clear backgrounds. Give yourself plenty of time to see the place properly and to get into the quieter areas away from the usual tourist path.
  • You say Venice and the fist thing that comes to the mind is this square. Amazing, elegant, sober. It is incredible how the whole square has a coherent architectural style despite the fact that the building that surround it have been built in very different ages. You can't miss it.

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