St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco)

#6 in Best Things To Do in Venice
St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) picture1 of 3
St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco)2 of 3
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Key Info

Piazza San Marco

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, is considered by many to be the heart of Venice. As the largest square in Venice, St. Mark's Square is the only "piazza" in the city. All other squares are campo. Lining the square are multiple historical sites including St. Mark's BasilicaSt. Mark's Campanile and Doge's Palace, as well as a number of restaurants, making it the perfect spot for leisurely people-watching and wine sipping. Along with intricate architecture and hearty plates of spaghetti carbonara, visitors will also be met with throngs of tourists, pigeons and vendors selling souvenirs. If you hoped to pick up a gondola hat or a carnival mask during your trip, this is the place you will find them. 

Recent visitors stress to visit St. Mark's Square either early in the morning or late in the evening simply because of the crowds. With many tours of the city starting at the piazza, it is always busy during the day. Being a constant hub of activity, the restaurants and shops in the square are very expensive. Visitors suggest walking a few streets away from the square to find more reasonably priced meals and souvenirs. Despite the prices, some visitors said grabbing a coffee was worth being able to sit comfortably in the action and take in the surrounding architecture. You'll find St. Mark's Square in San Marco; it free to access 24/7.

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St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)1 of 15
Grand Canal2 of 15
Type
Time to Spend
#1 St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)

This elaborate church sits on the popular piazza by the same name. The church was built in honor of St. Mark the evangelist, whose remains were stolen from their home in Alexandria, Egypt, and hidden in barrels of pork and cabbage leaves by a couple crafty Venetians, intent on bringing him to rest in Venice.  

Crafted from many different styles of architecture, today its opulence shines from nearly every corner – from the four bronze horses that guard the entrance to thousands of square feet of mosaics to the Pala d'Oro. If you look closely at the church's center gable, you can see a statue of St. Mark along with Venice's emblem: a lion with wings.  

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