Piazza San Marco, Venice

Piazza San Marco, Venice (must see)

No visit to Venice – not even the recurring one – is complete without setting one's foot on Piazza San Marco, replete with the sense of history and art. Long before the tourists arrived, this was the city’s religious, commercial and political nucleus from where the Venetian Republic reigned for centuries. When the future founders of the city settled on the lagoon islands, this area was used to build a citadel – Palazzo Ducale – complete with the city's most precious place of worship, the San Marco Basilica. In the course of centuries, these two magnificent edifices have formed a public space so noble and majestic that no other square in Venice was seen worthy enough to bear the name “piazza” – hence, all the other Venetian squares are called either “campi” or “campielli”.

Today, Piazza San Marco remains the core of the city with the highest concentration of plush hotels, elegant and exorbitant cafes, most extravagantly-priced seafood, and luxurious shops. Evenings with mood lighting and live music here are especially romantic, so if you're happy to pay €15 for coffee or €25 for a cocktail, then take your time sipping it whilst enjoying the ambiance. However, if this is outside your budget, then head to the side streets of the San Marco quarter where there's just as plenty of action going on, and the colorful boutiques, bars and food outlets are more affordable.

Otherwise, enjoy this famous square for what it is and keep breathing its air... in and out. For you're in Venice!!!

Tip:
If your time permits arrive later on the afternoon before or while it gets darker. Charming, romantic... and pretty empty. During the day, however, some stalls are selling souvenirs, bags (and knock-offs) and other things at surprisingly fair prices.
Another word of advice: if you go for a gondola ride, avoid gondolas moored by the square. Look for those outside the main touristy areas as you will get much more of the side-canal views that look much better in the pictures – plus the whole experience will be much more romantic.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Venice. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Piazza San Marco on Map

Sight Name: Piazza San Marco
Sight Location: Venice, Italy (See walking tours in Venice)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Venice, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Creating your own self-guided walk in Venice is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Jewish Ghetto Tour

Jewish Ghetto Tour

Founded in 1516, the Jewish Ghetto in Venice was the oldest of its kind in all Europe. At the time, Venice received order from the Pope to expel all Jews from the city, but the Venetian government opted to lock them onto a small island in the district of Cannaregio. Since then this small area has been the center of Jewish life in Venice, with buildings rising vertically to accommodate the rising...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 Km or 0.2 Miles
Venice's Hidden Art Treasures

Venice's Hidden Art Treasures

Among the first things springing to mind when talking about Venice, apart from the canals and gondolas, of course, is Art and Architecture. Indeed, Venice is one of the few cities in the world where Art and Architecture have merged in a stunning multiplicity of forms. The city is even renowned for its unique (Venetian) pictorial school famed by the likes of Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese, Castagno...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Titian's Paintings Walk

Titian's Paintings Walk

One of the greatest painters of all time, Tiziano Vecelli – better known as Titian – was a pioneering figure of the Venetian school of Italian Renaissance painting. His career was successful from the start, and he became sought after by patrons, initially from Venice and its possessions, then joined by the north Italian princes, and finally the Habsburgs and papacy.

Equally adept with...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Murano Island Walking Tour

Murano Island Walking Tour

Murano is often called the Glass Island, since it is home to the most impressive and renowned Venetian glass factories. The master craftsmen here have preserved their centuries-old techniques, and the island is full of shops where you can admire and purchase their adorable glass items. Some factories, such as Gino Mazzuccato’s, at the start of this self-guided walk, even have special showrooms...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Casanova's Venice

Casanova's Venice

One of Venice's most famous personalities, Giacomo Casanova is remembered today as a womanizer, but was much more than that. Born in a family of theater actors in 1725, he came through as highly intellectual and very sharp from his very childhood, having become in his time an erudite scholar, a diplomat and spy, and a metropolitan ‘avant la lettre’, who frequented the high society and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 Km or 2.8 Miles
Venice Introduction Walking Tour

Venice Introduction Walking Tour

Although most experts agree that the Venetian lagoon emerged nearly 6,000 years ago, the area of today's Venice remained mostly uninhabited, except for a small population of fishermen, up until the 5th century AD when the hordes of Gothic barbarians, looting their way into Rome, drove many a people away from their homes on the mainland to take refuge on the coastal Venetian islands.

Those...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy in Venice

15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy in Venice

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