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.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Venice, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. 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
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 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, comprising several synagogues (divided by ethnicity) and homes...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 Km or 0.2 Miles
San Marco District Walking Tour

San Marco District Walking Tour

San Marco is one of the six districts of Venice, set in the very heart of the city. It is known primarily as the home of the eponymous Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) and other notable locations, such as Saint Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, Harry's Bar, the Palazzo Dandolo, San Moisè, the La Fenice Theatre, the Palazzo Grassi and several churches. Once the seat of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 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 have special showrooms where you can see the full process of glass-making firsthand. Follow this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Around Rialto Bridge 1

Around Rialto Bridge 1

The Rialto area first appeared in documents dating back to the 9th century. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1514; the only structure left standing was the church of San Giacomo di Rialto. Today Rialto is a busy shopping district with a daily vegetable and fish market, several historic sights, plus a wide variety of shopping and dining options. Part 1 of the Rialto Bridge walk takes...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 Km or 0.4 Miles
San Marco Souvenir Shops

San Marco Souvenir Shops

Venice excels in artisanal shops. Venetian lace, hand-blown glassware, velvety textiles the color of the lagoon, marbled paper, butter-soft leather, and papier-mâché masks – all these items have a long history in the city, and discerning visitors travel to Venice yearly to invest in these and other items from the impressive range of unique local boutiques. Many of them are found in the San...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Piazza San Marco Walking Tour

Piazza San Marco Walking Tour

Piazza San Marco is the main square in Venice. This is a place that enriched the cultural, social and economic life of Venice in the course of its history. The square is the host of the famous Venice landmarks such as the Doge's Palace, Basilica San Marco and the Procuratie. This self guided walk shows you the best known places around this historic square.

Getting to Sight #1. The first...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 Km or 0.3 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy in Venice

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Venice has been a tourist mecca for over a century now, with millions of visitors flocking in every year to see this unique place on the face of the Earth. Many, if not all, of these people seek to obtain something memorable as a token of their stay in this city. By far, not all of them know which...