Piazza San Marco Walking Tour, Venice

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 as the Doge's Palace, Basilica San Marco and the Procuratie. Piazza San Marco is always full of people and pigeons.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Piazza San Marco Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Piazza San Marco Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Venice (See other walking tours in Venice)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 km
Author: naomi
1
Piazza San Marco

1) Piazza San Marco (must see)

The principal square of Venice, Piazza San Marco is one of the few great urban spaces in Europe where human voices prevail over the sounds of motorized traffic, which is confined to Venice's waterways. It is the only urban space called a "piazza" in Venice. As the central landmark and gathering place, Piazza San Marco is extremely popular with tourists, photographers, and pigeons. The Piazza originated in the 9th century as a small area in front of the original St Mark's Basilica. It was enlarged to its present size and shape in 1177, when the Rio Batario, which had bounded it to the west, and a dock, which had isolated the Doge's Palace from the square, were filled in. The rearrangement was for the meeting of Pope Alexander III and the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.

Why You Should Visit:
A visit to Venice – even not your first – is just not complete without this Piazza, and it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the sense of history & art here.

Tip:
If your time permits arrive later on the afternoon before or while it gets darker. Charming, romantic... and pretty empty.
During the day, some stalls are selling souvenirs, bags (and knock-offs) and other things at surprisingly fair prices.
The prices at the restaurants around the Piazza are not so fair, on the other hand. But that's common knowledge.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Torre dell'orologio

2) Torre dell'orologio (must see)

San Marco's Clock Tower is a remarkably elaborate timepiece, showing the time of day, the phase of the moon, and the current Zodiac sign. Above the clock face one can see the winged lion of Saint Mark against a backdrop of blue with gold stars. In 1858 it was made the official timekeeper of Venice. At the very top of the tower, there are two bronze figures of Moors holding a club preparing to strike the bell indicating the time of the day.

Why You Should Visit:
In a Piazza filled with iconic Venetian buildings, this tower holds its own.

Tip:
If you're at the square, catch it on the hour, when the clock is struck by two hammer-wielding men.
Better yet, book one of the two English-language tours/day, each limited to 12 people, to climb to the top.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Cafe Lavena

3) Cafe Lavena

Established in 1750 café lLavena has its origins in the popular Venice of the 17th century. As the other cafés of St Mark's Square, Lavena equally had its part in intellectual life in the city. The person who gave lustre to Caffé Lavena, patronizing it from his first coming to Venice and becoming an habitual customer, was the composer Richard Wagner. Almost every day from five to six in the afternoon, Wagner used to visit Caffé Lavena and stay for half an hour, conversing very often with the owner Carlo Lavena.

Other famous persons that has frequented Caffé Lavena include the Venetian violinist Raphael Frontalli, famous composers and writers along with the current plethora of famous and not so famous movie stars that visits during the annual Venice Film Festival. Today the café is frequented by gondoliers, Venetians and tourists alike.
4
Procuratie Vecchie

4) Procuratie Vecchie

The Procuratie (literally, "procuracies") are three connected buildings on St Mark's Square in Venice. They are also connected to St Mark's Clocktower. They are historic buildings over arcades, the last of them completed, to finish off the square, under Napoleon's occupation. The oldest of the buildings is the Procuratie Vecchie on the north side of the Square, built as a two-storey structure in the twelfth century, to house the offices and apartments of the procurators of San Marco. The two levels have 100 small round arches resting on the porch, nowadays used mainly for shops. The original design was made by Mauro Codussi, which still betrays something of its Gothic roots, then reconstructed by Jacopo Sansovino and other designers in the 16th century.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Museo Archeologico

5) Museo Archeologico

In 1523 Cardinal Domenico Grimani offered the City of Venice a very important collection of sculptures and antique art pieces, some of which came from ancient Greece, Egypt and Assyria-Babylon. Nowadays, the museum contains bronze sculptures, potteries, jewels and coins. A wonderful lesson in art and history for all - children, students, elders.

The Archaeological Museum is part of the museum complex in Piazza San Marco, thus it has same location and can be visited with single ticket, which includes a visit to the Doge's Palace, Correr Museum, the Archaeological Museum and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Marciana.

Operation Hours: Daily: November - March 10 am - 5 pm; April - October 10 am - 7 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Procuratie Nuove

6) Procuratie Nuove

The Procuratie (literally, "procuracies") are three connected buildings on St Mark's Square in Venice. They are also connected to St Mark's Clocktower. They are historic buildings over arcades, the last of them completed, to finish off the square, under Napoleon's occupation. Procuratie Nuove are the continuation of the compositional scheme of the Sansovino Library, and define the south side of the Piazza San Marco. The Procuratie Nuove, on the south side of the Square was begun in 1586 by Vincenzo Scamozzi in a more strictly Classical style and completed by Longhena in 1640, designed to afford more space to offices connected with the procurators. The inside rooms house the Archaeological Museum and the Museum Correr and the Museo del Risorgimento.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Cafe Florian

7) Cafe Florian

Cafe Florian is the oldest cafe in Italy, providing its services from 1720. Due to its prestigious position it is almost a symbol of Venice. It was the meeting place of artists and poets, writers and politicians. Marble tables and cushion chairs get along also under the arcades and on the piazza where an orchestra plays from the late afternoon. The cafe offers a wide range of unique products, such as different kinds of coffees and teas, room fragrances, accessories.
8
Campanile of San Marco

8) Campanile of San Marco

St Mark's Campanile (Campanile di San Marco in Italian) is the bell tower of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy, located in the Piazza San Marco. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city. The tower is 98.6 meters (323 ft) tall, and stands alone in a corner of St Mark's Square, near the front of the basilica. It has a simple form, the bulk of which is a fluted brick square shaft, 12 meters (39 ft) wide on each side and 50 meters (160 ft) tall, above which is a loggia surrounding the belfry, housing five bells. This place is also famous for its five bells that conducted the daily life of the citizens and announced different important events. The belfry is topped by a cube, alternate faces of which show the Lion of St. Mark and the female representation of Venice (la Giustizia: Justice). The tower is capped by a pyramidal spire, at the top of which sits a golden weathervane in the form of the archangel Gabriel. The campanile reached its present form in 1514. The current tower was reconstructed in its present form in 1912 after the collapse of 1902.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
San Marco and San Todaro Columns

9) San Marco and San Todaro Columns

San Marco and San Todaro Columns were raised up in 1180 at the entrance of the Piazzetta San Marco. On top of one there is the figure of Saint Theodore, the first patron of Venice, on top of the other column there is the lion of Saint Mark, the second and present patron of Venice. It was also the site of executions in the city.
10
Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace)

10) Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) (must see)

The Doge's Palace was the symbol and the heart of political life and administration throughout the history of the Republic of Venice. Since 1923 the Palace has been open as a museum to the public. After receiving the patent, Titian became an overseer of official work and was engaged to finish the work of Giovanni Bellini, in the Doge's Palace. Also, he was hired by the dukes to paint their portraits and he finished 20 of them. You can admire the amazing work done by Titian throughout the Palace.

Why You Should Visit:
The artwork is amazing, but more the architecture and how the rooms and ceilings were built to support the artwork.
You also get to walk through the Bridge of Sighs, which is where the prisoners were transported from the courthouse to the jail.

Tip:
Book in advance for the guided "secret itinerary" tour that takes you into the old offices, meeting rooms and even torture chambers where the real business was conducted.
This "secret" tour fills up a few weeks in advance depending on the time of year, so book online early – it's well worth it.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8:30am–7pm, last admission 6pm (Apr-Oct); 8:30am–5:30pm, last admission 4:30pm (Nov-Mar)
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Bridge of Sighs

11) Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs was the bridge that connected the rooms of the Palazzo Ducale to the courts in the Prigioni Nuove, resulting from an enlargement of the palace and divided from the main body by a small channel. What today seems like a sentimental name, comes from the romantic literature which described the transition of prisoners taken by nostalgia at the sight of the Venetian countryside. It was built in the years between the 16th and 17th century, in white Istrian stone.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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.
San Marco Souvenir Shops

San Marco Souvenir Shops

It would be a pity to leave Venice without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs that are unique to Venice. Pop into the specialty shops of San Marco suggested in this tour to find the most beautiful and original items.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 km
Lido Island Walking Tour

Lido Island Walking Tour

Lido is the largest island of Venice city. It is long, but not wide at all, very different from the circular form of the main city. Lido is known for its very popular places, a movie was made here and there are some other secrets that this particular guide offers you. Ready for adventure? Ride on!

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 km
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 glass makers here have preserved their centuries-old techniques. The island is full of shops were you can admire and purchase these adorable glass items. Some factories have special showrooms where you can see the full process of glass making.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km
Northern Venice Attractions Walking Tour

Northern Venice Attractions Walking Tour

The Northern Area of Venice is full of places of great historical and cultural importance. This tour offers you a view of some of the loveliest churches of Venice such as the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo and Chiesa dei Santissimi Apostoli.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 km
Rialto Brige Area Walking Tour

Rialto Brige Area Walking Tour

The area is first mentioned in sources dating back to the 9th century. The Rialto was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1514. The only structure left standing was the church of San Giacomo di Rialto. The Rialto continues to be a busy shopping area with a daily vegetable market, Erberia, and a fish market in the Fish Camp.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 km
Casanova's Tour

Casanova's Tour

Giacomo Casanova is one of the most famous personalities of Venice. He was a man of great culture. His interests ranged from love affairs and gambling to writing and alchemy. Born in a family of theater actors in 1725, he grew up surrounded by high society. He became an important personality in his own right, starting with his adolescence. This tour will show you places of great significance in the life of Casanova.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy in Venice

15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy in Venice

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...