Piazza San Marco Walking Tour, Venice (Self Guided)

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.
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.
Titian's Tour

Titian's Tour

Tiziano Vecelli, also known as Titian, was one of the greatest painters of all time. He represents the Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance. His works are well-known for their realistic interpretation of biblical episodes. Titian had a style of his own that cannot be compared with that of the other artists of his period. This tour will guide you through the most important places in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 km
Wine Tour

Wine Tour

Italy - the land of the three seas, the land of mountains, of Casanova and cheese, the land of pizza and lasagna. And one of the most famous products - Italian wine. This guide lays down an itinerary that would lead you to the best wine shops in Venice. Take the tour in order to discover quality Italian wine.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
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
Dorsoduro Walking Tour

Dorsoduro Walking Tour

Dorsoduro is one of the six districts of Venice, whose name translates as “hard bridge” from Italian, due to the area's relatively high terrain. The city's highest spots, along with Giudecca Island and Isola Sacca Fisola, are found here. Dorsoduro is home to some of Venice's most picturesque canals, historic locations and cultural venues, including Basilica di Santa Maria della...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Museums & Galleries Tour

Museums & Galleries Tour

The whole of Venice is a museum of art, of beauty, of architecture, of great food and laces, of life and history. Such a wonderful, extraordinary and unique city deserves a deeper breathing of its air. We offer you a little tour to explore by foot the beauty called Venice - the city of the arts and love.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Religious Edifices Walking Tour

Religious Edifices Walking Tour

As a tourist, you definitely are aware that a country like Italy, especially a city like Venice, has a lot of sacred sites. It would be a pity not to take a look at some of the wonderful buildings built by humans in the name of the Lord. Glorious artists, architects and their disciples have given their lives and talent for our pleasure for centuries.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 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...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Venice for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Venice has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Venice's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Official All Venice City Pass, Venezia Unica Tourist City Pass, 72-Hour Venice Transportation Pass, or Venice Museum Pass.

A city pass combines all of or multiple Venice's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Venice hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Hotel Concordia, Hotel Al Ponte Dei Sospiri, Baglioni Hotel Luna.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Venice, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Venice typically costs from around US$20 up to more than US$200 per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat to view all of Venice's top attractions while listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the route as often as you like.

- Experience Venice from dry land and water on the combo of 2-hour walk and half-hour gondola ride around the historic center, marveling at the Byzantine monuments and gliding down the canals of this marvelous city.

- Have a double pleasure for your eyes and ears combining a 30-minute gondola ride with a serenade, wafting by the fascinating sights of Venice in the company of a traditionally-dressed gondolier and a singer aboard.

- Having quenched your appetite for sightseeing, don't forget to treat yourself to some delicious specialties of Venice as well. Take a 2.5-hour tour led by a local guide to see the city's highlights on waters, plus check out several notable eateries to savor authentic Venetian delights.

- Discover the Jewish side of Venice from a culinary standpoint on a food tour of the historic Jewish ghetto. Guided by a food-connoisseur, you will visit a number of joints offering authentic local dishes thus acquainting yourself with the rich culture and food traditions of the Venetian Jews.

- Architecture-wise there's so much more to Venice than just St. Mark's Square. Be welcome to prove it to yourself on the guided walk exploring the artistic richness of Venice away from the trodden tourist paths.

Day Trips


If you have a day to spare whilst in Venice, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Verona, Valpolicella, Florence, or the Dolomite Mountains. For as little as US$140+ to US$180+ per person you will get a chance to visit one of the most romantic cities in Italy (hometown of Romeo and Juliet), learn about Veneto’s winemaking heritage and sample the local wines, visit the Tuscan capital of Florence, soak up the bracing mountain scenery, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight at your hotel or a designated place in Venice, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minibus or train to the destination of your choice and back again.